Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Confronting the Real Problems in Marriages, Part 1: "Using Biblical Terminology"
We have been talking over the last few posts about child training from a Biblical perspective. Today, I'd like for us to focus on how to confront problems that arise in marriages from a Biblical perspective. According to Dr. Howard Eyrich, counseling professor at Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburg, IN, states, "With Biblical Counselling, Revelation takes precedence over human reason." By revelation, we are referring to the Divine revelation given to us by God in His Word, the Bible. The Bible must take precedence over our feelings and reasoning, if we are to see problems corrected and cured for the glory of God.
It starts by thinking right about issues. We must not fall into the trap that many "Christian" counsellors and counselling books fall into, and that is to apply worldly terms to Biblical and spiritual issues, i.e. calling a "sin" a "sickness" or "disease." According to Jay Adams' book, Solving Marriage Problems, "To tell an alcoholic that he has a disease is less kind than telling him it is a sin," as 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 teach us. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that an alcoholic has an incurable disease and must tell himself every day that I'm an alcoholic and will always be an alcoholic. This leads to hopelessness. Within the context of a marriage, if alcoholism on the part of the husband is the cause of abuse (verbal and physical), financial difficulties, or some other issue, to tell the wife that her husband has a sickness, will only lead her to hopelessness and despair as well, because there is no pill she can give her husband to cure him of this "sickness." However, if you take the Biblical approach and tell the couple that alcoholism is a "sin," while it is painful to hear, it is more kind in the long run because it simply a behavior pattern for which Christ died to redeem the man from. If he will repent of his sin and truly turn to Christ, he not only can but will be cured! It is true for any other sinful behavior or pattern (adultery, excessive spending and debt, verbal abuse, etc.). If we tell them they have a "sickness," or a problem with "immaturity," this leads to hopelessness and despair on the part of one or both spouses. The problem is that we are sinful creatures. Dr. Eyrich states again, "Selfishness is the cause of the majority of marital problems." And again, selfishness is sin. But all sin can be forgiven and overcome through repentance toward and faith in God!
As Jay Adams further states in the aforementioned book, "It is impossible for two sinners to be completely compatible." Therefore, we must work together each day toward Christian maturity and be willing to forgive one another and repent and turn away from our sin. If we do, marriages not only can survive but thrive!
Romans 12:1-2: "I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God."