Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Let’s Talk About the Pros and Cons of Online Dating for Christians

It is amazing to see how the online dating world has quickly embraced Christian dating with so much of excitement. The virtual online meeting place offered by the dating community all over the world  has naturally evolved  as a perfect setting to meet like-minded individuals, and helped to embark upon a happy and rewarding relationship between Christian singles .

The good part about online dating is that many obstacles to your initial nervousness get removed and the online process itself helps surpass  the barrier of “breaking the ice’ between two people who come in contact online. In short the setup,  your initial teething problems, extra time, and friends chatter get automatically removed. But despite this, don’t make the mistake of thinking that online dating for Christians can be easy. Read the rest of this entry »

Premarital Preparation

So many couples spend countless hours making the necessary reparations for their wedding. And there are a million things to do. But often in the busyness of the wedding preparations the marriage itself is forgotten.It is important to make proper preparations for the wedding itself but it is vital to make the proper preparations for the marriage relationship.

When you think about it the wedding is really about the marriage. It is not about having a great party. The wedding is very important and should be a great celebration. But it is a celebration of the commitment that a man and woman are making to each other in becoming husband-and-wife for lifetime.

There seems to be no end to the books, magazines, and websites with information about weddings. But far too little information available for newly engaged couples. The good news is that there are good premarital preparation resources available, you may just have to look a little harder to find him.

Maybe one of the reasons that people avoid involving themselves in marital preparation is that they are afraid it will be a lot of hard work. And with everything else they’ve got going on in terms of the wedding and just day-to-day life, they may not feel like they have the time or energy for pre-marriage preparation.

But did you know that there is even a marriage preparation course online? It is called the at-home marriage preparation course. It is designed to be used primarily by the couple on their own. It does not require a lot of reading and study. And though there is a time and a place for doing that, this particular course contains marriage preparation exercises which get the couple engaged with each other in conversations about key areas within their relationship.

People learn best when they are involved in the learning process. If a person simply sits and listens to a presentation about marriage or even listens to the advice of a marriage counselor, not much of it is likely to be remembered and make an impact on the marriage. It is when couples are actively involved in discovering things about themselves and about their partners – and working through any differences that true growth takes place.

There is a role for different kinds of marriage preparation. A Christian counselor or a licensed marriage therapist can be of great help to a couple. Maybe for instance the couple is getting hung up on a particular relationship issue and need some help in knowing how to work through it successfully.

A trained third-party can offer observations and even teach skills of communication to help the couple work toward solutions. There are also marriage seminars, marriage books, and church marriage classes that can all be of great benefit to a couple entering marriage.

It is good advice to any couple getting ready to be married to do as much as they can and utilize as many marriage preparation resources as they possibly can. And once the marriage has started, that does not mean that the learning should come to a stop. The relationship will continue to grow or it will stagnate and then eventually go backwards. It is important that a couple continues to avail themselves of marriage building materials.

Why Do Christian Marriages Have Conflicts?

It is not true that good Christian marriages never had any conflicts. The fact is every marriage has problems including those where the husband and wife are both Christians. Being a Christian does not inoculate one from the conflicts that all people have.

It is important that Christians recognize that because if they believe that they shouldn’t have the same problems as others have they might become discouraged and believe that they and their marriage is a failure.

Every relationship has conflicts. And that certainly is true of the marriage relationship sets it is the most intimate of all relationships. Christian couples do experience conflict. They get annoyed at each other. They argue with each other. But the difference between those marriages that thrive and those that struggle is that the successful marriages find a way to work through their problems. Some find the need to seek out free Christian counseling.

They do not allow their differences to become destructive and to be so hurtful toward each other that it is practically impossible for the relationship to recover. In an ironic way conflict can end up strengthening a relationship. Once a couple has resolved a conflict they often are more in love with each other than ever before. And they have a new found confidence that they will be able to resolve any difficulties that they may face in the years ahead.

It can be helpful to understand what the sources of conflict in a Christian marriage are. Interestingly, one of the chief causes of marital conflict is intimacy. The husband and wife spend more time with each other than they do with anyone else. That creates more opportunities for conflict. And because the couple is so used to each other it is easier for them to disagree with each other. Compare that poor example to how hard or easy it would be to disagree with your employer. You probably would not be so easily inclined to argue with your boss. But because you know your husband or wife so well there is not that same hesitancy.

Another reason that Christian husbands and wives get into arguments is because of basic differences between them. After all one is male and the other is female. That is enough difference right there to explain many marital disagreements. But beyond that individuals have different personalities and temperaments. Their family of origins are different. For example, the husband might come from a family that was very close to each other. The wife of the other hand might come from a family that was disengaged from each other. Those family experiences are what make people different and can lead to conflicts.

A third reason that conflict sometimes arises in a marriage is that one person tries to change the other. There was a great piece of advice given by a divorced woman. She would say to a groom, don’t marry her if you don’t love her the way she is. Or to the bride she would say don’t marry him if you don’t love him the way he is. People do change but that change usually comes from inside. And if someone else tries to change them, like their husband or wife, they can become resentful and angry. It suggest to them that their mate is not happy with them as they are which leads to sadness, which leads to hurt, which leads to anger, which leads to defensiveness, which leads to arguments.

A fourth thing that can cause arguments is fatigue. Tiredness is the underlying cause of many heated arguments. These are the stupid arguments that couples have. They may not seem stupid at the time but when they look back on them they realize how foolish and unnecessary they were. It is important for a couple to recognize the emotional and physical state that they are in. In doing so they may be able to avoid some potential trouble.

A final reason mentioned in this article that is a source of fights in a Christian marriage has to do with differing roles and expectations. Again this can relate to family of origin issues. What dad did and what mom did creates one’s expectation for what they will do and their partner will do in their marriage relationship. So if a husbands dad worked outside the home, mowed the grass, and took care of all the cars for instance. And his mother never worked outside the home but was happy to be a homemaker then he might expect his wife to do the same. But his wife’s growing up experience and what she’s all modeled in her mother might have been very different. It does not take a genius to see how such differing expectations and desires would lead to some intense discussions to say the least.

In today’s cultural climate there are probably more challenges to marriages and higher expectations of a marriage than their have ever been before. It is a good thing that coinciding with that today there are more marriage resources available to help couples than at any other time in history. You can even find Christian counseling help online. If the marriage problems are more serious and have been around for some time it would probably be best to seek out local Christian counseling services.

How to Find Good Christian Counseling Services

If you are looking for Christian counseling services, you are doing so because you believe that there is an inherent value in Biblical counseling. You want a Christian counselor because you want the person who is seeking to help you to believe in the value of the Scriptures in helping people overcome their problems.

Christian people have the same problems that anyone else has. Being a Christian does not make you immune to facing life’s challenges. Christians and Christian families deal with addictions and substance abuse, mental health problems, financial debt, depression, and any other counseling issue that people have.

While a secular counselor may be able to provide assistance, they may not have the same values as a Christian and do not believe or rely upon biblical insights and offering directives to the person who is seeking help.

When going to a Christian counseling Center a person would expect the counselors found there to include in the helping process prayer, faith, and teachings from the Bible. And further they would not need to worry that the counselor would suggest to them doing anything that is contrary to the principles found within the Bible.

Seeking Christian counseling does not mean that the person wants simplistic or pat answers to complex problems. And they likely recognize that they can benefit from someone who is familiar with various counseling theories.

They just don’t want anyone to offer any kind of help that conflicts with their values as a Christian. And they do want someone who is able to offer spiritual guidance as well. In other words they want the best of both worlds. That is to benefit from the understandings of the human mind and behavior from secular research and to gain strength and power from religious faith.

Specifically what kind of Christian counseling are you looking for? One of the benefits of modern specialization is that you can find Christian counseling centers that focus on particular problems that people face. For instance, there are family Christian counseling centers. Here you can find Christian marriage counselors.

They are counselors who can assist families and marriages in crisis. They do Christian couples counseling. They do premarital Christian counseling. They do Christian debt counseling. They do Christian substance abuse counseling. They do Christian anger counseling. They do Christian singles counseling. Again, what ever problem Christians might experience and their families that anyone else experiences whether Christian or not, a good Christian counseling Center will have someone professionally trained to help.

Where do you find Christian counseling centers? Some of them are stand-alone entities. You could find one in your city by checking your local Yellow Pages or doing some searches online. Also many large churches now have counseling centers. If your church is a smaller church and does not have one you could begin by asking the minister at your congregation for some suggestions of churches with counseling centers nearby.

Many of these church counseling centers have several counselors on staff. Most often they do meet the state’s licensing sing requirements for doing professional counseling. But you would want to do your due diligence and researching the experience, reputation, and qualifications of the counselor. You might want to know for example if the counselor you are speaking with God to bear Christian counseling degree online. That might be okay, you just want to know.

With a larger Christian counseling Center with multiple counselors on staff it is likely that each one of the counselors specializes in one or more areas. For instance, one of the counselors may help families facing a sudden crisis. Another may focus on marriage preparation for an engaged couples. Another may specialize in Christian mental health issues.

How much does Christian counseling cost? There is no simple answer to that question. It can vary even depending on the part of the country that you live in. There can also be a difference between the counseling fees that a standalone Christian counseling Center charges and what a local church might charge. The reason for this is because the services that the churches offer are in effect subsidized by the church.

One thing that you can check into it is to find out if the counseling center has a sliding scale arrangement for their counseling fees. This means that the cost of Christian counseling sessions can be dependent on your income. Obviously you would be asked to show proof of your weekly or monthly income. You may even be able to find free Christian counseling services.

An alternative to actually visiting in person with a Christian counselor is to look into online Christian counseling. The Internet has certainly changed our world in many respects. Not all of them good. But on the positive side it has made available resources to people who might not otherwise be able to avail themselves of those resources.

There are a number of reasons why you might consider Christian Internet counseling. One is cost. Someone offering Christian counseling services online does not have the overhead expenses that someone with a bricks and mortar counseling business has. And for that reason does not have to charge as much.

Getting help online might also be beneficial to those who do not live near a city that has any or very much in the way of counseling help.

When you do seek Christian counseling online you typically have several options including the use of communication through e-mail, phone counseling, and even video counseling.
As with any kind of counseling help that you seek it is important that you do your research and know exactly who it is that is helping you and how they can help you.

Christian Online Counseling

People are doing things online these days that only a few back would be thought a bit strange to say the least. One of those things is counseling. And there are those who are particularly looking for Christian online counseling.

Christian counseling itself is unique from counseling in general. Those seeking it believe in the Christian message and that its principles can give them help that they could get in no other way. And the Christian counselor believes much the same and draws on the Christian faith in giving the help seeking person directives for their lives.

This has been done on a face to face basis for generations but now with all the technology there other avenues being used including counseling by telephone, email and video conferences. It’s not for everybody and not for every kind of problem. There are serious problems that require more immediate and personal intervention. But there is a time and place for online Christian counseling.

In this article we’ll suggest advantages and disadvantages of using online counseling services.

First some advantages.

Some problems are embarrassing or for one reason or another hard for a person to open up and talk about in front of someone else. You do maintain a bit of anonymity through counseling online. You may find it easier to open up and say more than if you were physically present with a counselor.

Second, it is a time saver. One hindrance to people getting counseling help can be in just finding the time to go. You’ve got to drive to the counselor’s office and perhaps wait for your appointment. This can be very time consuming. Time that you could be using writing emails and going over them thinking carefully about what you want to say to express the problem you are having. And the writing of these emails themselves can be therapeutic and part of the growing/learning process.

A third benefit of this approach to counseling is that you may have more choices of counselors online than you do in your own home city. Especially in you live in a smaller town, you may not have many choices of local counselors. Nor do you want the gossip mill to begin that you are seeing a counselor.

But what about possible disadvantages? These are important and should be taken into consideration.

A good counselor is trained to take into consideration non-verbals from the counselee. Obviously this isn’t possible with communications over the Internet and even video interactions are not as good as being in the same room with another person. It may take more time then in the give and take in questions and answers to get to the bottom of things.

There is also the privacy issue. While protections and safeguards can be used I suppose there is no absolute guarantee that online communications could never become known to someone else. You might want to discuss this with any online counselor can you talk with. They should know some of the ins and outs of maintaining privacy.

And third, some problems just shouldn’t be handled online. They are serious enough and immediate enough that a person should seek local professional counseling help as soon as possible.

All said and done there is a place for Christian online counseling and it’s up to you to determine if it is the right thing for you do to.

Free Christian Counseling

If you are looking for free Christian counseling you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it. And there is no shame in looking for help. Everyone, that is everyone needs help at some point in their life. As Scott Peck stated in the beginning of his book The Road Less Traveled, life is tough.

Fortunately, there are Christian people who recognize this and growing out of their compassion as Christians are eager to help.

Here are just some of the problems people look for Christian counseling services.

Divorce. While the divorce rate has declined some it is still high. And it affects people who never thought it would. It is one of the most difficult and painful things that a person can go through. When divorce can’t be prevented through free marriage counseling, the divorced may very well need counseling help to get through the transitions they must go through.

Pornography. This is an addiction that is taking over more and more lives. With the easy availability and anonymity of the internet, it is far too easy for people to become entrapped and it often ruins their lives and disrupts their families.

Personal bankruptcy. In these days of financial crises more people (and those who never thought it would happen to them) are dealing with the loss of jobs and sometimes their homes. These financial problems may be beyond a person’s control. Other times people bring financial ruin on themselves through poor money management. In that case, free Christian financial counseling could be helpful.

Grief. Losing a loved one can turn a person’s world upside down. People who are grieving often think they are going crazy and that their reactions are somehow abnormal. A good counselor can help the grieving person understand that grief is a process and what they are going through is normal and typical.

Failing health. A person may have been very healthy all their life and then suddenly find themselves facing a serious illness. Another person may be facing a chronic illness, one that simply is with them everyday of their life. If nothing else, counseling may allow such a person to talk about their feelings and that in itself can be helpful.

Depression. This may be related to some of the issues already outlined here. The tough things that happen in a person’s life can get them down to the point where they cannot function in a healthy way.

On and on the list could go but the point has been made. Everyone struggles with problems and sometimes need some outside help. Counseling with a licensed therapist may be needed but for some the cost is prohibitive.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are looking for free christian counseling.

It is assumed that you are looking for a Christian counselor because you believe they believe some things that are vital to getting good help. You believe that they are helping you primarily because of their Christian commitment to help others. You believe that they have personal faith that will influence any directives that they are offer you. You believe that such a counselor would not suggest you do anything that was wrong or harmful to yourself or others.

You should realize that some Christian counselors are licensed therapists and other who may offer counseling help are not. So you should probably make a distinction between a Christian counselor therapist and just a Christian who offers counseling help. The later may have years of experience and some formal training however. Just be sure you know what you are looking for and what you get.

It will easier to get free help from a non-licensed therapist. Many ministers serve such a role or others in a local church that have heart for helping others. You could begin at your own church or if you don’t have one, or it is too small, you could ask around your friends and family members about any services at their church.

Many churches these days, especially the larger ones, do have licensed Christian therapists on staff. Some even have a entire counselor center with a number of counselors to choose from. Sometimes services may be free or at least on a sliding scale related to the counselee’s income level.

You should also know that not all Christian counselors will take the same approach. Some rely more heavily on Scripture in counseling while others may rely more on counseling theory and principles. A balance between the two would likely be best in many cases but again you just want to know which you are getting and that you comfortable with that approach.

Finally, while there are more and more online counseling services begin offered, including online Christian counseling, there are distinct advantages to doing it face to face. Some of the helping skills that a trained counselor has are related directly to being in the same space.

However, if that is not possible right now for whatever reason, don’t rule looking for help online. It could at least be a starting place from which if needed you could move onto to more direct and personal help. You may begin with free Christian phone counseling as a way of easing into to opening up on a difficult or embarrassing problem you are facing.

This is true as well for free premarital counseling. There are online marriage prep courses that you can use and let them help you identify key areas in your relationship so that when you go see a counselor you can focus on those issue.

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