Christian premarital counselling

By: George Hartwell  09-12-2011
Keywords: Counselling, healing


Q.   In your experience, how does counselling help end an abusive relationship? 
A.   In my observation counselling reduces abusive interaction by:

  • bringing accountability to the relationship,

  • resolving individual issues that are at the root of abusive behaviour,
  • providing individual support for victims to break out of the victim mentality,
  • encouraging healthier patterns of communication and conflict resolution,
  • bringing some resolution to marital issues through mediation with a third party.

Q.   What do you do to solve communication problems in marriages?
A.   I will use some of the following:

  • In discussion with the couple I develop an agreement about "Do's and don't" of communication,

  • I focus on a changing behaviour right during the session - especially learning to hear what the other says and feels
  • I identify unhealthy patterns we name the pattern so they can notice and talk about the pattern when it repeats,
  • I will process issues having one person make a request for change and the other reflect the content and feelings,
  • In conflicts I focus you on hearing the other's message and their feeling.

Q.   How can you help us with a personality differences?
A.   I will:

  •  introduce four dimensions of personality differences and help you to locate yourself on these dimensions.

  •  I will recommend reading to learn more about these dimensions of personality types.
  •  I will explain the differences and how that will effect your relationship.
  • I will make diagrams of relationship patterns which people find helpful.
  • I will explain clearly these diagrams and talk about the application to your relationship.

Q.   How can we achieve deeper levels of intimacy?
A.   You may find that though counselling, by improving listening to one another; by better understanding of one another, by resolving conflicts together and by gaining emotional freedom that you will start to become more open and emotionally present to one another. This allows more satisfactory communication and more rewarding intimacy.

Q.   I don't believe that my partner is the right person for me. I no longer love them. We are not suited. We have become enemies. How will professional counselling make any difference?

A.    It is normal in a committed couple relationship to begin to see our partner as our enemy. "If they would change, I would be happy," we think. We are pulled to look for love and understanding elsewhere. We are at risk for adultery.

        Before we get in to the promised land of faithful covenant Christian marriage we may encounter giants from our past in what we see and experience in our partner. Issues of great significance from our past do need to be resolved. This is best done with a counsellor who is familiar with healing issues of heart and spirit.

       When you are empty inside it may mean that what I call "core issues" need to be dealt with. It may not all be your partner.

       When we do not like to admit that we have faults or face our negative possibilities, we tend to blame our partner. Best to take Jesus' advice and take the log out of your own eye. If the "log" is blocking your perspective, then the counselling process can be the least painful of facing it.

       In every relationship there are stages to entering into real unity. Scott Peck outlines three steps before we reach unity. That means that it is normal to enter into periods of conflict and power struggle. You are each trying to be right, or set the agenda, or make the other better. Counselling will help if you are willing to face the fact that some of these behaviours are preventing you from reaching community.

Sometimes our partner looks like the worse aspects of our mother or father. This is hard to love. But it is not all your partner's fault. You are more likely to feel pain from behaviour that hurts in the place of unhealed issues. Your own expectation of that this pain will occur also acts upon your partner to bring out of them the very beahviour you hate. They need to take responsibility for their behaviour but you may find that healing up your own wounded heart may help reduce this type of pain in your relationship.

      It is inevitable that your partner will remind you of your childhood issues; will seem more and more like your childhood abuser. Guaranteed. Your perceptions, beliefs, feelings and reactions toward your partner are being powerfully shaped by your unresolved childhood issues. You will experience again what you experienced before - until you overcome the enemy within. To it does not all depend on your partner. You can help your marriage by seeking healing for the issues of your heart.

      Your partner is in the same process of seeing their worse fears, deepest hurts and unresolved issues being fulfilled in you. Their perception of you, understanding of you, feelings toward you will be deeply and fundamentally based on past experience until "past experience" is dealt with. Professionals who use prayer therapy inner healing will help in this process.

Keywords: Counselling, healing

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