Redeemer Counseling Newsletter
Cultivating Connection Between Couples
People enter into marriage with expectations of what marriage should be like: how they should be loved, what kind of life they share together, what a husband or wife should be, how they should spend time together, how they will manage their money, relate to extended family, celebrate birthdays, and on and on. Many times these expectations are unspoken and sometimes unconscious. As more and more differences surface clashing against their expectations, they become disappointed and may begin to wonder why their spouse is this way or that way.
Often these disappointments are related to differences in personality, values, habits, and beliefs formed in their life stories. So, differences are to be expected, but they don't necessarily have to lead to conflicts. Conflicts happen when the differences are judged. And these judgements are not about the differences, but against the spouse because their actions/inactions have triggered past hurts that convey something about them that is extremely painful, such as “You are worthless, unlovable or not good enough.” Behind every disappointment, frustration or complaint, there is a desire that is unmet.
In counseling, it is important for the couple to understand the progression of their relational disconnection, but more importantly, they need to know how to nurture their marriage toward deeper intimacy, where they can feel safe and be vulnerable with one another. Then, the marriage can be an effective context for God’s healing and refining work.
This month's tool, Practice Making Requests, can be used to help couples proactively engage in strengthening their oneness. This tool will highlight the importance of helping couples become more aware of the subconscious hurts and beliefs about the self that trigger their reactions, gradually eroding their sense of connection. It will also provide practical steps you can use to help couples create opportunities to minister to one another, which will not only help minimize and manage conflicts, but grow in knowing and feeling closer to one another.
Judy Cha, PhD, LMFT
Director of Redeemer Counseling Services
Training Resource: Pastoral Training for Marriage Counseling
Along with this month's tool, if you would like to learn more about how to counsel married couples, this training will help you to:
- Learn how the Gospel can be central in marriage counseling
- Avoid getting stuck when working with couples
- Gain practical tools to use in marriage counseling