Love Month: Armchair Marriage Counselor

February 9, 2011

Okay, we’re definately armpits-deep in Love Month here at the blog.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the way the church deals with love and all that is kind of…well, conflicted.  It’s kind of weird.  It seems like more and more pastors are trying to talk as much as possible about love and family and all that sweetness.  At the same time, the church is fighting a culture war over love.  Yet, something feels a little off about it. 

Before you hear one more sex talk from a pastor, I think it’s time I gave the church the talk about how it handles the topic of love.

Armchair Marriage Counselor

I think I stand with at least half of pastors, when I think of myself as a gifted counselor, even if I don’t have a fancy “degree” in counseling.  I’ve taken just enough counseling classes to make me dangerous, and I loved them.  Left and right, everywhere I go, I’m throwing out helpful little quips and scraps of advice to people who obviously need my help.  I love wearing sweaters and tossing around words like codependence.  I feel so academic.  I have many leather bound books and my office smells of rich mahogany.

I think that’s where half our pastors are at today.  Pastors love to talk about marriage.  Most pastors have just enough counseling training to be helpful…or maybe dangerous.  I’m not sure which.  I’m also not sure how priests who are forced to be celibate are supposed to give marriage advice.

But most of all, I wonder how much good we’re doing.  Are pastors supposed to be preoccupied with the health of marriages, or the health of the church?  After all, pastors aren’t a part of anyone else’s marriage, but they actually lead churches.  Jesus seemed much more concerned with community than marriage, and even pointed out that marriage isn’t eternal, while the church is.  While we spend endless sermons talking about sloppy, slobbery married love, it’s obvious a lot of Christians still don’t know how to love their neighbors as themselves.

Thirty Day Challenge

Of all the publicity stunts a pastor can pull, I rank giving the church a thirty day “sex challenge,” only slightly more ridiculous than a pastor wrestling a kiddie pool full of ferocious greased up guinea pigs in the nude.  Go ahead, let that image sink in.  The fad of sex challenges started in Florida, and has since spawned books, door hangers, and dozens of copycat pastors.  I can’t help but think that any pastor who issues such a challenge is only doing so in an amateurish attempt to get attention.

First of all, let’s ignore the logistical near-impossibility of this feat for most people (since women who follow Levitical law are sitting in a tent for a week out of every month, for obvious reasons.)  Is this the kind of marital advice an actual, licensed therapist would give a couple?  I think there’s probably a lot more serious problems married couples face, and a lot more serious solutions than this.  If a marriage is in the dumps, is chafing your loins for a month supposed to fix the fact that he never takes out the trash, and she’s a relentless harpy? 

I’d like to issue the church a challenge: let’s go one month without some kind of embarassing sex scandal.  Novel idea, eh?

Let’s Save Marriage!

Of all the silly things churches are doing in the realm of love, this is where we’re really missing the mark.  Churches and Christians are embroiled in an all-consuming culture war to keep gays from marrying.  We spend a ton of money, energy, and debate on this.  Some of us are willing to die on this hill.  It is our calling to save marriage.  This is the biggest cultural issue of our generation.

I’ve got my opinions about gay marriage (which I’m not discussing).  But we’re making gay marriage way too important.  We’re spending way too much time and money on preventing what is probably inevitable because we live in a free country.  We are willing to let this issue consume us, and our grandchildren will wonder why. 

How have we missed the mark?

Because half of heterosexual marriages break down.  We’re not saving marriage by keeping gays from marrying.  Half of straight people don’t know how to stay married. 

But even divorce isn’t the biggest problem.  If we’re focused on gay marriage or divorce, we’re being distracted by a silly little side show.  If the church wanted to make the biggest impact to save marriage, it would be confronting the multi-billion dollar porn industry.  It’s probably the biggest entertainment industry in the world.  And it infects, saturates, and poisons our entire culture.  The numbers of divorces and gay marriages doesn’t even compare to the amount of porn that’s made and used. 

The church is picking on gay marriage, and porn is saying to the church, “Why don’t you come over here and pick on someone your own size.”  But we’d rather pick the shrimp we know can’t beat us.  If the church was serious about fixing our love lives, it would spend some hardcore energy fighting porn. 

And on that note, you won’t want to miss Friday’s post…

Well, I kind of threw a lot out there, so let ‘er rip!  Is your pastor qualified to give marriage advice?  Are sex challenges legit, or silly attention grabbers?  And what is the biggest threat facing marriages today – gays, or porn?

46 responses to Love Month: Armchair Marriage Counselor

  1. I heard someone say recently that what they suspect will happen is that gays will have lower divorce rates than straight people and will soon be yelling at straight people for destroying marriage.

    Those 30 day challenges are a great way to rub it into the singles who presumably aren’t having it at all, let alone every day.
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    • I have heard that thought – I almost included it here, so I’m glad you brought it up. It makes sense. With so many gays wanting to marry for so long, their divorce rate will put ours to shame for at least a few decades.

      • Not so; I’m Canadian where gay marriage is legal and while I don’t profess to know all gays, nor do I know the stats but from my experience and personal knowledge gay marriage is just as volatile as anyone else.

        There are some couples I know who have been together for years and years, long before gay marriage was legalized (they had received common-law marriage status though), and many more have gotten married since it became legal only to have them divorce within a few years.

  2. First question: For the most part: no…and I are one. Unfortunately, out of necessity it happens. Most people can’t afford a counselor so by default the “free” pastor is chosen. Maybe if I hung out a shingle and started charging that might change?? I do think there are some things a pastor can help with but I have learned over the years to send them to a professional when it is beyond me (after the first session) :) Second, I don’t think they are attention grabbers or legit. I think they are just plain stupid. Not only is the single issue there but how about the man who has had prostate surgery, like a dear friend of mine is in about two weeks? Yeah, that will make him feel like a man! Third: porn is definitely what we ought to be fighting. I ought to know. I do.

  3. I think a big threat in marriage is taking the other person for granted. You do that for 5, 10 years, your marriage is pretty much craptastic.

    Wouldn’t gay porn be even more dangerous? j/k
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  4. How about gay porn? Just kidding. I think you’re right, the biggest issue we need to be concerned about is the health of the marriages we already have, not whether or not gays can wear rings. And it’s not just keeping those marriages together, but making them true, healthy unions.
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  5. Hi Matt,

    Am I reading this correctly? You want me to cut back to only once a day for thirty whole days! Do you realize that Lent hasn’t even started yet?

    OK, I’ll get serious. I think that once again the Christian church has been sidetracked into a mote and beam mode.

    Did the Lord Christ suffer and die to keep homosexuals from getting married? Did He bleed to stop porn? Did He wear a crown of thorns to keep couples married?

    Whatsoever if born of the flesh is flesh–but that’s all it is. Flesh.

    But is is so much easier for me to point so the sins of somebody else: they is bad, I is good.

    God will not judge me on the basis of what somebody else did or didn’t do. And if judgment begin in the house of God, what shall the end be to the divorce rate? To the porno industry?

    The best way to deal with the sins and foibles of others is to clean up my own life. Seems to me the Scripture says something about being busybodies in other men’s affairs.

    So, the church should focus on the real issues of life and godliness like writing Congress about the oil depletion allowance.

    Isn’t that the reason the Lord of Glory died?

  6. The gift of counseling is not something that you get in school or in cemetery. Like every spiritual gift, it needs to be nurtured, but it comes from God. There is no biblical evidence that counseling is a guaranteed pastoral trait. I have had some really bad pastoral counseling. The church has spent way too much time getting educated, when it could spend some serious time in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

    All topics in church need to have a positive spin; even sin. We spend a lot of time being negative about this sin and that sin, when we could concentrate on bearing fruit, and stop being fruit inspectors. Sin is bad, but Jesus is awesome-er!

    Fixing marriages, and attacking porn addictions are the by product of accountable and intimate friendships. In fact all soul issues and failures need both God and his people. Some days God sovereignly removes something in our life, other time he leaves a thorn for our friends to minister to.

    We are part of a culture that does not want to admit we are wrong – so when the hard days come, where do you turn? It should be to a friend that will pray, and listen.

    Most folks go about life, and rarely share their fears, and disappointments. That is why therapists are overloaded, and half the nation is on anti-depressants. That’s the churches job, meeting needs through the love of Jesus.

    In the end, we need to concentrate on being there for each other, being transparent about our weakness, and proactive on discipling.

    Good stuff, Matt!
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  7. My wife and I were in need of counsel, and we went to our pastor at the time for guidance. He was wise enough to show us some passages from the Word that could apply, but told us as far as life application, we needed to see a professional. His take was that he was equipped to find verses that addressed our issue(s), but making the jump to practical day-to-day steps toward recovery was better left in the hands of a professional counselor. Most pastors I know are great at the “Just Do It” approach, while counselors provide insight for life-change.

    30-Day Sex stunts are a pet peeve of mine. Thanks for addressing it. My logic would be, why are you stopping it at 30? If it is the BEST thing for a marriage, why not go 365?
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  8. Porn. That’s a tough one because it’s a heart issue, plain and simple. Gay marriage? That is potentially something we can legislate (and have). Divorce? Porn? Those are choices people have. Those are issues with deep implications as to who we are as people and the choices we make.

    We can’t talk about those because, really, there isn’t a formula you can follow, a rule you can make, a system you can implement. Those issues are tied directly to who we are. And heart change is hard to preach, teach and push. It’s even harder to make happen because, honestly, it requires the grace of God. And I, for one, struggle with how God’s grace and goodness is supposed to change me while the choices I make are still 100% mine.

    Porn. Yeah, it’s tearing things apart.

    Luke Holzmann recently posted..Finding the Right Pair of Pants

  9. I think that pastors are qualified to give marriage advice. Pornography’s the biggest threat to marriages and human culture. If we ostracized people that are struggling, the pews and collection plate certainly would be lacking.

  10. If a marriage is in the dumps, is chafing your loins for a month supposed to fix the fact that he never takes out the trash, and she’s a relentless harpy? – I am pretty sure the entire office heard me laughing at this!

    You make a really good argument in your last point. I never really thought about the fact that there are such bigger threats to marriage then gay marriage. And if gay marriage is a certainty, and I think it is in the country, shouldn’t we focus our efforts on protecting Christian marriages?
    Ashley recently posted..The Wedding Venue

    • the church is made up of many marriages and so is the community. i’d have to say that more focus should be on marriage because if they’re healthy then it goes without saying that the church and the community would be a lot healthier as well. also, i think a pastor should offer more to married couples than just some scripture thrown their way; struggling couples need the practical help as well. of course, any help from pastoral staff will be worthless if said staff isn’t living it out in their own marriages.

  11. Currently I am in a struggling marriage. I can point my finger at lots of things that hurt the marriage, but it all boils down to one thing. Well one thing for each of us. I needed to love my wife, and love is not selfish, so what I needed was a walk with God. Now I pray that my wife will enter that walk as well. The single biggest thing that was missing from our Christian marriage from the day we were married over 13 years ago was we failed to intentionally pray together daily. We both started to fade away from each other and our walk with God, and the other was barely aware it was happening. Pastors, if you want to save marriage, start training single men to be spiritual head of their family, so when the day comes that they are married, they are prepared to do the work God has called men to in marriage.

    • You’re the second person in a couple of days to make a point to say that. Seems like something we don’t talk about too much.

    • I think it depends on how those things are defined and presented. While it might work for husbands to have their preachers pontificate on their God-given leadership duties, it is often the reason for wives to become very unsatisfied in the relationship. Most of us go into a marriage thrilled that we’ve found a soul mate, a person to share deeply with. It’s sometimes jarring to find out that in some denominations, men view it more like acquiring a staff. We want to be one with you, not your “Number One” (Star Trek reference, just in case it reads differently without Jean Luc Piccard’s voice in your head).

      • I don’t want to be harsh sounding, but I said clearly spiritual head of the family. I am talking about Biblical marriage, not something Bible + . I have that person, and we are so far a part now, she doesn’t know if she can love me or wants to. Starting a marriage on your knees before the Lord and staying there is how marriage is going to be saved, and when confronted with your new bride who believes you are good at everything, it is difficult to get on your knees and expose all your weaknesses that you do in prayer. Sorry for the run on sentence. That kind of leadership is not seen in most homes, and is not taught in most churches. Men are not being taught to walk with God in most churches. We are being taught to be good people, and the Bible is used as a reference manual or paddle in some cases. The Bible is our guide, and it is key to walking with the Lord, which is key to having a marriage that is as God designed it. This is where I challenge pastors. I challenge them to actually disciple young men, and prepare not just for tomorrows challenges in the world, but for eternal challenges that will effect everyone around them. Sitting where I am right now, regardless of whether my wife stays or goes, I am going to do everything I can to minister to men, so they can go minister to their families.

        • You don’t sound harsh, and I sincerely hope your marriage gets back on solid ground very quickly. I also think that discipling people of both genders is always a good idea. I don’t think we have a disagreement. But it’s like saying that we support motherhood and apple pie – it’s not in the topics that the tricky part comes, it’s in the details. I’ve heard spiritual leadership defined in ways that dismiss a woman’s relationship with, and accountability to, the same Lord you follow. So I agree that these things should be taught, just throwing out the thought that not all messages with that title are equal.

      • Also you can’t ignore the fact that there are non-christian marriages with husbands who are not the spiritual heads and they are not only long term but the couple is happy.Then too there are marriages where one or both people are very self-centered individuals.And there are marriages that are long term but are miserable.I think this issue is too complicated to boil down to a single thing.And I should say I am a long time christian and have seen it all in churches and marriages through the years.It probably helps to have parents who went the distance if only to help you realize that you CAN stay in it even when it’s not ideal.It probably gives you a more realistic picture of marriage.

        • I agree completely. And I’ve yet to hear a definition of “spiritual head” that doesn’t include things that wives should be doing too. Usually it comes down to “Christlike” which is not a guy thing. I heard recently that the single greatest determinant of whether a marriage works is whether both spouses are determined to make it work. Sounds kinda right.

  12. “If a marriage is in the dumps, is chafing your loins for a month supposed to fix the fact that he never takes out the trash, and she’s a relentless harpy?”

    I’m with Ashley – thanks for my laugh for the day. Like others, I consider those 30-day sex challenges dumb at best, but if you’re going to issue one, why not challenge couples to remain *celibate* for 30 days – and spend that time making a concentrated effort to show love for one another in non-sexually demonstrative ways? Couples might be surprised at the differences they see in their relationship afterwards. But I doubt this idea would fly very far, somehow….

  13. Wrestling a bunch of ferocious greased up guinea pigs isn’t as easy as it sounds. Trust me.
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  14. The closer we draw to God, the less enticing sin will be. The closer we draw to God, the more we’ll reflect his character to a sinful world in need of a savior. The more we seek His kingdom, the more everything else will fall into place. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and not be distracted by sinners sinning.

    Remember, it’s God’s kindness that leads people to repentance.

    If we’re close to God, our marriages will be healthier. We won’t be expecting our spouse to fill God’s shoes in our life, and we’ll be obedient to the commandment to love, respect, and submit to one another.

    And as for pastors counseling… depends on the pastor. Without naming names, let’s just say that our previous pastor was in NO way qualified to counsel couples, while our present one has much to share about a healthy marriage.

  15. “If a marriage is in the dumps, is chafing your loins for a month supposed to fix the fact that he never takes out the trash, and she’s a relentless harpy?”

    I’m with Ashley – thanks for my laugh for the day. But while I, like others here, regard those 30-day sex challenges as dumb at best, I think it would be interesting to pose one of this nature: have couples agree to *abstain* for 30 days and spend that time making a concentrated effort to show love for one another in non-sexual ways, of which there could be hundreds. I suspect a lot of couples would be surprised at the results – and the enforced “waiting period” would liven things up in the bedroom as well. Would be interesting to see….

  16. “I’d like to issue the church a challenge: let’s go one month without some kind of embarassing sex scandal.”

    -Boom, Roasted.

    Such a great statement…
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  17. I think the reason we pick on Gay marriage, and homosexuality in general, is because there isn’t much of that going on in the church. It’s a way for us to lob a grenade over into someone else’s camp and distract them from looking at all the things we do wrong. Why don’t we spend this much time and energy combating adultery? Domestic violence? Anger? I think it’s because then we’d have to admit that we’re the problem and that our sin is just as offensive to God. It’s much easier to point and pretend that if everyone out there knew Jesus like we know Jesus, their lives would clean right up.

  18. You echoed a lot of thoughts I’ve had lately about the whole focus on gay marriage, while clearly heterosexual marriage is failing and hardly the epitome of how God wanted it to be. My husband is in seminary and just learned that apparently pastors and ministers have the same divorce rate as the general public! I know, pastors and ministers are fallible just like all of us, but it does make you think.

    Something I keep coming back to regarding the Church and love is that the world is supposed to know us by our love. When I was a freshman in high school (about 15 years ago, now…yikes), I was not a Christian. I made two friends who were. One of them would argue with me and debate about Christianity and other religions until we were both blue in the face. It just made me angry and resistant. The other never pointed out my sin to me, she simply showed me Christ’s love, hung out with me, and then started inviting me to places where I heard more about God’s love. Can you guess who won me over in the end?

    • Very interesting Brooke,thanks for sharing your comments.My dad was a pastor his whole adult life.Every waking minute was consumed with church and church people.Vacations were rare and he died at 62.People loved him but he was not good at being a dad or husband.Partially it was the job and partially it was his workaholic personality.To me this is why pastoral marriages fail.Hopefully they are teaching then in seminary now days to put emphasis on their family life.Shocking about the stats you list.

  19. “I rank giving the church a thirty day “sex challenge,” only slightly more ridiculous than a pastor wrestling a kiddie pool full of ferocious greased up guinea pigs in the nude.”
    ROFL while trying not to picture any of my pastors in this situation.

    I do believe that pastors can give Biblical advice on marriage to couples having trouble but that only God and a counselor can handle a tough situation and only God can really change hearts and save a marriage.

    I think that porn is more damaging than gay marriage just because it is so prevalent and it is getting to be more common. We TIVO all shows so that we can skip commercials because most of them would be considered “R” rated based on standards in place thirty years ago. Billboards, ads in magazines, ads in malls, many of them would have been considered porn thirty years ago. Twenty years ago, my grandma and grandpa boycotted Waldenbooks because they sold Playboy and similar themed magazines. However, today, we would almost need to ban all TV, malls and many bookstores because of inappropriate material that they sell. I even heard a food show in NPR talking about making potato salad “sexy”! I don’t need sexy potato salad, thank you very much!

  20. Eww. Did we really need that porn visual, Matt?
    Satan is destroying hte church from the inside by destroying marriages! You better believe the pastor should address it, from the pulpit!
    I have no idea what you are taking about w/ the challenges, and honestly, I DON’T want you to explain it.

    I agree with many of you in that I have known several pastors with the gift of counseling. There is some very basic fundamental fact that all pastors can share, and others have the discernment to see the heart issues. I also agree with JeD, when men rise up and take responsibility for the Spiritual health of the home, the home will flourish, their marriage will flourish, their children will flourish, and the church will flourish. As long as they are submitting to the Holy Spirit in their leadership. I agree, that’s a tall order and I only know a small number of men who are doing that.

  21. I believe the porn is a much bigger issue. I am trying to raise a teenage boy and porn is all he thinks about at 15 years old with raging hormones. I have explained again and again, how porn places women (and men) on a sheet of paper as objects and that he has no right to see someone that way he is not in love with and preferably married to.
    When it comes to gay marriage, I am very liberal. I believe that God loves all his children, not just the straight ones. But then, I also do not believe homosexuality is chosen.
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  22. I think that we should be careful with porn being the biggest threat. I believe that it is the manifestation of the threat in the modern era, but the sin is lust, and the Bible warns about it time and time again. It was one of the biggest threats to communion with God. It is a common topic in Proverbs. There are lots of verses that deal with prostitution and the wayward wife, the first of which is something very few Christian men experience, but we all have seen the latter as a threat in our lives. I fear that we become to focused on the object of the sin, rather than the sin, and we will miss the sin in our own life. Today porn is easy to get to, but that is not the only place lust takes root. Lust has always been a primary aggressor to the married man. It is something that so easily can resemble the completely appropriate desire for our wives that we can miss it as it comes upon us if we are not aware and prayerfully walking with our God.

  23. Some pastors are qualified, some are not. Some qualified therapists are better than others. I cringe to think of anyone being counseled by our former pastor. He used examples of his counseling sessions in his sermons. He also told a congregant that as his spiritual leader, he was telling him that his marriage was over and he needed to divorce his wife (they didn’t take the advice and are still married). He is the second pastor i have heard make such a determination to a congregant.

    While i believe that there comes a time when people may have to face the truth, ordering someone as their “spiritual leader” to divorce a spouse really can’t be good counseling.

    Someone told us about the John Gottman books before we were married, and purchasing them has been the very best investment we have made for a strong marriage. Because we are so well matched, i think our marriage would do well, anyway, but it never hurts to have more ways to improve it!–Relationship-Help.html

    One thing i wish the churches would do away with is the emphasis on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. My husband and i hurt very much because we will never have children (long story how we arrived here, please don’t tell me to “just adopt”), and Mother’s/Father’s Days just emphasize that loss. We began the policy about 3 years ago that we will never attend church on those days. One church we attended gave a flower to all women regardless of their motherhood status, but the sermon often negated that sentiment.

    What is interesting to me (i was in a recent church planning meeting with the intent of giving a rose to all mothers) is that the original intent was from a childless woman who wanted to honor her own mother. She was embittered by the shallowness to which this holiday eventually evolved.

    I think churches would be better off preaching to Gospel and leaving these things that exclude some of the congregation out of the sermon. The church is about community. If we really had that community, we would have groups and friends and support in the church to assist one another on those issues rather than showing up and trying to “look good” while hurting inside.
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    • I could not agree more about mother’s day and father’s day. I have two kids who are now grown so I am free to not attend on those days either. When they were at home I did it just because I didn’t have a good way of making them understand that I disagree on principle with the “holiday” but wasn’t conflicted about being an actual mother! Not only is it often hurtful for people who have no children, but if you listen closely to what they’re saying about what a mother ought to be, it’s pretty scathing to those of us who don’t measure up as well. I simply see no place for it in the church. Good post!

      • Surely you don’t mean that you don’t want to be instructed how to become a better mother? We are supposed to conform to Jesus’ image as well, and we fall way shorter there. Should we not have sermons about how to be a better Christian?
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        • Of course I don’t mean that. I just mean that most of the sermons I’ve heard on what constitutes a “good mother” are more cultural than biblical. There seems to be one way to be a good mother, but infinite ways to be a good father, a good Christian, a good teacher, etc. I reject that there is one man-made definition of that and that those who fall short of that definition are inferior. There are things that I uniquely brought to my children and their perceptions of the world that no one else could have, and that was God’s intention by giving them to me. And of course we should have sermons about being more Christ-like. And those are gender neutral.

    • I am truly sorry that you can’t have children. There is nothing to say that can soothe that hurt. But if you have or had a mother, you weren’t excluded from honoring her, taking a moment to be thankful for her influence in your life, even if you can’t be honored. I don’t know if churches need to hand out roses but they definitely need to preach on how to be a good wife and mother because there is a need to know that as well as how to be a good father or child or friend or pastor or leader or brother. These are common relationships and I’m sure there are some nuggets in each of those kinds of sermons that you can apply to your own life. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We bear with one another and as we all share in your burden, we hope you can share in our joys. I as a married woman would not feel excluded to hear a sermon for singles, or for childless couples. I know it would help me understand their perspective.
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  24. Just to throw this out there: Neither Jesus nor Paul were married. And I know some excellent priests who give wonderful relationship advice :-)

    I do, however, understand why people might be skeptical about taking marital advice from a priest. My parents are pre-marital counselors for my (Catholic) home church. I am not married, but I believe the way it works in most Catholic churches is that a couple wishing to get married must check in with the priest or deacon (deacons can marry, by the way) who is performing the ceremony to discuss certain things, but the majority of the counseling takes place in the home of an older (pre-marital counseling certified) couple, such as my parents.

    I imagine if a couple was interested in serious post-marital counseling, a priest would refer them to an actual Christian counselor, just as a non-Catholic pastor would.

    Oh, and high-five on the “Let’s Save Marriage!” section.

    • I agree with you that Jesus and Paul weren’t married, but that was by their own choice. Both acknowledged that while absitence was good, most people wouldn’t be able to handle it, so “those who can accept this, should.” Abstienance in the priesthood was optional until about 1000 years ago. Personally, I think they should go back to that model.

      • I do agree that the Catholic Church would benefit greatly from priests having the option to marry, especially considering all 5 priests at my home church are about ready to retire. But in a denomination where tradition is spelled with a capital “T”,(literally…it’s capitalized in discourse relating to doctrine and whatnot) the odds of that happening in the next century are slim. At least the Mass is no longer in Latin…yay…?

  25. I have experienced counseling and been married twice.Also I’m a pastor’s kid who grew up in a church where divorce was very taboo.My second husband and I have helped in counseling classes at our church.I was thinking about this yesterday and wondering after all I had seen at 50 about what insures that a marriage works?It’s not that both people grow up in church or that people have lived a conservative lifestyle.(Think Paul McCartney,Suzanne Sommers etc who espoused the era of the sexual rev. and hedonism.)My 2nd marriage is making it against all odds.I was thinking about my coworker who is in a long term marriage and she said when she was walking down the aisle she quelled her nervousness by thinking”Well if it doesn’t work I’ll just get a divorce”.I’ve seen other determined and committed christians who didn’t go the distance.Who can really say why some stay together and some don’t.Some couples have nothing in common and make it work.Some are in long term marriages which are just as unhappy and dysfunctional as what caused others to get out.Some say that communication is the answer.I would venture to say that one person at least in each couple is a person who doesn’t discuss anything.My hubby and I are so opposite that extended discussion only makes things worse and we’ve had to realize how hard it is to change and that lots of things will never change.I think at some point a marriage either works or it doesn’t and all the counseling in the world doesn’t help.

  26. Proverbs 25:26 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.” There will always be a battle against evil as long as we live. We can’t grow weary and just let homosexuals gain tacit approval of their lifestyle by granting them legal status as an asset to society. It won’t just affect their bedroom but the schools, Christian businesses and organizations, and the neighbors down the street. Young boys who are exposed to opportunities in schools will be taught that they are born that way and it’s inevitable that any feelings they might have will prove they are gay. We have to think through the consequences of policies and actions. Homosexuality leads to death and we do well to combat the selfishness that leads to adultery and pornography as well. I think most long married Christian couples are qualified to counsel, be they pastor or not. The question is, will the troubled couple listen to God’s wisdom and act on it? Success of counseling will depend on that. “Unless the Lord builds the house,they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1

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