Not a Marriage Counselor
By Carlos Santiago
There was nothing left to do but wait for the doorbell to ring. But as we waited, my wife’s eyes filled with uncertainty.
“I’m not a counselor,” she said.
Our pastor had asked us to meet with a new couple from church. Their marriage was in trouble, and he thought we could help. Our stories were similar, but I didn’t have a clue what we were supposed to do.
Maybe a marriage you care about is swimming against a riptide and you feel unequipped to help. That’s ok. Our job is not to fix people’s problems. Our job is to help people connect with the One who can.
If you find yourself sitting across the room from a marriage in trouble, try the following.
It’s easy to observe a marriage from afar and assume we know what’s happening. But people’s lives are seldom that simple. We must listen well.
2. Pick the right side.
You’re naturally going to want to side with one or the other. But even if you can relate better to the pain one spouse is experiencing, you must make it clear: You’re on the side of their marriage.
3. Never lose hope.
The problems you encounter probably won’t evaporate in an hour over coffee. They may even seem hopeless. But no matter how big their problems seem, God is bigger. Your sincere belief in their ability to pull through can help them hold on for one more day.
It turned out our pastor knew what he was doing when he set up our meeting with that couple. We didn’t have all the answers, but we were able to listen, offer a shoulder to cry on, and point them to the God who has helped us in our own marriage more times than I can count.
The Good Stuff: His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Action Points: Is there another couple God is calling you to help? Discuss your feelings with your spouse. Is there something in your own marriage you feel this couple could benefit from?
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