Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Marriage is a wonderful, God-given gift to mankind. When it functions as God intended, this unstoppable union can demonstrate a true reflection of the relationship between Christ and the Church. When it is in a healthy place your marriage can and will be an enormous blessing to you, your partner and to those around you.But let’s get one thing clear – marriage is not easy! Any couple who have been married for any lengthy period of time will tell you exactly the same thing, that rough patches are totally normal! Marriage has to be worked on and requires sustained effort from both sides.
There will be times when you feel as if your own strivings are not enough to resolve the issues that have arisen. But admitting defeat doesn’t have to be such a negative thing. Indeed, it can compel you to look to God for help and may lead you to a professional who can assist you.
Simply put, when things are tough, one of the most effective ways to achieve a healthy and fulfilling marriage is to engage a marriage counselor. Reach out for help and, whatever you do, don’t give up before seeking out professional help.
Why Seek Out a Professional Counselor?
Firstly, you need to understand that there is absolutely no shame in asking for professional help in the form of a marriage counselor. While the act of reaching out to a counselor may take some bravery, just remember that your marital relationship is extremely important and is well worth the investment.
“Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed,” reads Proverbs 15:22. Don’t try and do it all on your own and know that your marriage is worth too much.
It is important to remember that there are wise men and women of God who are trained and ready to deal with situations just like your own, and they are here to help! With God, there is always hope for the future, for a healthier, more grace-filled, genuinely loving, and satisfying marriage that may go far and beyond your current expectations.
Of course, the next step is to actually locate a suitable counselor for your situation. Indeed, finding a good fit is absolutely essential for getting the most out of what could be a life-changing period of therapy. You must ensure that the person is someone with whom you both feel relaxed and comfortable and that the atmosphere is one in which you can freely express your feelings.
How to Find the Right Marriage Counselor for You
So, with that in mind, here are a few things to consider when seeking out the right marriage counselor for you.
Word of mouth
The most effective way of finding a suitable marriage counselor is to follow up on personal recommendations. If people have experienced a counselor who was particularly helpful and skilled at their job, they are likely to share this with you. A recommendation for a counseling service can be an extremely effective way of seeking out a therapist who may be suitable in helping you through your marital issues.
While this does not result in a guaranteed positive outcome, acting on the recommendation of someone you know and trust can be a very good place to start.
“Talk to someone you know who has gone for counseling or psychotherapy. In many cases, the best suggestions about who is good in your community are from trusted friends and family who have been in the same situation themselves of trying to find a good counselor or therapist,” wrote Dr. Robert Burbee at Focus on the Family in a piece called, “How Do I Find a Good Marriage Counselor?”
“These individuals can give first hand observation about a professional and what to expect. And, they are giving a client’s perspective which may be the most important.”
Indeed, “the best way to find a good therapist is word-of-mouth,” added clinical social worker and writer Michele Weiner-Davis in a piece published at Psychology Today. “Satisfied customers say a lot about the kind of therapy you will receive.
Although you might feel embarrassed to ask friends or family for a referral, you should consider doing it anyway. It increases the odds you’ll find a therapist who will really help you and your spouse.”
Reflect before you goOne of the most important things you can do prior to attending counseling is to engage in some personal reflection, thoughtfully considering what exactly the main issues are that you wish to work through in therapy.
It is also worth figuring out some goals and expectations prior to heading into the counseling room. Talk candidly with your partner in order to determine your reasons for going into a period of therapy and consider what type of counselor you would both feel comfortable with.
As a couple, it is important that you set some clearly defined goals that you can outline to your therapist once you get acquainted. Of course, the counselor will do some assessment and figure out some of the things that might need to be worked on, but it is good to go in with some ideas about what you wish to see improve in your marriage.
Indeed, it is of vital importance that you and your partner get on the same page prior to entering therapy. Counseling tends not to be very effective if the two parties are at odds with each other over their long-term goals. Of course, clear friction may be present between you as issues remain unsolved but an ultimate, hope-filled future for your marriage must be a shared aspiration!
Remember also that counselors often specialize in different areas. Be sure to identify those professionals who suit your needs the best. If you are unsure of the exact specialism required, a Marriage and Family Therapist may be the best person for the job, as they can offer a broad range of therapeutic services in the area of marital relationships.
“Marriage and Family Therapists broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks such as marriage and the family,” reads the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy professional website. “MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.”
It is important to try and arrange a phone consultation with your potential counselor in order to better determine whether it might be a good fit. Use this conversation to ask questions, and don’t be shy! You must do everything possible to ensure a successful therapeutic partnership in order to attain the best results.
“Prepare a list of questions before you talk with them related to your concerns,” Dr. Burbee writes. “Ask questions that will help you feel more at ease about going in for a visit. Ask if they are a Christian and how their faith influences the way they do counseling or psychotherapy.”
Trust your judgement
While it is important to sift through these various different aspects. Perhaps the most important deciding factor on the selection of a counselor is your gut feeling.
Of course, there is no need to make irrational or rushed judgments about the counselor’s suitability, but it is very important that you trust your God-given instincts when seeking out a therapist who is likely the help save your marriage.
Ask questions of the counselor and be sure to ascertain how interested and engaged they are in response. It is important that they will be fully invested and committed to your treatment.
The decision to enter counseling is an extremely important one, and, with God’s help, it could be the best choice you ever make for the health and future of your marriage so go for it!
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