I Care... Ministry
Our 5 Messages in the July Month of Marriage
At Mountain Springs Fellowship Bible Church, it is our privilege and desire to offer, by the grace of God, biblical counsel to our community and surrounding areas. We pray and strive to offer encouragement and comfort that is fully conformed to the Word of God, gratefully exalting of Jesus Christ, wholly dependent on His Spirit for change, and graciously loving of one another.
For many people, just making the decision on whether to seek counseling for marriage and family issues is difficult. Once you’ve decided, the next difficulty is finding a qualified counselor who can help you. We believe it is strength, not weakness, to acknowledge the need for help. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
Marriage and Family Counseling is a Service we provide to our community at no cost. While we certainly accept any donations for this ministry, we believe that helping strengthen a family is in accordance to our Purpose as a Church!
At MSFBC, we believe preaching and counseli
Thus, we believe the grace of God in Jesus Christ, the true knowledge of God through His Word, and the power of God delivered by the Holy Spirit are sufficient resources for understanding the human estate and transforming men and women into the image and glory of God. “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:4, italics mine). We define biblical counseling with these truths in mind.
Biblical counseling is a fluid event and process. As part of the Great Commission, one or more theologically and relationally qualified persons provide spiritual, emotional, and behavioral service, comfort, and guidance in love to one or more persons through the truth and power of God’s Word under the ministry of His Holy Spirit.
Often times, we don’t go into a relationship with the tools to manage the challenges, which is where the pros come in. And by pros, I mean a counselor or therapist who can help you learn new ways of relating to your partner.
The question is: when do you know it’s time to consider marriage counseling? Here are some trigger points and behaviors that are signs you may need help.
1. When you aren’t talking. In all honesty, many relationship challenges are simply challenges in communication. A counselor can help facilitate new ways to communicate with each other. Once communication has deteriorated, often it is hard to get it going back in the right direction.
2. When you’re talking, but it’s always negative. Neative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling judged, shamed, disregarded, insecure or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. Negative communication also includes the tone of conversation because it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Negative communication can escalate into emotional abuse as well as non-verbal communication.
3. When you’re afraid to talk. When it’s just too frightening to even bring issues up. This can be anything from sex to money, or even annoying little habits that are being blown out of proportion. A counselor’s job is to help a couple become clear about their issues and to help them understand what they are truly talking about.
4. When affection is withheld as punishment. My client Ann’s ex-husband would get angry over small things and then withhold affection (including giving her the silent treatment). If one partner starts to act as a “parent” or “punisher,” there is a lack of balance in the relationship.
5. When you see your partner as an antagonist. You and your partner are not adversaries; you are on the same team. If it begins to feel as if you are on different sides, then it’s time to seek help.
6. When you keep secrets. Each person in a relationship has a right to privacy, but when you keep secrets from each other, something isn’t right
7. When you contemplate (or are having) an affair. Fantasizing about an affair is a signal that you desire something different from what you currently have. While it is possible for a relationship to survive after one partner has had an affair, it’s prudent to get some help before that happens. If both of you are committed to the therapy process and are being honest, the marriage may be salvaged. At the very least, you may both come to realize that it is healthier for both of you to move on.
8. When you are financially unfaithful. Financial infidelity can be just as -– if not more -– damaging to a relationship than a sexual affair. If one partner keeps his or her spouse in the dark about spending or needs to control everything related to money, then the other should bring up the topic of family finances. It’s not unreasonable to say, “I want to better understand our monthly bills and budget, our debt, how many savings/checking/retirement accounts we have, etc.” If your spouse objects, consult a professional to help work out the conflict.
9. When you feel everything would be OK if he/she would just change. The only person you can change is yourself, so if you’re waiting for him to change, you’re going to be waiting a long time. This is often when I recommend hiring a coach or therapist to better understand who you are and what you want. Then, if challenges continue to persist, reach out to a couple’s counselor to learn better tools for relating to each other.
10. When you’re living separate lives. When couples become more like roommates than a married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling. This does not mean a couple is in trouble just because they don’t do everything together. Rather, if there is a lack of communication, conversation, intimacy or if they feel they just “co-exist,” this may indicate that it’s time to bring in a skilled clinician who can help sort out what is missing and how to get it back.
11. When you argue over the same little things over and over again. Every individual has trigger behaviors — specific things that drive them crazy that wouldn’t bother the majority of other people. This can include issues like laundry, how the dishwasher is loaded and having the same thing for dinner too often. The other partner often doesn’t understand why these fights keep happening and what he or she can do about it. A counselor can help a couple discuss these issues and figure out what the real root of the issue is.
12. When there are ongoing relationship issues. Every relationship has sticking points or those big-ticket arguments that carry over for months without any kind of resolution in sight. This includes differing views on family finances, incompatible sex drives and child rearing philosophies. These challenges feel impossible, but they can be worked out and both partners can reach a reasonable resolution. Counselor help if both parties are committed to understanding the other’s point of view and are willing to find common ground.
Most couples wait too long before seeking help. In truth, you are best served if you seek help sooner rather than later.
Important qualifications in a biblical counselor
Look for someone who:
- can provide evidence of solid biblical and counseling training and experience;
- loves people, perseveres through tough times, and is confident that Jesus works in His people;
- believes that the Bible, God's Word, is sufficient for providing wisdom and direction for dealing with life's issues (2 Peter 1:2-4; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17); and
- gives clear evidence of a personal, passionate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Steps to take
1. Ask God for wisdom to make the right decisions as you seek a biblical counselor. God promises to give you wisdom if you ask in faith (James 1:5-8). As you step out in faith, He will direct your steps to the right counselor (see also Psalm 23, Proverbs 16:3 and Philippians 4:6-9).
2. Seek counsel from your church. The Bible teaches that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs11:14, 15:22, 24:6). If you belong to a church, it is important to seek the counsel of your pastor (Hebrews 13:17), and other church leaders. If you are not established in a Church, or MSFBC, we will certainly be glad to help out in any way you may need.
God has placed your pastor or elder in the local church to give direction and care for the body of Christ, the members of the local church. Your pastor or elder might be able to offer some biblical direction or resources that can meet your needs or help you with the problem you face. One or more of the elders of your church might also be trained in counseling. At the very least, your pastor needs to know the scope of your problem so that he can pray consistently for you and your family.
The pastor is also the first resource to ask about finding a Christian counselor who may be able to assist you beyond their area of training or study. He cares for you; He is responsible to God; He probably knows individuals in the area or state that can serve you well and with integrity.
You might begin talking to mature or trusted believers as well. They may have already spent time with a Christian counselor. If the counselor was able to minister to your friend, then he or she may be worth your prayerful consideration.
If you do not belong to a church, seek the counsel of godly, Bible-believing Christians. They may also have recommendations of godly pastors who can help you. And consider this: One reason many people face problems in their families is because they lack the right biblical information, encouragement, and modeling to help them succeed. Being involved in a local church may be one of the most important steps you take toward resolving the issues you face.
3. Consider whether you need to start with conflict coaching. A competent biblical counselor will help you gain a clear understanding of the biblical and heart issues involved in your problem. In some cases, however, there is such a breakdown in communication between different individuals that no constructive discussion can take place; too often, the conflicts go beyond the ability for couples to sit together and resolve issues that are destroying their relationship, that they won’t listen to constructive counseling about what caused the hurt.
If this is your situation, a trained conflict counselor—a Christian mediator—will help you resolve conflict so that you can move toward productive biblical counseling. The mediation process often reestablishes communication so that a couple can go on to seek counseling for the deep issues or problems that trouble their marriage. For more on conflict coaching, please contact us.
What Does It Cost for counseling?
- MSFBC does not charge for this ministry. We believe that as a Church, we are to minister to the needs of the Saints.
- If you are blessed by this ministry and would like to make a donation , you may do so online or in person during a Church Service on Sunday
I just need a Marriage "Tune Up", is this ministry for me?
- Absolutely! ~ All marriages need a health check and "Tune Up"
- We have many reources to simply strengthen a marriage.
What if my Spouse does not want to be involved?
- Changing hearts and minds begins with ourself, it is common for the husband or wife to initially seek guidance in their relationship.
- The Power of the Spirit God will certainly seek unification (oneness) for both. His timing is perfect and does not always follow our own. Making that call for assistance begins the process of healing.