Marriage is actually a two party affair. It is a union of two separate and complete individuals who decide to come together to start a family. Marriage needs a lot of work to make it work. Those who consciously work on their marriage everyday are usually the ones that end up having better marriages. If you think you will get into marriage and have a cruise, you need to think again. No matter how good the people involved in a marriage are, no matter how matured they are, their marriage will still face challenges. There will always be moments of frustration, despair, anger, disagreements and fights in every marriage no matter how good.
There is not a single marriage anywhere in the whole wide world that is completely free from fights, disagreements, quarrels, arguments and domestic violence. Not all marriages experience domestic violence, but all marriages will definitely experience one or more of the others at some point. These things happen sometimes even when we don’t want them to; and when they do happen, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with us or our spouse. The challenges we have with our spouses are not really the problem but the way we deal with those challenges when they do arise. In our day, it is almost an oddity if you hear of a couple who never get to have disagreements. In fact, when you get married, it is not a matter of will you ever have disagreements; it is a question of when you will get to have those disagreements.
My advice to every couple I have had the opportunity to talk to or counsel is to solve their problems themselves. I simply believe that marriage is for matured people and if you are matured enough to get married, you should be matured enough to handle your own business. While this may be the ideal situation, it seldom is. The truth is that every marriage needs a support system. Every marriage needs at least a reliable and dependable counselor that will help it thrive. It is becoming really difficult today for marriages couples to handle their relationship issues alone.
The strains on marriages today are enormous. Marriages are facing more challenges today than marriages, forty, fifty years ago. The divorce rate today is alarmingly high. Some experts put divorce rate in countries like the USA at an alarming 50%. This trend of rising divorce rate has been observed in almost all cultures, races and religious groups. With all of these challenges that couples today have to contend with, it is imperative that they get people or somebody they can rely on to help guide and counsel them in their marriages. But before couples decide who they let counsel them, there are certain factors they must consider. Everybody doesn’t have to counsel you and you don’t have to go telling everybody you meet the problems you are having with your spouse and marriage. The counsel you get can make all the difference, so you need to be careful. The factors you have to consider are listed below:
This is certainly the least important factor you have to consider when it comes to choosing who counsels you. Yes, it is true that there is no direct correlation between age and wisdom, but there is a correlation between age and experience. You really don’t want to be asking a young, unmarried person advice on how to run your marriage. There may be a few exceptional young and wise people out there who can give you counsel on marriage, but imagine you asking a sixteen year old for advice on how to handle sex issues in your marriage?
Religion is very important in choosing who counsels you because most of us are religious. Each religion has certain practices and values it espouses and most people who are religious have come to accept these things as truth. Because of our religiosity, most people do not want to do what their religion does not teach; so you need to get someone who believes the same thing you believe. One thing I am used to now is clients and people asking me about my religion before they open up to tell me certain things. Imagine that you practice a religion where you are taught that it is wrong to have multiple partners and the person counseling you does not see anything wrong with it?
Culture is also important. Though people are basically the same, there are differences that have set in as a result of the culture we were brought up under. Culture affects so many areas of our life and marriage is one major area where culture has a huge influence. In all cultures, there are certain things that are acceptable and there are things that are not acceptable. Just recently, I had to counsel a couple who had issues based on certain traditional marriage rites. It was a lot easier for me to guide that couple because I was conversant with their marriage customs.
Most people feel comfortable confiding in people they know, some don’t. Familiarity can work to your advantage and then it could also work to your disadvantage. It could be to your advantage because the person may have inside knowledge about what is going on and may know the truth of the matter. It could work to your disadvantage because the person who knows you very well may be biased and may already have a preconceived counsel.
Experience is very important when it comes to choosing who counsels you because experience doesn’t come cheap. Get someone who has been counseling couples with successful outcomes. Go to someone who is married and has gone through the stuff you are dealing with and has made a success of their situation. I recommend you watch that movie, “WAR ROOM.”
When it comes to settling issues between people, especially couples, go to someone who is neutral. Go to someone who really doesn’t know you and is less likely to take sides. Go to someone who will not be swayed by their closeness to you or your spouse.
This is also an important component you have to consider. Make sure that who you consult is someone that will not expose whatever you tell them. Many couples and spouses have been left embarrassed when what they told family, friends and members of their religious organizations about their marriage got leaked to other people. This is the reason you have to get a professional counselor who for ethical reasons will not divulge what you share with them to others.
Sometimes, you and your spouse have to get counseling when it comes to your marriage or relationship. The counseling does not have to be only when you have issues, but also when you have certain concerns or need guidance. You also have to be careful who counsels you because their counsel can make all the world of difference.