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Apr/10

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Six Key Ingredients for Solving Problems in Christian Marriages

There are certain key ingredients to an effective plan to help Christian couples solve any marital problem. In this article, we will briefly introduce each of these ingredients. Beyond that, a couple may find it beneficial to spend time with a Christian marriage therapist.

First of all, the husband and wife need to respect the viewpoint of the other. Two people will not see everything just alike and that is okay. Couples need to be able to disagree with each other without being disagreeable. It is not a matter of complete agreement on all things but rather acceptance of the other person. Without such implicit acceptance, the couple can become involved in manipulations of each other and a battle for power in the relationship. This in turn creates feelings of frustration and even anger.

Number two, it is extremely helpful if a couple can quickly get to the real problem. This is an area where a Christian counselor can be helpful – and it sometimes requires a number of sessions with a counselor before the real problem is identified. If the husband and / or wife focuses instead on related symptoms of the problem, then any resolution to the conflict will be delayed.

Three, Christian couples need to learn how to effectively communicate to each other what they are feeling. If done wrongly that expression of feelings can do more harm than good. It is very easy when a person is hurt to lash out and say angry hurtful things to their mate. This will cause their mate to react to the criticisms, accusations, or general angry comments in like manner.

The old advice is “it not what you say but how you say it” is good advice for how Christian husbands and wives should express their emotions to each other. Too often, couples began their statements to each other using the word “you.” And it may be even pointing a finger at the other person in an accusatory way.

It is better to begin a statement with the word “I” and simply express how one is feeling. In doing so, a person is still able to offer a complaint about something, but instead of immediately going into an attack against their partner, they tell them how that makes them feel. Said that way, the other person is less likely to react in a negative fashion.

Fourth, a Christian marriage in conflict needs to evaluate a number of possible solutions to the problem. Marriage counselors will sometimes suggest that the couple actually write down possible solutions on a piece of paper and then discuss each of them. Simply doing that can provide the couple with a level of confidence that there are ways to deal with the problem. This directs the minds of the couple toward solutions rather than continuing to rehash the problem.

Fifth, sufficient time must be given to dealing with the relationship problem. And not only enough time but also the work should be done at the best time. Trying to work out a problem at the end of a long work day for both the husband and wife is usually not the best time. When people are tired it is a lot easier to get into an argument. It is better to find a time when both are reasonably rested and have enough time to focus adequately on the conflict. If either the husband or the wife becomes overly emotional or has intense feelings of anger, it is best to halt the discussion and come back to it at a later time when things have calmed down.

You have heard the expression “I was so angry I could not think straight.” And that is literally true. When a person reaches a certain level of anger it is impossible for them to think straight. When couples are that angry, they will say and do things that they would not ordinarily do.

Lastly, couples need to be patient with themselves and each other. If there were a simple solution to every problem then there would be no problems. The truth is that relationships are complex and it takes time and commitment to continue to learn and grow in the relationship.

A mature couple will understand that and that will reduce their impatience with each other. The wise couple takes the viewpoint that while they have differences they are on the same side and are committed to making their marriage not only work but be a happy one.

If a married couple continues to be stuck in a relationship problem no matter what they do, it is advisable that they seek out a Christian counselor who specializes in marital problems.

If a couple is unable to find a local marriage counselor that is affordable, then there are some other options to consider. One is that there are a number of online Christian counselors who can provide e-mail and or phone assistance. Because the counselor does not have the overhead expenses of an office they are able to offer more affordable Christian counseling services.

If you prefer and believe it would be beneficial to have face-to-face marriage counseling, then don’t give up on finding someone who could help nearby who is in your price range. Many larger churches now have Christian counseling centers staffed with licensed marriage therapists. The fees for their counseling services are often based on a scale related to one’s income. Do some searching online or in your local Yellow Pages to see if there are some of these services in your local area.

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