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Christian Counseling for 3 Myths About Marriage Fights

By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling

Trying to “fight fair” and “be reasonable” when you’re arguing with your partner is kind of like trying to recite the alphabet backwards after you’ve fallen out of an airplane. All that adrenaline, fear, and inertia makes it impossible to keep your mind on anything other than the danger you feel. Marriage counselor Dr. Susan Johnson says trying to teach couples a list of rules to follow during conflict sets them up for failure. Instead, she counsels couples to limit the damage they do during an argument, and to lovingly patch it up afterward. Below you will find three popular myths about how to handle marriage fights accompanied by more realistic approaches.

1. “Stay Calm”

What makes it a fight is that you are not calm. And there is no reason you should be. Marital conflict takes place on two planes. On one level you are fighting about the source of the argument (undone dishes, broken agreement). On another level you are fighting about what this disappointment means for your relationship. Something as minor as your spouse not cleaning the garage, like they said they would, can open a fissure for inse...

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Rebuilding Romance in Your Marriage: Advice from a Christian Counselor

By Erik Mildes, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

I realize that romance goes both ways. It’s not just about the man needing to provide an adequate level of romance to satisfy the woman. But for the purposes of this article, I am writing from the perspective of the woman who is looking for more romance than her husband is giving her. Please, women, don’t assume that romance is only the responsibility of the man, because it is not. Romance is a two-way street.  Does your husband define romance as a hug before sex? Or maybe he buys you flowers on Valentine’s Day and expects that to suffice as his romance quota for the year? Many men seem to have abbreviated ideas of what constitutes romance.  Abbreviated, that is, when compared to most women, who often find the intellectual and emotional aspects of romance more satisfying than sex itself. So, if you’ve never really enjoyed a romantically rich relationship with your husband, but wish you did, or you’ve lost the romance as the years and distractions have piled up, here are a few steps you can take to begin rebuilding the romance.

Educate Your Husband

Have you ever actually told your husband what romance means to you? Have you taught...

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Love Story or a Porn Film? A Christian Counselor’s Thoughts on Relationships

By Erik Mildes, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

Sex is everywhere: The magazine rack at the grocery store; clothing catalogs; billboards; television and of course, the Internet, to name just a few. It’s nearly impossible to go through one’s day in the United States without seeing a sexually charged image. Our culture is awash with sex. Sex sells. And whether we claim to like it or not, we seem to buy a lot of it, because it keeps selling.

But what about love? Does love sell? Not really. Many of us enjoy a good love story, but it is really sex that sells, rather than the emotion, wonder and incredibly satisfying joy of love. And in this we can see an important point about the difference between sex and love.

Sex is the Scene, Love is the Movie

What do I mean by this? If someone were to make a movie about two people in love, the movie would include many hundreds of other scenes that weren’t about sex, irrespective of how much sex they had. The scenes might include one partner helping the other with a task, telling a joke, tending to the other’s sickness, making dinner, arguing, apologizing, and so on. In other words, as powerful and engaging as sex can be, it is never more than an ex...

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Should Christians Forgive Adultery?

By Erik Mildes, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

How do I forgive my husband for having an affair?

This article is written from the perspective of a woman whose husband has cheated on her. It is certainly not the case that only husbands cheat on their wives. Wives cheat too. Perhaps a second article will be written from the perspective of the cheated-on man. But for now, we look at the issue from the perspective of the woman, whose husband has broken his vow. I suppose I am writing from this perspective first because, as a man, it seems only fair to endure the scrutiny and need of forgiveness first.

I suppose every married man needs forgiveness. At least, that’s what St. Matthew would say if he were writing this article. He doesn’t mix his words: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

The truth is, there isn’t a married man on the face of this earth who hasn’t had a lustful thought about someone other than his wife. So, according to Matthew, every wife is a victim of adultery.

But that’s not really the kind of adultery you were thinking about when you Googled this topic, is it? You’re talking about an actual affair. You’re talking about finding the strength to offer forgiveness to someo...

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A Christian Counselor on Spiritual Warfare: What is It and How Do I Win?

By Andrew Engstrom, MS, LMFTA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one … and I travel it every day.

In my faith journey, I have endeavored for many years to consistently devote myself to the Lord in the morning, before the rest of the day begins. Going on a walk with the Lord as soon as I get up has proven to be just what I needed to help me finally follow through and abide in the Vine (John 15:4). It’s been quite a battle to get to this point.

But I am not in spiritual boot-camp preparing to defend against a future attack. Rather, this act of spending consistent time with the Lord is a direct act of war in a current, spiritual battle around me. The Word of God is very clear that humanity has an enemy, the devil or the accuser (1 Peter 5:8), that we are fighting for a goal (Philippians 3:14), and that we are to be spiritual warriors who are well equipped with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20 ). We are called to both defend ourselves against the attacks of the enemy and to join Christ in destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

We Are Engaged in a Battle

A lot of people are familiar with the passage in Ephesians about putting on the armor of God....

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Parenting Through Story-Telling: Advice From a Christian Counselor, Part 2

By Andrew Engstrom, MS, LMFTA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

We all know how important communication is in parenting. As a parent, you will have to speak to your child about some tough topics. Parents need to guide their children and adolescents as they find their way in life, but this guidance doesn’t always have to take the form of telling them what to do. An important way in which you can mentor your child is by sharing your own life experiences with them.

In my previous article, I looked at the importance of story-telling in parenting and showed how telling your own stories to your child helps to build your relationship, captivates their attention, prepares your child for stressful situations, and provides a way of transmitting wisdom to them which will help them to build their own worldview. In this article, I continue this discussion by showing how stories enable your child to see you as you truly are, how they build a foundation for a later friendship, and how they can provide your child with a sense of belonging and identity.

Stories Show the Genuine You

By telling yo...

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Parenting Through Story-Telling: Advice From a Christian Counselor, Part 1

By Andrew Engstrom, MS, LMFTA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC

As a parent, you have probably heard that you should talk about drugs and sex with your children. Humans beings need to be mentored and you are the best person to guide to your child and adolescent through these sorts of topics. But the guidance you provide need not be limited to exceptional occasions. A parent can greatly support a young person’s development through many small conversations on important topics throughout the course of their life.

One important tool that parents have, but may not be aware of, is that of story-telling. In this series of two articles I want to emphasize the importance of story-telling and suggest seven ways in which it can help you in parenting your child.

Stories are Personal and Build Relationships

Stories are about your own personal history. They are precious because they reveal who you are as a person. But they also help to build relationships, for through them you share things about yourself that others can relate to. Stories are about life – and everyone lives life! By telling your stories, you can help your children to see you as a human being. They can learn to appreciate you for who you ...

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