Marital Counseling

YOUR COUCH NOT MINE SM

Reserved Seating

There is a place reserved for the people of God. It is absolutely true that children of God have access to a level of marital intimacy not available to the world. Since too few of God’s people know this, it is not readily on display. Christ-centered therapy harnesses the power of this distinction.

Two separate programs of marital therapy are outlined below:

PROGRAM OPTION #1 : The Next Level Marriage

This program is designed to empower marriages that are already good to progress to the NEXT LEVEL and become great! Marriages that are in crisis need to come through the crisis before transitioning to growth. But marriages that are already good do not need to go through the same process, but can instead, begin with Growth and Thriving as their objective. If your marriage is already strong and together you just want to advance to the Next Level, this program is for you!

PROGRAM OPTION #2: Marriage in Distress

Stage 1 is often (though not always) Crisis.

Many couples engage therapy only after the problem has become highly destructive. In many instances, they are making one last effort to save the relationship, and may hold little hope for success. Consequently, one of the initial objectives for the first session is to instill a vision for what can be, and hope to accompany that vision.

Stage 2, stability is the target.

The triage model well explains this step. If a patient comes into the ER with broken bones and no respiration, no attention is given to the broken bones. Until the life-threatening issues are addressed, injuries posing a lesser threat serve only to distract.

So also in therapy, until the marriage is stabilized, it can be relationally deadly to address lesser disorder. In certain high-risk instances, a biblically-based separation can be a useful stabilizer. (For further information on this process see, “Separating For Success”)

Stage 3, Rest, is described beautifully by Jesus.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. (Matthew 11:28-30 AMP)

A call to rest is a call to a deeper relationship with Jesus. The emotional and physical exhaustion that are often characteristic of crisis can drain each individual, depriving them of the energy needed to navigate the recovery process. Here again, a distinction between the people of God and the people of the world is made. While the world may use naps, entertainment, or vacations in an effort to refresh, time spent with Jesus achieves a supernatural relief and refreshment. There is no natural source that provides supernatural rest.

Stage 4: once hope, stability, and rest are achieved, the work of growth can safely begin.

The Growth stage is the stage in which the problems that created the crisis are addressed. Deception (lies that are believed), and the heart-issues that have thwarted intimacy are exposed and destroyed. Divorce occurs in the heart before it occurs in the court. In some cases, it occurs in the heart and never occurs in the court. In either case, without heart-change, growth becomes elusive, even if behavioral change is temporarily accomplished.

Stage 5 is the thriving phase and is unattainable to the world.

This level is reserved for the people of God. That is not to say that the world cannot achieve a level of goodness in marriage by adhering to the practices of love. Many do, and more successfully than some of the people of God. It is rather to say that the “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3), is not available to those without the Spirit.

Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. (Ephesians 4:3 AMP)

There is a level of oneness that only God can produce. When His Spirit is in residence and in control, the prayer Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6: 9-13) comes to life, and God’s will is “done on earth” (in our homes) just as it is in Heaven. Heaven on earth is, in essence, a return to Eden. Such a divine state is not the result of two people simply doing the best they can. Mortal effort has its limits. Such a divine state is produced by the Spirit when both husband and wife are yielded to the Holy Spirit.