How Is Christian Marriage Counseling Different From Secular Marriage Counseling?
Christian and Secular Marriage Counseling Differences
Christian Marriage Counseling differentiates itself from secular, humanistic counseling in several important ways. A primary difference is Christian Marriage Counseling is based on timeless biblical principles. These principles are the final authority in matters pertaining to the life issues individuals and couples face. Cornerstone Marriage & Family Ministries is a Christian Marriage Counseling service addressing individual and marital issues from a distinctively Christian, biblical worldview.
Another difference that distinguishes Christian Marital Counseling and secular (humanistic) counseling is each model’s viewpoint regarding how individuals are empowered to change their relationships, attitudes and behaviors. Secular therapy primarily regards the individual as being self-empowering to make relational and behavioral changes. Conversely, a distinctively Christian approach operates on the foundation that the Holy Spirit works through the counselor and individual to facilitate relational and behavioral changes. This belief assumes with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s truth as expressed in the Bible, individuals are enabled to be more internally empowered to strengthen their marriage.
Another fundamental difference between the two counseling approaches is Christian counseling is biblically based. It draws its primary understanding of the nature of man, the sources and causes of his problems, and how to resolve them from a Biblical understanding. Christian counseling recognizes that mankind, while created “in the image of God,” gravitates towards sin, pride and selfishness. This inclination strongly impacts his thinking, emotions, will and behaviors.
The Role of the Individual
Understandably, it is up to the individual to make the decision to be willing to change. Once the decision to change is made, the Holy Spirit guides the individual to what changes need to be made. The Holy Spirit provides guidance and empowers the individual during the change process.
Some of the Christian and secular methods of counseling are similar. But often, the activities suggested to the individual in Christian counseling relate to the individuals spiritual development and relationship with God and others.
The Impact of Sin
Because sin impacts all persons in the world, it is also influences the mind, emotions and will of the individual. Consequently, sin leads to the rise of problems and issues within each person’s life. Christian counseling recognizes resolution of these difficulties are by the motivational and guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. Christian counseling seeks to help facilitate this process. Through the guidance of a Christian counselor, and the willingness of the client, Christ is at work through the counselor to bring thoughts, emotions and behaviors into alignment with how God desires us to feel, think and act.
Cornerstone’s team of counselors share in the value of helping couples work through unresolved conflicts from a Biblical and Spirit led approach. These conflicts could be personality and gender differences, lack of closeness or intimacy, unmet emotional needs, angry outbursts and stress. These problems, if not recognized and dealt with can often create marital dissatisfaction. Marital dissatisfaction can become the basis for other major marital issues such as addictions, anger management, depression and infidelity.
At the root of many peoples unwillingness to seek marital problems is pride. We often believe we can solve our own problems. This can lead to the demise of a an individual and a marriage. Especially when one spouse recognizes a need for help and the other refuses. Scripture tells us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), including our marriages. Individuals must recognize and deal with marital problems. Otherwise, these problems represent a potentially crushing threat to the marriage.
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The American Association of Christian Counselors
The Marriage and Family Counselors Network
Christian Counselors of Texas
The Association of Marriage and Family Ministries
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