If you've clicked through to this article, my guess is that you're either desperate to save your marriage, or trying to find ways to help another couple save theirs. In either case, I pray that the following tips shared here will be a practical help to you, and that God would use this offering, combined with His grace and power, to make a difference for good.
Before we begin, allow me to lay some groundwork. I have been married for 23 years and have worked as a couple’s therapist for the past 19. While I have gained a lot of insight into the psychological dilemmas that couples face through secular study, my worldview about marriage as an institution is shaped through my faith as a Christian.
This article is intended to share helpful tips based on my personal and professional experience that allow couples to have a growing, nourishing marriage that will last for life. As a Christian Counselor, I pick approaches to couple’s therapy that reflect Biblical principles. The tips below reflect a blending of the two that I have seen make all the difference in a couple staying happy long-term in their marriage versus ending up shipwrecked on the shores of divorce and misery.
Practical Tips to Save Your Marriage
Tip #1: Make sure love is more than a feeling<...
So! You’ve decided to tie the knot, take the plunge, make it official – in short, to get hitched, hopefully permanently. With all the preparations and stress that go along with planning a wedding, Christian premarital counseling might seem like a waste of time or even a nuisance. Many pastors require couples to get premarital counseling before they will marry them. I suppose you could shop around and find one that didn’t care, or go to a Justice of the Peace, but skipping Christian premarital counseling might actually jeopardize the long-term success of your impending marriage.
Why Christian Premarital Counseling?
In the Bible, marriage is referred to as two becoming one flesh. This is an enormous, monumental undertaking, when you consider what this actually means: two very different, autonomous, goal-seeking, uniquely damaged, emotionally complex, individual, sentient beings are going to learn to function as a single organism. Not only are the two going to merge, they are going to do so without losing the exceptional particularity of each individual. This is as close to the unity of the Trinity as we can achieve on this planet, and hence it is not only enormous, it is sacred, and not to be taken lightly.
We get driver’s training before we get a license...
So you have found someone to share your life with, congratulations! You love and complement each other so well, you have so much in common, there is no doubt in your mind this is the one. The big day is set, the invitations are sent, the gown is picked and the cake is taste tested. Multiple times.
But then there’s the added wrinkle that your kids might not quite be on the same level of readiness as you. Whether there is conflict between the two merging sides or within, it is quite common for this transition to hit a few bumps along the way. Entering into a marriage where one or both of you bring in children from a past relationship can provide numerous challenges, but fortunately it is something that you can accomplish together, and accomplish well.
It used to be that when two people brought in children from past relationships, we called these step-families, but that does not quite describe all the possible routes and variations on the family you have now. Many families consist of a combination of step- and half-siblings, children of divorced parents, children who have lost a parent to death, and/or children of adoption. The common thread connecting families here, then, is the merging and growth of an entirely new family unit. We call these families bl...
Amongst the laundry list of pre-wedding “To-Dos” someone, somewhere along the way may have mentioned “premarital counseling.” However, if you are like many couples, premarital counseling may seem to be a rather ambiguous activity. Often couples ask me: “So, what do we do here? How does this work?” These are understandable questions and in this article, I address what this process is and how your relationship can benefit from it.
Education for Marriage
Premarital counseling essentially provides couples with “marriage education.” In the counseling sessions, we will talk about the major phases that you can anticipate throughout your relationship. For example, did you know that the first seven years of marriage are some of the most difficult? In fact, approximately 50% of the marriages that end in divorce do so within the first seven years. (Gottman, 1995) Having a general map of what to expect in the years to come can be reassuring and make you more hopeful. If you are looking for new ideas to add to your relationship toolbox, premarital counseling will help you with that. Additionally, I administer the Prepare/Enrich assessment, which helps us to efficiently hone in on the strengths and challenges in your specific relationship.
A Neutral Space to Pre...
By Rick McGregor, MA, LMHCA, Seattle Christian Counseling, PLLC
No other relationship will play a more important role in shaping your life than your relationship with your spouse. If you are reading this article, you are probably either engaged or seriously considering marriage, and are excited about spending the rest of your life with that special someone. You certainly understand that no other relationship will impact your life more than your relationship with your prospective spouse. Yet many individuals make the crucial decision about marriage when they are caught up in the whirlwind of romance. They are so caught up in the moment that they fail to work out some crucial issues before they commit their lives to each other.
The goal of premarital counseling is to help you make the most thorough, comprehensive, and sound preparations possible. No other relationship can approach the potential for intimacy and oneness that marriage offers. And no other journey can bring with it as many adjustments, difficulties, and hurts. Challenges surface in any relationship, but there is much you can do to prepare for your lives together. This article is designed to help you to evaluate your relationship and to think through the process you are involved in.
Assessing Your Compatibility for Marriage
How do I know if he or she is the one? There...
Spring and something else was in the air. The morning was crisp and beautiful. But it could have been dreary and cloudy for all I cared, as long as I could be with my girlfriend, and dream out loud. Me: “What do you think of that house over there? Do you like it?” She: “Yeah, but I like that style over there better.” What was being communicated in that not-so-veiled exchange? We were both single, liked each other and were thinking of the future … together. Sure enough, a few months later, we were engaged and a year after that, we walked down the aisle together.
Marriage is a Roller Coaster
After almost thirty-three years of the adventure (my wife would say, ‘roller coaster’ and ‘whip lash’) of marriage and raising two kids together, I feel thankful for this journey. But I also ask, ‘How could we have been better prepared?’ Every marriage experiences some struggle, conflict and pain, especially in the early years. After all, marriage is the crazy proposition that two imperfect, broken people can somehow forge a bond that will last a lifetime and enjoy a partnership that brings good...
By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
“Ok here’s a little bedroom tip. Put a bag of popcorn in the microwave before hand. That way, when you’re done you have a treat.” –Liz Lemon “30 Rock”
References “A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds” Dr. Douglas Rosenau
Consider this the biblical alternative to the top left corner of Cosmo. (You know what they print there every month.) Sex is tricky. Both of you have different preferences and desires, and then there’s the insecurity you are not blowing your partner’s mind with your sexual super powers. This list, which references Dr. Douglas Rosenau’s advice in “A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds,” does not suggest any fool-proof positions or bizarre genital exercises. Instead, it helps you lay a foundation for sexual fun and union with your spouse that will only get better until death do you part.
1. Sex is Not the Point of Marriage
You need to treat sex as a means to an end. Sex is a manifestation of your love and union, not the purpose of it. “Sex should never be just a physical rush, but a tender, passionate connection. W...