Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dangers of Counseling

It's Healthy...Right?

That seems to be the popular consensus - counseling is "healthy." Who determines what is healthy and what is not? Oprah? Dr. Phil? Our culture? Maybe your best friend told you that counseling is healthy. Maybe your mom told you, so it must be true...and even if it's not, you can't argue with mom.

What does the Bible say about marriage counseling? Nothing specifically. 

There are several verses regarding wisdom, and Godly counsel. Here is a link to a good list at Although, in that list, Godly counsel and wisdom would be properly executed by referring someone to passages of Scripture that define the roles in marriage the way God designed them, as well as God's prescription for living life in a Christlike manner. 

For example, a wife is to "submit [herself] to [her] husband[], as is fitting in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18).  Also, a husband is to love his wife, "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). In general, we are to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves" (Philippians 2:3). DO YOU HEAR WHAT'S BEING SAID IN THOSE VERSES ALONE??!!??




If those three verses were fully lived out by every married couple, there would be no divorce. There would be no infidelity. THAT would be an example of something truly healthy.

It's basic Christianity 101. Let's not forget the two most important commands that Jesus underlined in His teaching: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself..." (Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus called those the two greatest commandments, and said that the ENTIRE law hangs on both of them. 

We'll Learn to Communicate

How did you get her number in the first place? You asked for it? Oh, so you already knew how to communicate. What's his favorite pastime? What's her favorite flower? What's his favorite team? Where is her favorite romantic getaway? Where can you take him for his favorite burger? How did you come to know so much about your spouse? Did the information float into your head as you were sleeping one night? Of course not. You communicated. You already know how to communicate with each other. 

Right now, it just feels like there is some kind of blockage getting in the way. She shuts down. He won't listen. He never opens up. She nags. It's all locked in a negative stalemate. Now is the time to pray for selflessness, and humility. Get over yourself. Block out a couple of hours. Sit down together WITHOUT distractions like cellphones. Listen. Talk. Listen some more. Repent. Apologize. Forgive.

Let me tell you what I learned from counseling. The only thing I actually learned from counseling was that P + P = C. Meaning, Person plus Person equals Conflict. That means that no matter who you marry, you'll be two people headed for conflict. Accept it. Deal with it. Learn to meditate on the Bible verses mentioned above. 

If the two of you put each other first in all things, communication will become much easier. You'll constantly be checking in and reevaluating each other's needs. 

We'll Learn to Use Helpful Tools

There were no tools that I learned to use as we sat in the counselor's office. What I gained in all of our counseling sessions were caches and caches of ammunition for divorce. 

I hung onto every word that seemed to support my twisted stance on our 'broken' relationship. Rather than picking up tools to rebuild, I found weapons to increase the destruction. 

We'll Find a Good Christian Counselor

Whoa, now...easy cheetah.  Let's slow down and ask ourselves what that means first. Are we simply looking for a counselor who happens to be a Christian? That doesn't mean much of anything if they are giving you a watered down version of the truth, while placating a spouse who has situational anger issues.

Are we looking for a counselor who actively integrates Godly wisdom into every session? If so, that would be a rare find in any traditional, "professional" counseling office.

When my wife was first searching for a Christian counselor, she literally called over thirty different offices and asked one question: Do you believe in divorce as a viable option. She heard all kinds of answers, ranging from indignation to backpedaling and hesitation, but always cloaked with awkward discomfort. She couldn't find but one who actually said that they didn't support divorce, but realized it was unavoidable in some situations. 

Where has courage gone? Why is everyone so hesitant to stand for marriage restoration?

So, What Should We Do?

I believe you can get more counseling done in the car on the way to and from a counseling session. I believe with an earnest desire to change, you can sit down together as a couple, study God's Word (the Bible) and learn more about the right way to live and communicate than in a "professional counselor's" office. 

Find a good Bible-based Christian church in your area. Schedule an appointment to speak with one of the pastors. They will probably do more for your marriage in terms of Godly wisdom, than any so-called Christian marriage counselor. 

I'm not saying that all counselors have ill intentions, or are innately bad per-se, but I am saying that you absolutely need to proceed with caution.