Is Marriage Counseling Effective?
Fortunately, there is hope. Studies show that family and marriage counseling is an effective
source of help. One study reported that 75% of couples who underwent therapy were better off than similar couples who had
not received therapy. Additionally, 65% of couples reported significant improvement in their marriages
after undergoing therapy. Perhaps most importantly, evidence suggests that marriage counseling rarely leads to negative
There’s an excellent chance that counseling will benefit your marriage. With that in mind,
you have very little to lose and much to gain by seeking out a competent, trained counselor.
How can Christian Marriage Counseling help my Marriage?
A competent, trained Christian Marriage Counselor knows how to determine the root causes
of the problems in your marriage and how to help you and your partner implement effective strategies based on Biblical
principles for coping with and overcoming these problems.
The counselor will speak with the husband and wife to learn about the overall state of the
marriage and the marriage’s history, to identify underlying sources of conflict, to determine destructive patterns that
have grown up over time and to examine the different personalities and communication styles of each partner.
Once the counselor has a clear picture of the different challenges facing the marriage, he
can help both partners devise strategies (often surprisingly simple ones) for breaking destructive patterns and increasing
the effectiveness of both partners’ communications.
When is the right time to seek Christian Marriage Counseling?
Christian marriage counseling can be helpful no matter what stage of a relationship a
couple finds itself in.
Whether you’re engaged, considering engagement, already married, or even if you’re
divorced or separated and looking to reconcile, Christian marriage and premarital counseling can help you and your partner
get on the right path and stay on it.
It’s never too early and never too late to seek the help of a trained marriage counselor.
Why does my Marriage need Help from an Outsider?
There are a variety of reasons that marriages can benefit from the help of a trained
outsider. We can classify those reasons into two main groups.
First, the counselor acts as an impartial, unbiased observer. It can be tough to figure
out how to solve a difficult situation that you’re stuck in the middle of. It’s even tougher when the solution to the
situation requires the work of two people, both of whom are stuck in the situation, both of whom are biased, and neither of
whom may be communicating clearly and effectively with the other. The counselor helps bring a new and impartial perspective
to the problems in your marriage.
Second, the counselor is trained to identify the roots of common problems and has learned
about implementing effective strategies to address those problems at their roots. You may be surprised at the simplicity of
some solutions to problems that you currently view as insurmountable. Of course, it takes a lot of work and dedication to
maintain a healthy, happy marriage, and it’s unrealistic to expect an overnight solution to problems that have grown up
over years. Nevertheless, a trained counselor is aware of effective, helpful tactics that you may not be familiar with
(just like a trained auto mechanic often has a better idea how to repair your car than you do).
Why is it so difficult to maintain a healthy Marriage?
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church
to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same
way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his
own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a
man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is
profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself,
and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
This beautiful passage of scripture gives us profound insight into one of the primary
reasons it can be so difficult to maintain a healthy marriage, and it also gives us a look at what an amazing gift an
ideally healthy and mature marriage is.
You’ve probably heard and read this passage numerous times, but it pays to think about it
in detail. In the passage, Paul is calling on married partners to be completely selfless with each other.
This is a tall order. Selfishness is a part of our fallen nature, and very few (if any)
marriages start out with two partners who are equally and completely selfless with each other. Paul says, “the two shall
become one flesh.” He’s speaking of a process here – the two partners must work together to vanquish selfishness in their
marriage, thereby becoming one.
This process is a difficult one, with many obstacles along the way. Differing
communication styles, differing personalities, different cultural backgrounds, different levels of maturity, outside
pressures like financial difficulties, difficulties with children or other family members, perceived or real sleights,
mental or physical health issues – all of these things can cause a couple to stumble on their path to selfless love.
Again, the exciting news for Christian couples is that counseling works. With expert help,
you and your partner can overcome life’s obstacles on your path to building your own perfect marriage based on Paul’s
You’re not Alone
The problems in your marriage are not unique. No matter what situation you and your partner
find yourselves in, many couples before you have already been in that situation, and many have made it through to the other
Although your problems may seem unique and sometimes even hopeless, an experienced
counselor can help turn on the light switch, causing you and your partner to see things in a way you’ve never seen them
before. Because you’re here, looking for help, you’re already on the way to finding the healing and guidance that you and
your partner need.
One more thing – there’s no need to feel ashamed when asking for help. Statistics clearly
show that marriage isn’t easy, so there’s certainly no cause to feel that asking for help is a sign of personal weakness or
failure. As a matter of fact, asking for help may be exactly the thing your marriage needs.
George S. Thompson
is a licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Texas with 30 years of experience helping
Houston-area couples strengthen and repair their relationships and cope with other life problems. Why wait? I encourage you
to call 713-395-1555 Ext. 2651 today and schedule an initial consultation. Get your marriage back on track.