Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling, Part 3: The Counselor’s Moral Neutrality

By “moral neutrality,” I am referring to the counselor’s neutrality when it comes to marriage and divorce. Because they do not hold the sanctity and permanence of marriage as a core belief, they do not see it as their responsibility to hold their clients to that belief.

Instead, they declare, “I will respect the couple’s belief about the sacredness of marriage. However, if the couple talks in terms of divorce and has what I would consider to be irreconcilable differences of opinion, why beat a dead horse?”

Three Reasons Some Counselors are Bad at Marriage Counseling

Malachi and Jesus

Though a counselor may be morally neutral on divorce, God Himself is not: “‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel . . .” (Malachi 2:16).

Jesus reflected this. “‘And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry’” (Matthew 19:9–10). To Jesus marriage is permanent except for in cases of adultery. The disciples heard Him loud and clear, so much so that they concluded if one cannot get out of the marriage then one should not get married in the first place!

Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling, Part 2: The Counselor’s Bias Against Males

Did you miss part 1 of this post? Check it out HERE

I once met with one hundred professionals in Pennsylvania and asked the question: “If I could show you how to get men to line up outside your counseling doors, would you be interested?”

I could feel the electricity in the room. These professionals sat forward in their chairs awaiting my answer that could assist them. They recognized the challenge of counseling men.

Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling

Most Women Value a Counselor’s Support, While Men Stay More Independent
Most professionals recognize that the majority of their clients are women. Most women seek emotional and social support, want to talk about their burdens, and welcome input on what they should do. This is a wonderful quality that women have, whether in their personal circles or when seeking professional help.

Most men, on the other hand, prefer to be independent, not talk about their emotions, and try to figure out solutions on their own. This does not make men wrong, just different. However, because they tend to feel uncomfortable and even resist the counseling environment, counselors do not favor men as they do the warm and responsive women. As objective as counselors seek to be, at the end of the day they are human beings who do not appreciate what they perceive to be opposition from many men to the counseling process.

Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling — Part 1

Pam and Bob, a fictitious couple but very representative of the many couples I have heard from, turned to a counselor for help in their marriage, but after five unproductive sessions the therapist recommended divorce. In shock Pam said on behalf of both of them:

The reason we went to the counselor was to help our marriage. Just because we got really mad at each other during the sessions and totally blamed the other and totally justified ourselves didn’t mean we wanted to end the marriage. That’s why we went for counsel! And, yes, I played the victim and sought sympathy more than Bob, who didn’t go to the third session because he was so ticked at me and the counselor, but we didn’t expect the counselor to throw in the towel for us. How could this therapist miss the whole reason we made the appointments? Fortunately for us, this served as a wake-up call for Bob and me. We told each other that divorce wasn’t an option, only murder. We both started laughing. We then found a counselor who believed in “until death do you part” (which may come soon for Bob, in my opinion). This counselor has been helping us since he sees through our tricks and “poor me” tactics yet respects both of us and has given us the confidence we can succeed.

Unfortunately, what Pam and Bob encountered with their first marriage counselor happens more than we wish to acknowledge.

Three Reasons Some Counselors Are Bad at Marriage Counseling

A Concern Among Experts

Do not get me wrong. My son Jonathan is a clinical psychologist, so I believe in competent counselors.

However, years ago Dr. Bill Doherty wrote an article entitled “How Therapy Can Be Hazardous to Your Marital Health.” His credibility as a professor at the University of Minnesota who trains marriage and family therapists got my attention. He warned couples about the downside of bad therapy: “You’d be interested to know that, according to a national survey, 80 percent of all private practice therapists in the United States say they do marital therapy. And only 12 percent of them are in a profession that requires even one course or any supervised experience. Only marriage and family therapy as a profession requires any coursework or supervised clinical experience in marital or couples therapy. So most people who say they’re doing this work picked it up on the side or not at all.”

I do not have statistics to support all of my concerns, but might I say, “Buyer beware,” to anyone seeking out marital counseling from a secular professional.

Specifically, I have three distinct concerns toward even the most good willed therapists:

1) the counselor’s individualistic approach

2) the counselor’s bias against males

3) the counselor’s moral neutrality concerning divorce.

What Does Regularly Playing the Lotto Do to the Soul? — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 080

In this week’s episode Emerson and Jonathan discuss a number of issues pertaining to playing the lotto and money.  Here are some of the topics: two types of people who buy lotto tickets; the addicted poor; lovers of money or lovers of God; wandering from the faith; and what are people’s true beliefs.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE and on Stitcher HERE.

Episode 080 - What Does Regularly Playing the Lotto Do to the Soul

What Every Son Needs From His Mother

As I’ve traveled the world over the last two decades exploring the dynamic of healthy family relationships, one thing has become abundantly clear:

A boy needs his mother’s respect.

What Every Son Needs From His Mother

Not only her love, but also her respect. That’s the message of my upcoming book, Mother & Son: The Respect Effect, and I believe that it will transform your relationship with your son in ways you’ve only dreamed about. It won’t be because of my writing. In fact, I’ll try hard not to get in the way. It will be because the principle is life-changing in its simplicity, and it cuts straight to the deepest part of a boy’s soul.

When it comes to respect between a mother and son, the point that most make is that a mother needs her son’s respect. And to this point, I wholeheartedly agree. A boy does need to be respectful. In fact, I wrote a whole book about a father and mother needing the respect of their children called Love and Respect in the Family.

True or False? “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature; Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how during the winter He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman’s. . . . Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and placable always . . . he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, courageous; Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England, Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles Standish!”

Miles Standish “was kindly.”

True or False- “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.”

Is it true that what is wanted in a person is for this individual to be friendly, generous, and considerate? Yes. Proverbs 19:22 states, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.”

Why is kindness such a desirable trait? Because people know that others will respond to a kind individual. Kindness motivates people to act. Publilius Syrus said, “You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.”

True or False: What Is Desirable In A Man Is His Kindness? — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 079

Is it true that what is wanted in a person is for this individual to be friendly, generous, and considerate? Yes. Proverbs 19:22 states, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness.” Why is this a desirable trait? People know they will respond to a kind individual. Kindness motivates people to act. Join Emerson and Jonathan this week as they discuss the topic of kindness.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE and on Stitcher HERE.

Read the transcript HERE.

Episode 079 - True or False - What Is Desirable In A Man Is His Kindness

9 Ways To Fuel A Disagreement Into A Feud — Part 2

In part 1, we discussed the first four surefire ways to fuel disagreements into a feud. Most likely, one or even all of them hit a little too close to home for you, and you recognized ways in which you have been guilty of doing such. Here in part 2 we have five more ways to add to our list of how best to take a simple disagreement with your spouse and turn it into an all-out feud.

9 Ways to Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud

5. Broadcast the problem.

Tell your family and friends how unloving or disrespectful your spouse is. Tell your side of the story alone, and if you do represent their side of the story make sure it looks bad. Bolster the good you did, and do not relay the bad you did, except if that makes you look humble and honest as you confess a few little things you did that was wrong in reaction to what your spouse caused in the first place. Remember, most people will agree to the first side they listen to, so have at it. Try to discredit your partner so people will empathize with you. Then, when your spouse finds out the extent to which you badmouthed them and misrepresented them, that will ignite the stick of dynamite between the two of you.

9 Ways to Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud — Part 1

Husbands and wives will not always agree with each other. There will often be differences of opinion and even differing convictions on issues that matter to one or both. Two people can be at odds with each other about what church to attend, private school versus public school, whether to spend or save money, whose parents to spend Christmas morning with, how to discipline the children, how often to have sex, the extent to which they should talk about their feelings about the relationship, and the list goes on.

Over time, two people can hurt, frustrate, confuse, and anger each other, to the point where the wife is feeling unloved and the husband disrespected, contradictory to what is commanded in Ephesians 5:33.

9 Ways to Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud

She feels that her differing opinion and convictions do not matter to him as much as his own ideas matter. Or, he feels that his differing outlook and beliefs have little importance to her compared to how she feels about her views.

When we begin to feel that our ideas do not matter and that we do not matter on the heels of another disagreement, we must guard against the nine ways to fuel this disagreement into a feud.

What Does Regularly Playing the Lotto Do to the Soul?

What would it be like to win $1.5 billion in the lotto and end up taking home over $930 million after taxes? This week Powerball  reached that amount.

TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE BUY LOTTO TICKETS

On the one hand there are those who exclaim, “Wow, I would love to win! I will buy a ticket! I have done this a couple times before over the years. The odds are against me, which is why I never play. It is more likely that I will get hit by lightning two times than win. I have 1 in 292,000,000 odds against me! Yet, I have some discretionary cash and, besides, somebody will win, so why not me? You have to be ‘in it to win it’! It will be fun, like in the office when we make a wager on who will win the football game.”

On the other hand there are those who slavishly enter week after week no matter what. They regularly set aside money from each paycheck to play the lotto. They have allowed themselves to be obsessed with the fantasy of what they will do when they win the lotto. They dream about it. They are a consumer consumed.

Does this person really exist?

What Does Regularly Playing the Lotto Do to the Soul-

Research from Derek Thompson of The Atlantic about the amount spent on the lotto would imply that, yes, there are more consumers like these than we may realize: “People spent more money playing the lottery last year than on books, video games, and tickets for movies and sporting events combined. . . . Americans in the 43 states where lotteries are legal spent $70 billion on lotto games in 2014. . . . That’s . . . $300 for each adult.”

$70 billion!

Losing Makes Us a Winner! How To Be Resolute — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 078

From third grade to eighth grade Emerson was overweight. He wore Husky pants. His legs rubbed together when he ran. His belly hung over the front of his pants. Sometimes people called him “fatty.” He would often cry. The Bible says, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7–8). Join Emerson and Jonathan this week as they talk about being resolute in the new year.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE and on Stitcher HERE.

Losing Makes Us a Winner- How To Be Resolute

What’s the Point In Trusting God When Life Gets Worse?

Joni Eareckson breaks her neck as a teenager but as a quadriplegic she entrusts herself fully to Christ. She makes herself available to the Lord for His purposes, launching a ministry called Joni and Friends.

On the other hand, another person in a similar diving accident turns bitter toward God and everyone else. For decades this person remains wheelchair bound with no real friends.

What’s the Point In Trusting God When Life Gets Worse?

All of us know the story of Job. Having lost everything of value, including his children, he chooses to bless God in the face of his immeasurable suffering and lack of understanding (Job 1:21,22).

However, we may not know of Job’s wife. She too lost her children, and during this time she tells Job to curse God. The posture of her soul is revealed in her counsel to Job. She tells him to curse God since she had been cursing God (Job 2:9,10). The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Three Questions to Filter Your Words With

A filter is any device that removes unwanted material. For example, an oil filter for a car lets the good oil pass through while blocking the crud and removing impurities. The muck and guck are detrimental to the engine and undermine the effectiveness of the motor.

Some of us need a filter on our speech when we communicate. When we lack a filter we undermine our effectiveness in communicating with people, whether those are family and friends, coworkers and neighbors, or acquaintances and strangers.

Three Questions To Filter Your Words With

What is this filter? It consists of asking three questions before communicating in person, over the phone, or in writing.

  – Is that which I’m about to say true?

  – Is it kind?

  – Is it necessary?

When we do not ask these three questions, we oftentimes end up saying something that is untrue, unkind, or unnecessary. This is comparable to letting the muck and guck pass with no filter.

9 Ways To Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud — Love and Respect Podcast Ep. 077

Over time, two people can hurt, frustrate, confuse, and anger the other. She feels that her differing opinion and convictions do not matter to him as much as his own ideas matter. Or, he feels that his differing outlook and beliefs have little importance to her compared to how she feels about her views. Join Emerson and Jonathan this week as they discuss how individuals begin to feel that their ideas do not matter and that they do not matter on the heels of another disagreement, but how they must guard against the 9 Ways to Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud.

Listen to the podcast HERE. Access it on iTunes HERE and on Stitcher HERE.

Episode 077 - 9 Ways To Fuel Disagreements Into a Feud