Why do some couples benefit from marriage therapy while other couples do not? My work has led me to the following conclusions.
The most important factor is a faith-based foundation of the marriage. I have tried to provide therapy to spouses who were not devoted to God; the results were not good. Here’s why:
- A person with little or no faith likely will enter into a marriage with the goal of finding happiness through the relationship. This is an inherent problem. God wants each of us to find joy and peace through Christ; the spouse should be a help to that goal, not a substitute for that goal.
- In marriages not based in faith, typically, one’s own happiness is the top priority. This seems perfectly natural, but God calls us to rise above our nature and to live a life of sacrifice. When I give to a couple the homework assignment, “Each day, find a new way to demonstrate your love for your spouse,” the faithless couple returns and reports to me that they only made a slight effort to do the homework. Why? Because, as they display in our discussions, each spouse is chiefly focused on what he or she isn’t getting from the marriage rather than what he or she isn’t giving to it.
In addition, it is important that the therapist is of the same faith as the clients. I’m reminded of an individual client who came to me for an initial session even though she was already engaged in therapy with another psychologist. She told me that when she asked the other psychologist whether she and he could incorporate spirituality into their work together, he had replied, “We can talk about religion some if you want, but I don’t want it to get in the way of our work.” In the way? If your spirituality has the importance that it should have in your life, you don’t attempt anything without it; and you certainly can’t expect to improve your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without it.
To explore the opportunities to participate in online therapy in our practice or to explore the opportunities to attend our Marriage Bread workshop, please visit our website at www.crosswalknow.com, call our office at 334-744-3694, or email us at email@example.com.
-Dr. Thomas Maple
Dr. Maple is an Alabama-licensed psychologist and the founder of Crosswalk Psychological Services, LLC. His clinical background includes work in private practice and in university clinics. Born and raised in the Birmingham area, he resides in Auburn with his wife and his two daughters.