Help! We need a marriage counsellor
Dear Dr Nekia,
My wife and I would like to seek marriage counselling but are at odds with who to choose. Do we return to the pastor who counselled and married us, or do we choose someone entirely different? What should we look for in a counsellor when choosing one?
Married But Need Counsel
Dear Married But Need Counsel,
When deciding which counsellor to choose there are several things that you should consider to ensure that you make the correct choice.
The counsellor's experience and professional credentials are foremost.
Next, consider what form of counselling you would like. Each counsellor has his or her own way of conducting sessions. As well, some are more secular while others come from a religious or moral point of view. You will also want to choose someone that both of you are comfortable with. Counselling should be a place where you both can be uninhibited and feel safe to express yourselves because it is most effective when the counsellor receives genuine interaction and information from you.
As to whether or not you should return to the pastor that married you, that is a personal decision however I would advise you to consider how beneficial this will be to your marriage. For example, if you and your wife do not live a Christian lifestyle day to day, then how much benefit would Christian-based sessions be to improving your daily reality?
Religion-based counselling is great for those who are faithful to a particular religion because their spiritual beliefs are intertwined in their day-to-day lifestyle and this can work in a synergistic way to strengthen one another.
However, if the spiritual teachings and belief patterns do not match the reality of your daily behaviours and marriage, then this can cause a gap in your healing process. Sure, Christian principles can be applied and be of some benefit to almost any couple, however the power of these principles to effect long-term change is largely dependent upon daily practice. You must believe and integrate these principles into the fabric of your thinking and marriage in order for you to get the maximum benefit from them.
If you and your wife believe in God but are not practising Christianity or living according to the Christian way, then you may benefit more from a more secular form of counselling.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I am finding it difficult to find someone compatible to me. I don't need anyone for anything, I just really would like someone for companionship; someone who shares similar interests and values.
However, I am told that I am too headstrong and independent. I don't feel that I am.
I just don't need a man to do anything for me so I don't ask, and I have low tolerance for foolery. Why should I put up with games and unnecessary baggage?
Is mutual respect and companionship too much to ask these days?
Want But Don't Need
Dear Want But Don't Need,
There is nothing wrong with wanting someone who shares similar interests and morals as you, however where you are going wrong is your attitude about needing someone.
Whether or not you need a man isn't relevant to finding one. Firstly, even if you did need a man to do things for you or fulfil you in some emotional way, you still should value yourself and have enough strength to not put up with abuse, neglect, dishonesty, cheating, etc.
Secondly, no relationship should be based on what another person can do for you. Relationships should be built upon connection and how you can enhance one another's experiences through life.
If you choose someone because of what they can do for you, you are basically using that person. So let's take whether or not you need a man out of the equation. Instead look at them as opposite beings that are to be accepted, respected, and appreciated. I do not care what gender you are or what your sexual orientation, the opposite sex plays a great role in the balance of our lives.
Remember that in order to receive what you are asking for, in terms of mutual respect and companionship, not only do you have to be willing to give it, but you have to be willing and able to receive it.
So many times we women complain about the way that we are treated by men, but the reality is that we get in our own way. So many of us are not willing to soften ourselves to be open to receive.
This resistance can attract the wrong type of men and put off those that would be willing to give us what we want. All men, on some level, want to feel needed. It is an ego thing, and a human thing because we all, to some degree, use need as a measure of bonding. It feels good to be able to fill a need for the people that we care about. For men, it can go a step further and satisfy their hero complex. Most men like to dominate and feel good about being viewed as having strength; their sense of manhood is attached to this and satisfying a woman's need is one sure way to boost the male ego.
A man who feels weak or bad about himself, or is made out to be unappreciated or not valued, is going to make for a poor companion because he will lash out and treat women according to his own internal unhappiness. So you might just want to drop your perception of not needing a man if you have hopes of actually developing a mutually beneficial companionship with one.
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