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7 Reasons Why Pre Marriage Counseling Should Be Required

The Bliss of Being in Love

I remember the feeling of “being in love” when I first started dating my wife. What a thrilling experience! As I floated through each day, the world seemed like such a marvelous place. Everything beautiful reminded me of her. I would fall asleep grinning and wake up to the joyful anticipation of getting to see her or talk to her.

My heart would melt when our eyes met and she smiled. Her laughter was music. Her words were poetry. I would get flustered just talking about her. I believed all the best things about my beloved, and wanted to show her only the best parts of myself.

We would stay up all hours of the night (even if we had to work the next morning) just to spend more time together, and being together was all we needed. I had found the woman my heart longed for all my life, and I felt an exhilarating sense of fulfillment.

I could relate to the words of Dr. Seuss when he wrote: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Flash forward five years to the present, and I have learned that marriage in all its fullness and beauty is more demanding that the simple experience of “being in love.” As it turns out, my wife and I have countless differences that s...

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4 Ways Counseling for Teens Improves Life for the Whole Family

I love working with teenagers. Those years are some of the most fertile for personal growth and development that we experience in our lifetimes. From the age of 13 to 19 we are constantly learning – learning facts/numbers/words, learning about the world, and learning about ourselves. While we never stop learning through life, our job for this period of time is literally to learn!

When I get to work with teenagers, it reminds me of when I was going through that time. It felt kind of like seeing the sunrise. As its rays shone down on the world around me, I could see it there and think and plan about where I might go next.

Along with the joys of newness and knowledge, adolescence carries a burden as well. Adolescence is a time of change. This is a time of looking around and seeing these changes happening in yourself and in your friends as well. For many, the rate of these changes can cause stress and internal self-doubt if a person feels changes coming on too slow/too fast, not enough/too much.

While we learn facts in adolescence, we also learn about the processes going on around us. How one feels about these processes can cause teenagers to live with more anxiety or even depression. Seeing that your family isn’t perfect, or maybe comparing to your best friend...

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Getting Help for Depression: You Don’t Have to Struggle Alone

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

Depression is one of the more common psychological struggles a person can experience in a lifetime. According to ADAA.org, “MDD [Major Depressive Disorder] affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.”

“In 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents age 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.”

While depression can feel like a very isolating, lonely experience, the fact is, many people have or will experience some form of depression in their lifetime. Anything from a divorce, the loss of a loved one, exposure to traumatic events, or other kinds of emotional or physical harm can lead to feelings of hopelessness.

The good news is that you’re not alone, and because this type of feeling can be so common, there is a lot of research dedicated to providing you with support.

“The smartest thing I’ve ever learned is I don’t have all the answers, just a little ligh...

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Sex Addiction Counseling: The Answer To Your Private Prayers

More than any other addiction, sex addiction has the most potential to dial up shame. This is what can make it so hard to talk about, and therefore too often it stays hidden.

Unfortunately, as they say in 12-step programs, we are only as sick as our secrets. What this means is when we do things we know are wrong and then hide those behaviors from our loved ones, we gradually poison our soul, and the longer we wait, the worse it is when our behavior comes to light. The good news is that God does not think we are disgusting or hopeless. We are loved and worthy of redemption, no matter what.

Understanding Sexual Response

Our bodies are created with the capacity for sexual response, and at the physical level that response is involuntary. People in scientific studies who are shown photos of animals mating often respond with disgust, but almost without exception their bodies display the physical attributes of arousal. This is important to understand when beginning to think about addiction.

We are created to be in relationship, to bond, to join, to procreate, and these needs are interwoven with our deepest emotions of hope (to be seen, known, and loved as we are) and fear (that we will be judged, found inadequate, and be rejected). Addictive behaviors are activated by t...

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How is Depression in Teenagers Different Than in Adults?

Imagine this: you’re feeling lonely. You have connection to a lot of potential friends but you’re not sure if they are ones you can count on or not. You’re constantly second guessing yourself, unsure of who you really are anymore. It’s difficult to get up in the morning, but most nights you can’t fall asleep easily either.

Your body is seemingly rejecting the normal routines you once had with a newfound increased appetite and lack of desire to move. In general, your mood has been low and at points much more unstable. What am I describing here?

Depending where you’re coming from, I might be describing your teenage years, or I might be describing depression. For many adolescents, teenage years present a major challenge and a lot of it can look like depression. Even more so, then, when a teenager does struggle with Depression, it can be an incredibly challenging exacerbator to an already difficult life stage!

Depression in Teenagers

Here are some ways that depression in teenagers is different from depression in adults.

The Social World

One of the hallmarks of depression is a cycle of negative self talk. People struggling with clinical depression often feel like they aren’t good enough, or they struggle with anxiety made worse by ...

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What is Forgiveness, Really?

What does it mean to actually forgive someone who has wronged us in some way? It seems like such a simple concept that we are taught even at a young age. When someone says ‘I’m sorry,’ we say ‘I forgive you.’ And as Christians we are often taught to grant forgiveness even if that ‘I’m sorry’ never comes. But what is forgiveness beyond the spoken words?

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is releasing the ‘right’ you may feel to be angry and resentful, laying down all claims to retribution. It is relinquishing any guilt, punishment, or debt that someone may owe you.

Forgiveness seeks pardon, not punishment of the other person. Forgiveness carries the price of surrendering revenge, but the reward is worth it. God began by forgiving us, and He invites us to forgive others.

There are many misconceptions about what it means to forgive, as well as what it means about ourselves as the forgiver. These messages can come from social media, Hollywood, or even our own friends and family.

Ultimately as Christians, we can find clarity in the Scriptures to sort out “What is forgiveness, really?”

Common Myths About Forgiveness

The following are a few myths that the world tends to portray about forgiving.

Myth: Forgiveness is letting ...

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Anxiety Disorder: How Christian Counseling Can Help

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

These words of Christ reach out and beckon our anxious souls toward a mysterious and perfect peace. And yet, for many people suffering from crippling anxiety, the “rest” promised in this passage feels just out of reach.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in America today. Multiple studies have shown that ever since the 1930s (the era known as the Great Depression), people in America have reported feeling increasingly anxious. Levels of anxiety today are higher than they have ever been in our nation. Perhaps you are currently experiencing the devastating effects of anxiety in your own life or in the life of a loved one. If so, read on.

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder

Counselors look for several symptoms in order to identify an anxiety disorder.

Ask yourself whether you or someone close to you is experiencing the following:

  • Excessive worry almost every day
  • Difficulty controlling worries or fears
  • Restlessness or feeling on-edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mind going blank
  • Excessive irritability
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