Marriage is considered a sacred institution by most of the world’s religions. It is the foundation of the family, which, in turn, is the foundation for society. So, there is a lot of emphasis on saving a marriage.
But that doesn’t mean that marriages today don’t run into trouble. The changing roles of men ad women, financial pressures, and difficulties with children all make it hard to make marriages work.
So who do you turn to?
Perhaps the best place to look is the institution that values marriage more than any other – the church.
While a clinical psychologist or licensed family therapist will take an individualistic approach to marriage counseling, a pastor will focus on making the marriage work in a holistic sense. Over all, this has a better chance of actually saving the marriage.
Why is a pastoral counselor better than a secular therapist?
A secular therapist’s education focuses almost entirely on treating individual psychopathologies. Even “Marriage and Family” designated counselors may have only one class or elective dealing specifically with couple’s therapy. Do you think this approach can save marriage?
A pastoral counselor, on the other hand, will be educated in how to bring couple's closer together. With the exception of abuse in the relationship, they have the fundamental belief that once the vows are taken, the marriage is forever.
Some pastoral counselors have formal education in counseling. More and more seminaries are offering pastoral counseling degrees. But even ministers without a formal degree take classes and seminars in the subject.
If you don’t have a church home, you might have some difficulty finding a pastor to help you. And, you don’t have six months to establish membership in a church before approaching the pastor.
In this case, you can call various churches and ask them if they have any upcoming couples retreats where you can save marriage through these weekend seminars. Once you have established a relationship with a skilled pastor in these settings, you may be able to do follow up counselor with the same person.
A good couple’s retreat will help you deal with many different types of issues. There will be group sessions and couple’s sessions. You will also have time to work on questions individually.
Communication is a big issue at these conferences. If you can work on your communications issues, you will find that the other pieces of the relationship fall into place.
Sex, finances, and child rising are also addressed. The goal is to get you back on track in every aspect of your relationship. You don’t have to be on the same page going in, but the hope is that you will be when you leave.
Marriage is tough. Sometimes it seems like the relationship cannot endure. But, there are so many reasons to see if you can’t make it work. In this case, consider seeing if a pastor can save marriage.