Christian Marriage Counseling

Understanding the Differences between Secular and Christian Marriage Counseling

When a marriage is struggling, it seems like everyone has “the” solution to rekindling the romance. One recommends a date night, another stresses the importance of scheduling in time for regular intimacy, while yet others coach you to simply throw in the towel and look for happiness elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for customized solutions and strategies based upon your unique relationship and the precepts of the Christian faith, then Christian marriage counseling may be exactly what the doctor ordered. If you want:

  • Advice of a counselor that answers to an authority higher than the state.
  • A counselor who will pray with and for you.
  • A counselor who turns to the Bible for advice, instead of just Jung and Freud.
  • Counseling that doesn’t just restore your relationship with one another, but with God as well.

What to Consider When Seeking a Christian Counselor

Because there are stark differences between Christian and secular counseling, it’s important that you understand how to properly evaluate the training and credentials of a potential counseling professional. First of all, Christian counselors – like secular ones – will typically hold at the very least a master’s degree. Unlike secular counseling professionals, these degrees are often obtained from a religious college or university, as opposed to from state certified schools. They might also have a Ph.D., but this will all depend upon the professional.

Since Christian counselors aren’t certified or credentialed by the state, for the safety of yourself and your relationship, you want to go the extra mile and know that their church or religious organization hold them to high standards of professionalism and accountability. This is often achieved by memberships with prestigious and credible professional associations and organizations like the NCCA (National Christian Counselors Association) or the IBCC (International Board of Christian Counselors.) Of course, these aren’t the only trusted professional organizations for Christian marriage counselors, but they are some of the best. Furthermore, you should never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising. If you know that you’re looking for in counseling with a Christian and faith-based edge, then ask around to other members of your church or denomination to find out who people you trust wholeheartedly, recommend.

The Benefits of Christian Marriage Counseling

Before psychology became the field that it is today, ministers used to be the number one source of marriage counseling and advice. It’s important to note that, back then, these ministers had no professional background or basis in the world of mental health or the best practices of counseling. While there was a multitude of successes under this bygone system, there were also failures and bad apples.

Today, by adding in an element of special training, couples who are in crisis can take advantage of the best of both worlds: solid principles and counseling traditions based on the same science and facts that secular counseling professionals employ, balanced with the faith, hope and encouragement of Christ and the Christian message. In Christian marriage counseling, saving the marriage and strengthening the relationship are always the first priorities. However, Christian counseling professionals do understand that this isn’t always possible, and also provide ways to end a marriage as amicably as possible while providing faith and guidance as both parties move forward from the situation.

For those who are looking for real solutions to pressing problems like unfaithfulness, unresolved issues, medical conditions that are impacting the lives of both partners or all-too-common financial issues, Christian counseling professionals can renew and invigorate the commitment you both made.


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