You Need Counseling From Clergy and a Shrink for Marriage These Days


MarriageThere’s a checklist of things to get on one page about before you get hitched: financial, household, personal, and, of course, emotional and spiritual stuff. It’s not just about standing up to take some vows and having 24-hour access to each other. You have to be shored up and prepared for a lifetime together.

Back in the day, it was almost intuitive for married and wannabe married folks to enlist the sole wisdom of their religious leader when their relationship needed guidance, mediation, healing, or rescue from the dismal “D” word. But modern couples would be wise to get the advisement of both a licensed therapist and their pastor, rabbi, imam, or priest to smooth out the bumps in their road to happily ever after.

Prayer is wonderful, but sometimes you need a professional head shrinker to get to the root of your issues.

During the course of a marriage, you become different people and keep growing into who you are — complete with family, bills, and lots o’ stress — and sometimes all of the changes can make just asking your spouse to pass the potatoes at dinner ammunition for an argument. The one-two punch of spiritual and psychological bolsters the couple up on all sides.

On the one hand, they have the guidance of a leader from their faith to keep them in the good graces of their religious doctrines, and on the other, they’ve got somebody to help them iron out the weirdo mental stuff that might drive each other crazy or drive one another away. Spiritual counselors, although they’re experts on what the Bible or the Talmud say, for example, are limited because their training is based solely on the rules and regulations set up by the faith.

But most folks don’t just need the principles of religion — they also need to learn how to problem solve, how to negotiate, how to listen, how to handle anger, how to stay present and focused, how to give and let go. Besides that, relying solely on their beliefs can be dangerously archaic when you weigh them against the needs of a modern-day couple with so much flying at them from every side.

Because I come from the church, I’ve seen the “Jesus is all we need” approach and roundly decided, if I should ever get married, that old-school pastoral counseling isn’t enough for me and mine. In some circles, it’s grossly outdated. And even though spirituality is the lifeblood of real relationship progress and there’s real benefit to talking to a clergy person, making it work takes looking at the two folks in the relationship individually with their own baggage that needs psychological dissection, not a scripture-backed scolding.

Research shows that faith-based relationships are more likely to stay together, but every marriage will have problems and conflict. Couples just have to find what they’re comfortable with and what works for them. Too many folks are getting divorced without doing something to save their marriage: reading a marriage book or doing marriage education or seeing the psychologist or going to the pastor at church. So however they do it — sacred or secular — the end result should be making the loving last.

Did you and your hubby get counseling before your big stroll down the aisle?


Image via Tela Chhe/Flickr

commitment, love, marriage, dating


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

navyw... navywife0204

no counseling here... I knew my husband for 11 years before we got married!

nonmember avatar Jessy

My husband and I participated in pre-marital counseling before we got hitched. Even though we felt we had already talked everything through it was nice to have a third party talk the major issues out with us an help make sure we were on the same page. Now my husband is a psychologist specializing and marriage and family therapy. We both believe strongly that communication is key and that speaking to someone else is a great way to get perspective. It doesn't have to mean you have a problem it could just be proactive and a way to confirm you are heading in the right direction.

cerai... cerainwondrland

Awww jenelle I'm usually offended by your posts but I love this one :)I love my fiance to death but I'm hesitant to tie the knot because I'm a christian and he's an athiest...he comes to church with me and our son when he doesn't work but I know its only to make me happy :( I'm lutheran and you must be confirmed to become a member,but I want it to come from his heart not to please me. I tell him I don't want to get married yet because I MUST have a 2 carrot diamond and a big wedding but I really just don't want to marry someone who doesn't share my faith because I can see that causing major issues down the road. Like you said,married people need religious and psychological council,but what good is religious council on an athiest? Ugh lol

ChicH... ChicHippie

In TN you get half off the price of your marriage license if you go for counseling so yeah.. even though we had been together for 6 years we went to save a buck! (Or 50..)

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

If can't talk to someone and get on the same page without a professional to hold your hand then you shouldn't be getting married. Grown adults should be perfectly capable of having a conversation without paying a referee. I've been with my husband for 14 years and married for 10 years and when we have issues we talk about them, just the two of us. If your issues are so great that you can't so that then either you need individual therapy if they're individual issues (stuff like demanding a huge ring or thinking that the whole world revolves around you) or yiu shouldn't be marrying if they're mutual issues.

AngiDas AngiDas

Sometimes people needs counseling. There is nothing shameful about it. Better people do it and stay together then do nothing and have a messy divorce down the line. 

Joyce Stafford

No counseling for us. I'm an atheist and my husband is a non-practicing/non-associated ‘God' believer. I didn't see the point in basing the foundation of our lives together on something I don't even believe in so we base our relationship on US (you know the two IN the marriage) and put our love and faith into one another. Whatever it is it works for us: 10 years + 1 kid = Happy Family. While all of our ‘religious' friends are all on their second or third marriages/families, we're still going strong.

1-7 of 7 comments