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Christian Counseling - Premarital & Preengagement Therapy

Most Christians are familiar with premarital counseling required by pastors before performing a marriage ceremony. It is usually 4-6 visits covering subjects, such as finances and sexuality, and sometimes the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis test.

With the divorce rate at about 50% for all people in America, young couples are rightly cautious. They want to ensure they will end up on the other side of that statistic. However, most do not know what is necessary to secure a marriage that lasts a lifetime.

Over the many years of counseling couples I have found a particularly critical commonality among those who are unhappy in their marriage or those who separate and divorce. It is not the superficial symptoms of poor communication, sexual problems, or financial trouble, but the underlying relational dynamics, attitudes and beliefs that express themselves through these symptoms. It is the influence of unresolved past experiences, primarily in one's family of origin. Couples who fail to understand and work out these past, but still alive and present issues, are heading for a storm.

To illustrate, if a boy experiences his mother as emotionally needy and is somewhat dependent on him, he will likely find himself attracted to women who are similar (occasionally the opposite). Usually, this man will play the role of caretaker to a needy, dependent woman. Later on in the marriage he will retreat, especially if he is told it is never enough or good enough. She will feel abandoned and may grow more needy. This would be especially true if her father was physically or emotionally absent from her and the family. Psychologically, this couple would be attracted to and form their relationship on the basis of learned and troubled roles and powerful unmet needs. Their unresolved past experiences would lead to poor decision-making and ensure relational conflict.

Not infrequently, couples subscribe to the idea that "Marriage will help heal me." The reality is that it rarely heals, instead it over burdens the relationship and shatters the bonds of love. What is it that will help heal? Self-understanding--a forerunner to change! Psalm 51:6 says, "Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom."

Our Christian Counseling Center's comprehensive approach takes a couple through their extensive histories in order to discover the impact they had on their individual development. This information is then used to set treatment goals and make predictions about what the couple is likely to experience in marriage.

The best time for couples to work out their problems is before they happen. If you are planning to marry, prepare yourself by understanding and resolving the issues of your past. Don't take them along on your honeymoon or allow them to influence the coming years of marriage.

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