Porn: The World’s Most Powerful Addiction

Many people are praying to God, “HELP ME!” They are screaming inside of themselves for help with their addiction to pornography. Porn is the number one addiction in the world, way more than any drug or vice known to man. It does not take much research to learn that this industry is making hundreds of billions of dollars around the world.

Cell phones and the internet have made it easy for anyone to make a few clicks and be instantly connected with someone else. Pornography also has different channels of enticing many others, for example: collect calls with random call girls, strip clubs, movies, magazines, TikTok, apps, games, etc. Porn is not just on the internet, it is everywhere.

Unfortunately, this industry takes no prisoners and makes a fortune while at it. The porn industry is ruining marriages, getting professionals fired, hurting families’ finances, and destroying people’s faith. To discover what can we do about it we must understand why it is so powerful.

First, it involves other people. The truest form of intimacy is to be completely naked with someone else and spend time with them. Being naked with someone is the greatest form of invitation to connect with them and it produces chemicals in our bodies that create an emotional high.

In Genesis 2:15 the Bible reads “it is not good for man to be alone.” God tells us that we are designed to connect with others. God gave us social relationships to bond. He also gave us families to live with and create beautiful memories in the home. Marriage is, without a doubt, the most intimate relationship in the physical world.

Marriage is a bond where you know your spouse’s greatest strengths but also can see them in their most vulnerable state. That is why many want to be married because they want to cherish those moments with that special someone. Unfortunately, we at times can rely on vices to try to give us this “fix” to somehow replace that type of intimacy.

This is why porn is so addictive. It’s not like a substance with which you don’t have an emotional bond with. If your substance is spilled or broken, you may get mad, but you just go ahead and buy some more. But the emotional bond that you can get with seeing someone else naked and in a vulnerable sex position is bizarrely bonding.

I can speak from a man’s point of view that men who are addicted to porn have a tough time bonding with anyone. While they spend hours involved in their vice, they do not realize that they are losing connection with others.

So, what can we do? Connect with the same gender consistently and constantly. In 2 Samuel 11, you will read the story of King David who took time off from his busy military campaign. He sent his army to go off to battle while he remained in the palace all alone. We know from Genesis that it’s not good for man to be alone.

So having idle time, he goes out wandering and notices a beautiful woman bathing. She is naked and David is struck by that vulnerable connection. What King David should’ve done is go back inside his home and be sexually intimate with Abigail, his wife. They were married in 1 Samuel 25. It’s a wonderful and beautiful love story.

But David is not content over the many years of battle. He is worn down and tired. No one can blame him for taking some time off. However, this move by David was selfish because not only did he have wives, but he also had many concubines. 2 Samuel 5:13 tells us that David had both concubines and wives who bore him sons and daughters. This man was having lots of sex.

Why did he want to sleep with Bathsheba? A conqueror always wants to conquer more – they are never satisfied. They could be satisfied with God, their family, and themselves. But when we are giving ourselves over to our vices, we are communicating that we are unsatisfied. We think we are incomplete – not whole.

David was not completely satisfied. His greed wanted more. This mirrors greatly how individuals get addicted to porn. Fifteen minutes leads to one hour. One hour is not enough and that ends up to multiple hours. Then it turns into an entire day and then sadly to a lifetime. Why do you think people can’t just give it up?

The real reason is that the mind has been trained to be reliant on false images in an emotional way. Emotions are fire and they guide us so powerfully. A nation can change by having empathy for one incident. A nation can go into war because they learned of something that triggered the government.

I once saw a movie called Equilibrium that whose premise was if we had no emotions then there would be no more wars and murder. Maybe so. But who wants to live an emotionless life? Nobody. We all want to be free to live our lives as we want. However, emotions can lead us astray and we must break that cycle.

I mentioned in the earlier two paragraphs that getting help from the same gender is key. In 2 Samuel 12, God sends Nathan, a prophet, to correct David’s way of thinking. Why not send a woman? Or a family member? Remember that David involved his “secret service” and his main generals so who would stand up to this mighty King? A man of God. That’s who.

A man of God will help another man become a man of God. This is key in many support groups dealing with addiction because you can’t have a mixed-gender group talking about porn addiction. It wouldn’t be appropriate. Men wouldn’t feel comfortable describing their fetishes with another woman when an actual woman is staring right at them.

It wouldn’t work. So, a man would need another man to listen, confirm and challenge him as part of his sobriety plan. Same for a woman though. A woman shouldn’t be open to a man about her struggles watching porn online. It wouldn’t be a productive talk. A woman may be best suited to talk to another woman to get help. Don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful for spouses to support each other in their struggles. But it’s best to leave the heavy lifting to the same gender.

Same-gender help is crucial. David would only have listened to a man who had deeper convictions than him. Earlier in King David’s life, he had such a friend by the name of Jonathan. Jonathan and David had many adventures together as they were more than brothers. The bond these men had was unbreakable only by death. Sadly, Jonathan is killed in battle and David mourns for him.

In 2 Samuel 1:25-26 David states “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother, you were very dear to me, your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women”. You see that David’s heart is real and open about how close these men were. They were born in battle. The wars and adventures they fought there together helped them respect each other to a point where their bond was so tight that no one could interfere.

Just like David we are all capable of having such deep and rich friendships. It takes a lot of work. It’s not easy to be in battles day in and day out. However, if we decide to join in battle with one another then we can help each other have victories.

What great battle is there like the war with porn addiction? It’s a beast. Humiliating, depressing, sad, and hopeless. Therefore, we need those Jonathans in our lives to help us grieve, process, and seek help to overcome our issues. We cannot overcome porn addiction on its own. We need help and not just any help, but the help from someone who is the same gender that is willing to keep us accountable.

This is challenging because we don’t want to be called to a different standard, so we want to keep those defenses up. However, in my many years as a professional, and can only tell you that the secret to the success of many leaving this addiction behind is simply getting constant and consistent training from someone who has deep convictions on this issue.

Don’t expect to get much help from someone who is struggling with the same thing. They can be an encouragement and support, but the true catalyst will be the one with deep conviction because they’ve proved themselves capable of staying sober. We need to learn from them and follow in their footsteps. That is the way we are going to get out of this pit.

My question to you is, who is your Jonathan in your life? Maybe you’re not the one who’s addicted but you want to help. Are you someone that can help others? If so, set up a support group and invite people to learn. Please feel free to use this as a launching pad to start helping others who are enslaved to this vice.

If you are looking for someone else, find out if there’s a group, a minister, or a mentor who can help your friend out. This issue is not only for men. My wife, who helps counsel and mentor women, has told me that women are falling into this trap as well. My wife doesn’t tell me specifics or mentions names of course but she tells me that she is shocked to learn that many women are also dealing with this.

According to Psychology Today, statistics say that about 45% of women watch pornography with their partner and about 35% percent on their own. The thing with watching porn once though is that with or without a partner, the craving continues, and once is not enough. It is spiritual cancer that destroys men’s and women’s lives all over the world. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it can be overcome with help – help in form of the same-gender partnering with those people to have victories in their lives. Let’s not look down on men because that won’t help. Let’s also not look down on women for struggling.

Let’s help one another to get to the root of the issue, which is accountability. We need best friends to talk to and be open. That’s the definition of true intimacy. We want to know and be known, so let’s practice it and marvel at the changes we see in their lives. Then they will see no need for fake intimacy when they can experience the real thing. God Bless!

Photos:
“Anguish”, Courtesy of Alex Iby, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Laptop”, Courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Weighed Down”, Courtesy of Jon Tyson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Romantic Sunset”, Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

Mental Warfare: How to Overcome Psychological Trauma

Bad things happen to good people all the time. Sadly, it seems like in today’s age this is happening more and more often. Has anyone told you that you are a good person lately? Please be assured that you are. The fact that you are reading this piece is because you are trying to battle the mental warfare of psychological trauma.

I can hear you on the other side asking, “Why me?” and “Why am I experiencing this?” And I’m with you on this one. Why you? No one deserves to be mistreated or abused in any way, especially mentally.

You were created to be in God’s image according to Genesis 1:26-28. Think about how we would describe God…Powerful? All-knowing? Loving? These are some of the first attributes that come to mind when would describe him. Well, if we are made in His image, shouldn’t we show similar characteristics?

You may respond “But I’m not God” and that’s true. None of us are God. We are however made in God’s image. If the Scriptures are still true, then we all must look in the mirror and wonder why we sell ourselves short. This is the truth, but we entertain the lies more often. That’s the true challenge in my honest opinion.

The biggest challenge for us is to reframe our thinking so that we don’t believe those distorted thoughts. There’s an incredible passage in Romans 12:2 “we are transformed by renewing our minds”. It blows my mind that we can alter our thinking! Yes, you can alter the way you think which will then change you from the inside out. For us to change our thinking we must do some work and train ourselves so that we can have a renewed focus.

Jesus went through a traumatic experience in his life, and it was recorded in Matthew 14. In the middle of this gospel, his cousin, John the Baptist is tragically beheaded by an evil ruler at the time: “John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.” In verse 13, the Scripture says, “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

The verse says that Jesus takes time to be alone and the verse stops right there. I love that the Bible leaves it to our imagination on what happened. Take time to read that verse and put yourself in his shoes. What would you be doing? The Bible doesn’t make it easy for us to read what Jesus did, but the word of God allows us to ponder what he may have been doing.

If you didn’t catch it, the word is reframing our mind right there. God wants us to think. I don’t like thinking too much myself, but I know that this mental warfare is a real thing. It’s easier for us to veg out in front of the television. It’s simple to move on to the next thing and try to forget our past hurt.

But we need to see the example of Jesus and how he took the time to think. Reframing our mindset will help us to change our pattern of thinking into a healthier approach to life. That’s the decision we must make today – the decision to reframe the way we think.

Jesus doesn’t stop there. We continue reading on in Matthew 14:15 that after his time of mourning and praying, Jesus meets with a crowd and he is moved to compassion when he sees the needs of the people. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

The word “compassion” in Greek means for your “innermost part to be moved”. Though Jesus is sad about losing a loved one, in one night He pulls himself together enough to start helping others the next day. He didn’t take a shortcut nor was he absent from feeling pain. Jesus suffered and knew how to deal with it. He took the night to pray, process, and grieve.

He did not stop there though. Many others would have but not him. He allowed his heart and mind to start thinking about others and how he could help. Have you ever heard of the phrase “Hurt people, hurt people”? I’m here to tell you that Jesus’ case, “hurt people, help people.”

This compassion started on the inside and was a catalyst for Jesus to help others. This empowerment helped Jesus overcome his grief. I don’t think it resolved everything for Jesus at that time, but it was enough for him to get through the day.

Let’s shift the focus to you. How are you doing with your thought patterns? Are you feeling overwhelmed and faint with hopelessness? People have indeed hurt us, and we need to process that. So, the question remains, who are we talking to? How are we going to get help? Are we going to remain in this rut or are we going to do something about it?

It’s time for us to take back our minds and not lend them to these negative thoughts from our past to control us. Some forms of psychological trauma include verbal abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, racism, etc. These leave an imprint in our minds that is hard to forget.

There are many more, but these are some that stand out in 2021. Some may more emotional than others, and others may be more physical than others. Whether something physical happened or not is not the point. The point is that if it degrades our minds, then you can bet it is probably a form of psychological trauma that has shaped our brains.

Our minds are so powerful that if you think long and hard enough you may be able to convince your body to the point of having somatic symptoms. These symptoms will break your body down. Instead of using it to break us down, let us use our minds to build us up as we move forward. Our minds can fight these demons away so that we can be free.

Jesus was no stranger to mental suffering. He was accused and abused by those who hated him, but his mind was free to the point that it helped him overcome all those obstacles. Jesus set an example of how to deal with mental and emotional pain. He wasn’t physically suffering but he suffered for the loss he had. We must act and take small steps so that we can also succeed.

In the rest of chapter 14 in the gospel of Matthew, we see three examples of something important to which we should pay attention. Jesus feeds 5,000 families with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. He then works with Peter to walk on water which must’ve been a remarkable sight. Peter doesn’t last long on the water but before he falls Jesus states that he had little faith.

The fact that Peter walked on water with little faith is something mind-blowing to me because I would think you would need a stratosphere type of faith. Not so with Jesus, however. Even when we doubt and take some steps, he can make us “walk on water.” Lastly, when Jesus lands at his next destination, many people approach him and touch the edge of his cloak to get healed.

What surprises me is that the people didn’t have to even touch him physically! They didn’t have to hold his hand; they didn’t need to hug him or have him touch their foreheads to show some form of connection. They must’ve had so much reverence for him that in those times that wasn’t considered permissible – perhaps because it would’ve been disrespectful.

Even so, many barely grabbed a part of his cloak and were healed because of their small faith. I’m sure by now you can figure it out. The constant denominator in these three examples is that we only need to have small faith for God to work. Many times, we feel we need to be perfectly healed to live life, or that we must “get over” something to function.

The way I read it, this seems contrary to widely held belief. Jesus was hurt and was able to serve others despite his mental and emotional pain. We can do the same. Despite the hurt, we can help others. What small step of faith can you take today? We can call someone and ask for help. We can start journaling. We can set up a therapy appointment. We can go to the beach to pray.

We don’t have to do something enormous. We don’t need to recover before helping even fully someone else out. Do you think Jesus was one hundred percent resolved after his cousin was murdered? I don’t think so. But what he did was profound. He was able to serve as he was healing himself. Your faith doesn’t have to something astronomical. It doesn’t have to be out of this world. It can be something small.

If we do a tiny bit every day, we can take major leaps in our lives. This is how you and I can overcome our mental warfare. We can overcome our psychological trauma. We see the example of Jesus and it makes sense! So, if it’s good enough for Jesus then it should be good enough for us. Decide to something small today and get help. You will be victorious. I leave you with this Scripture to inspire you:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:4-9

Christian Counseling for Psychological Trauma

If you would like additional help and support regarding how to overcome psychological trauma, I invite you to contact me or one of the other counselors in the counselor directory to schedule an appointment. It would be my honor to serve you in this capacity.

Photos:
“Caged”, Courtesy of Christopher Windus, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Drowning”, Courtesy of Nikko Macaspac, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Disequilibrium”, Courtesy of Joshua Fuller, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Walking Down the Road”, Courtesy of Emma Simpson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

Help! My Husband is a Sex Addict

If you suspect that your husband is a sex addict, you have come to the right place to get some guidance. If he watches porn on the internet and uses his phone to look at inappropriate pictures of other women, you may be wondering whether there is hope. The good news is that there is — and not just any hope, but the hope of God.

Recall your wedding day. Remember both of you standing on the altar and looking into his eyes as he was saying to you that he would be faithful and loving until the day he dies. I am sure at this moment you don’t feel that at all and that is okay. This article is not to persuade you about your valid emotions.

This article is written to help you understand that those vows are more important now than ever! Your husband has his issues, but where there is love, there is a way to overcome hurt. Here is insight into how we can help your husband out so that we can do our best to salvage your relationship.

If Your Husband is a Sex Addict: How to Help

First, why is he indulging in this? Have you ever heard of the phrase “Hurt people, hurt people”? This statement means that if I am hurt, then obviously I am going to hurt others. Does it have to be that way? If everyone who is hurting, hurts others, this world would be even more tragic to live in.

God doesn’t want us to hurt others just because we are hurt ourselves. Your husband hurt you. He hurt you because he is hurting. It’s easy to say that porn addiction is disgusting and absurd. However, in Romans 3:23 the Bible states that sin is sin. Meaning that there’s no sin that’s greater than the other. They are all the same.

That is a tough pill to swallow especially when we are hurt. We may think that when we are hurt by loved ones, that their sin is greater than others. The truth is that all sin is offensive, and all sin is equal. In my ministerial work, this levels the playing field between spouses so that there’s no self-righteousness.

Your husband did an awful thing, and we are hoping and praying that he can get help so that he can heal – the single best thing for a sex addict to do. If we keep yelling at him, telling him that he is a monster, that will not do much. We can beat people over the head about their failures, but we must take a more effective approach.

Secondly, your husband needs you to be his greatest support. God is there with you all. The human being that needs him now more than ever is you. You have been an outstanding wife. You are a great mom, you cook and clean, you help pay the bills and do the dirty work around the home. You have grown in sexual intimacy with your husband and given him your best. You didn’t deserve this – you deserve better!

So, should you just quit, get a divorce, and move on? Maybe. You should fight for your husband’s sobriety. He needs your help, and one way we can help him to do find out why he is engaging in this pattern. Giving up on him will only tempt you to sexual sin, tempt him to struggle with sexual sin as well. Ninety-nine percent of men struggle with sexual sin and whether they admit that they are addicts or not is another conversation.

Men in America engage in sexual sin on an almost daily basis. There’s online pornography, Tik Tok videos, social media, movies, magazines, commercials, other women flirting with them, etc. It’s everywhere. The battle rages on! Some men have been able to manage it well and are on a maintenance plan. Some are having challenging times and giving in. Some have good months and then have some bad months.

There’s no exact science to this. You need to know that most men struggle with this and are battling with it. That doesn’t excuse the behavior, nor does it make it okay to continue in it. The point is that we give up only to meet someone else who will struggle with that same thing. That’s why we need to remember our vows – in sickness and in health.

Your husband’s addiction is a disease. It’s destroying his self-esteem, mental health, and most of all his relationship with you. Who is going to support him now? I hope it’s you. You can be there for him to listen to him and ask him deep questions on why he is behaving this way. You can ask him what his childhood was like and about his first sexual experiences. That can tell you a lot about why he is doing what he is doing.

Men are called pigs and dogs for engaging in this behavior but are rarely called heroes in their homes when they are faithful. Husbands are working hard and trying to do their best to support their families, yet they get the least encouragement from their loved ones. They hear complaining and bickering which makes them want to tune out. The most common way for a man to tune out is to tune in sexually.

At first, it may start as an innocent crush or curiosity. Later, however, it develops into a relentless cycle of addiction that leaves them hopeless. Men need to be built up and encouraged for them to feel safe enough to be open. I encourage any reader to ask that question to see how your husband would respond. He may cry or he may get angry but that’s the point. He is feeling stuff and not dealing with it.

So, the wife can see that her role is to support him and be genuinely vulnerable. Being vulnerable is not yelling or venting at him. Vulnerability is exposing your deepest insecurities which then would breed more vulnerability on his part. He needs to do his part also. You aren’t going to save him. That is Jesus’ job.

He needs to be open with other men to get help. The best solution for men to overcome their sexual addiction is to have other men challenge them and get them on a plan. I’m sure you wouldn’t want a random woman to help him unless she’s a trained professional. With that in mind, I would highly recommend that you aren’t his only support for this issue. A minister, a therapist, a men’s’ support group, an addiction recovery group could all help your husband.

He needs to be open in those groups with other men who are battling with this issue. Too many times, the wife can turn a blind eye, or overexert herself, or simply complain, but unfortunately, it leads to little productivity. The true change will be when another man or a few good men talk to your man face to face about his problem. There may be resistance at first, opposition and whining about it, too.

The good thing is that if you keep requesting him to get help, he may eventually do it. What if he doesn’t? Then I would recommend you join a co-dependency group or a woman’s support group to get help. You may be thinking to yourself, why me? You are not responsible for his mistakes.

Your example will be super humbling to him. Imagine yourself telling him, “If you don’t want to get help then I will.” On Tuesday prepare dinner for you and the kids and I will meet with the ladies for support.” You don’t do it out of retaliation or spite, but because you are fighting for your relationship. He may hold his cards and remain tough. But while you are away, there will be no doubt that you will be on his mind. He will be humbled to get help.

Over time, he may give in and be curious about getting help. This step empowers you, but it also frees you from being a victim. You are not a victim! I will say it again, you are not a victim! You are a noble woman of God who is experiencing what many other women have or are currently experiencing in their lives.

That idea is freeing because some women lose hope that anything will change. The change will occur when changes are made. A tiny step can lead to an adventure. Someone must take the first step. Scary as it may be, it is necessary. Your husband may follow you because humility often breeds humility. Often, when the family takes a step in one direction the rest will soon follow behind.

If the worst happens, and he refuses to get help from anyone, then you have some choices to make. You can get advice from those closest to you on how to conduct a major intervention to get his attention. Some ideas can include, having friends visit him at the home, the family making a video for him, or individuals from your church writing him letters.

As a minister, I never would tell someone to leave someone but taking a vacation so he can marinate on his thoughts could also be helpful. Staying with your parents for a weekend could help wake him up. Please tell him beforehand so that he isn’t taken by surprise. That would not be beneficial. The time away may help awaken the true love you both have for each other.

Let’s do a quick recap. His sin is his sin. You are not at fault. You can be his biggest cheerleader through this tough time. You can be curious and ask questions about his childhood and why he could be hurting.

Hurt people hurt people, so try to figure out what he is trying to escape and avoid. Often, men watch porn because they want relief and gratification. It may not be that he doesn’t love you or find you attractive, it may simply be that he is looking for an escape.

Porn and sex addiction is a deep issue and needs to be addressed by other men so your husband can be challenged and held accountable. Sometimes interventions can help, and space is needed. All interventions should be done with respect and lots of guidance and support. Hopefully, these tips can lead you to a breakthrough in your marriage with your loved one! Don’t forget those vows! They are precious!

If you need additional help, please feel free to contact me or one of the other counselors listed in the counselor directory to schedule a counseling appointment. We would be more than happy to help.

Photos:
“Watching out the window.”, Courtesy of Taylor Deas-Melesh, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Tossed by the Waves”, Courtesy of Alex Iby, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Am I good enough?”, Courtesy of Hello I’m Nik, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wedding Bands”, Courtesy of Sandy Millar, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

Premarital Counseling for Today’s Generation

Many couples are reflecting on how 2020 went for them and wondering how 2021 will treat them. We noticed a boom of weddings in 2020 despite the pandemic. This encouraged many to get engaged and to hopefully get married in 2021. We may wonder why people are getting married, and it could be as simple a matter as singles and dating couples being tired of living alone.

The pandemic has brought many issues to the surface such as depression due to constant isolation and anxiety when alone. Autophobia is the fear of being alone and is especially difficult the older you are. Undoubtedly families and couples did better than singles while being left alone for such a long time during the pandemic.

Although some took the risk of going out during the outbreak, many had no option but to stay at home out of concern for a loved one. This woke up many men and women to consider moving forward with their partners toward marriage. This is a noble solution to the problem of being alone. Wisdom would say that although it’s great to get married, we must build solidly to have a long-lasting marriage.

As a minister, I notice that couples in our church tend to rush into marriage but many, if not all, of these couples wisely seek advice. The pandemic is causing doubts and questions for possible weddings of 2021 such as financial costs, wedding attendance, where to live, school, jobs, family distance, etc.

A blessing in disguise of the pandemic is that it is helping couples to work through these issues with others, which is helping them to count the cost of moving forward.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’Luke 14:28-30

These couples cannot afford to put up money for a big wedding, and they are wondering where to live because, if the pandemic extends, they want to know could they be safe, and what is around them in walking distance i.e., parks, beach, trails, stores, etc. With this in mind, partners are asking one another about pre-marital counseling.

Premarital counseling is a foundational precursor to a healthy marriage because we tend to invest in what’s important to us. The passage in Luke helps us to consider how we are building. Couples aren’t just “fools rush in”, there is an alternative that can support a stronger relationship that will remain resilient during challenging times.

Sadly, many couples also ended their relationship in 2020 because the pandemic tested them beyond their capabilities and forced them to tap out. Couples’ characters were exposed and with the added pressures of isolation, they had no one to turn to. These marriages had little to no support that otherwise could have been of immense help.

The question is, why didn’t these couples have support? We could chalk it up to many possibilities, but one vital reason could be that it wasn’t discussed at their premarital counseling. We all have friends, but we don’t turn to them to get input especially about sensitive material as insecurities, sexual intimacy, conflict, jealousy, deceit, secrets, etc.

If adequate support is not set up in advance this challenge can be difficult to overcome. We all need support to move forward in life. We all appreciate the heroic stories of individuals, but the most encouraging ones are the teams of heroes that show everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Avengers, Justice League, and Star Wars are all some of the biggest box office hits in the last decade. The reason for their success is that they are teams fighting off a great evil. These have become bigger revenue-generating franchises and have overtaken the individual hero’s place as top of the box office king. Why do we have less enthusiasm about being a team in our marriages? Marriage is a perfect opportunity to be a team and have others team up to helps us.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This is an interesting passage for couples because if my partner and I are one then who is going to help our one unit? Some may suggest that spouses are the other individual to help them out, but we can challenge that position by reminding everyone of the goal that God designed in Genesis 2:24 “the two will become one.”

By that principle, a couple who follows the word of God is one unit. The secret of Christian marriage is that we get to celebrate two lives joined together in holy matrimony, yet they are not alone. In the kingdom of God, we have support and guidance to face any issue. Marriages should never be alone. As separate individuals, we can support one another and maximize the potential of our unions.

2021 is going to be a full year of many couples dating, getting engaged, then married. Families will begin and many joyous occasions will take place. During those moments there will be stress and anxiety and one way to combat those symptoms will be to get premarital counseling as soon as possible.

First, dating or engaged couples can jumpstart their long-term relationship by investing in a healthy premarital counseling series so that they can develop a great foundation to make their marriage strong. Second, they can develop a support network. If they do these two crucial things, along with reading their Bible and praying every day, then they can have confidence that will stay together for the long haul.

If for some reason their church, ministry, friends, or community cannot provide that, then therapy can be a great alternative. Marriage and Family therapists are trained in basic approaches that can help couples in their relationships hence the title “marriage” therapist. Some may say that therapy is too pricey and could take up a lot of your time. An argument can be made that investing in your relationship is priceless.

When I married Nicole, there was no price too high to pay for the ring, wedding, and honeymoon. We had a budget of course, but my attitude was that I wanted to invest in the things I thought were important to me. Where we put our money shows where we are invested.

My advice to those of you reading this article is that if you are considering getting married soon, think about possibly getting premarital counseling through a therapist who will be impartial and professional. Sometimes our friends and family can mean well when it comes to giving us premarital advice but at times that can have some biases attached with it.

A professional therapist is trained to be in the middle and not side with either partner. The licensed marriage and family therapist will work with both individuals to help bring issues to light that could be of concern and to build skills to help them navigate expectations for the future.

Having a healthy dynamic marriage is priceless. I look back to when Nicole and I got premarital counseling and I shudder to think what would be said of us right now if we had never invested in our relationship after our engagement. In truth, our marriage would be a nightmare.

I’m grateful that others supported me and helped me to learn ways to communicate effectively, how to plan out my week with my wife, prioritizing biblical values, sexual intimacy, reconciliation, daily encouragement, effective roles, letting go of past hurts, submitting to one another, listening, finances, etc. Many couples get married and do not talk about these issues.

It is no wonder that couples have so many arguments. They approach their relationship with optimism but then they hit a snag after the vows. When conflict arises, they realize that they didn’t prepare for these issues and are shocked when they have no one to turn to. They want to save face, so they keep it “in-house”. They go to church and pretend that everything is fine.

Deep down, however, they are yearning for help so that they can grow. This piece is written for those looking forward to getting married this year but honestly, anyone can get counseling at any point in their relationship. It’s an investment that will reap long-lasting rewards. One spouse can go alone, although it is highly recommended that both attend.

If the couple is healthy, and one spouse wants to process a trauma from their past, then that one spouse should get therapy and may not need to include the other. If the conflict affects both, then both should attend to get therapy. Premarital counseling will prepare the couple so that they will not be blindsided by any potential threats.

Athletes say that the worst hit they take on the field is the one they don’t see coming. With premarital counseling, not only will you be ready for those challenges, but you will also be ready to confront them. Not only will you be ready to confront them but be victorious as a wonderful team. I close out with an encouraging analogy from Jesus on how to build our spiritual homes:

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.Matthew 7:24-27

Photos:
“Rings”, Courtesy of Nick Karvounis, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Love & Respect”, Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Devotions Together”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

Looking for Love: How to Overcome Emotional Affairs

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Looking for love in all the wrong places”? It’s a phrase we throw around to our peers when we casually talk about a hopeless romantic who may be searching for love in areas where they will not find true love, such as emotional affairs. This idea of true love is what many are searching for.

Think about the following: fame, fortune, popularity, success, power, family, and so forth. Why do we want all these things? We want them because we want to be loved. Maybe we won’t admit it but at the end of the day, we work hard because we are searching for that endless love. There are some interesting proverbs in the Bible that support this.

What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar. – Proverbs 19:22

Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? – Proverbs 20:6

Unfailing love is what we all want right? That comfort of knowing that your partner or loved one wants to prioritize you and to hold you dearly. We look forward to that warmth and affection with our partners because it makes us feel so special. I remember the first few dates I went with my wife Nicole how easily I had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t help it.

My emotions and thoughts just overwhelmed me with this notion that I wanted to be with Nicole and no one else. Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, vacations, holidays are all special because we cherish these moments with those we genuinely love.

The flip side to that coin also is that we want a partner who is willing to be tried and true with us. Forgiving one another, being patient, understanding, supplying encouragement and support are all aspects of when things aren’t as blissful. We prefer that our partners work with us during challenging times and not give up on us when we royally mess it up.

So good or bad, we want true love that overrides all situations. Those two proverbs aren’t there by accident. They are there to provide insight into how we think and to bring to the forefront what our mission is. Our mission isn’t to be right, or to amass wealth, or to be famous. The goal is to find the cherished love that is so evasive at times. The question is how are we searching for this love?

2021 will be a year of growth for many of us and I’d dare say that growing in our relationships is a very top priority for many of us. 2020 brought hurt and discouragement for many of us also. Addiction grew, domestic violence went up, many betrayals surfaced because the pandemic of COVID-19 exposed our true natures.

One of those exposures may have been emotional affairs. Some may have caught their partners watching pornography on the internet. Others could have wondered why their finances were disappearing and still others may have been that substance abuse was uncovered. However, emotional affairs may explain why you are reading this article.

Maybe you were the partner that was affected by a spouse who connected with someone online in an inappropriate way. Maybe your partner has a bad habit of being flirtatious with the opposite gender with certain staff at a certain establishment which pains you to see. Despite bringing it up you may get accused of overreacting.

Another possibility is that maybe you or someone who is in an emotional affair and you’re wondering if you’ve gone too far. This article interested you because you are at a crossroads in your relationship, and you may have ventured out of the boundaries in an emotional relationship and now you are contemplating on what you are going to do.

Lastly, you could be a friend of someone who is either a victim or a perpetrator and you want to help them out. I applaud you along with our readers for your noble heart to research and understand ways to help your friends potentially stay together for the long haul. Not sure where you are at in this, but you’ve come to the right place to get some extra resources that can help them lovingly and spiritually.

What’s Wrong with Emotional Affairs?

Why are emotional affairs wrong? I want to tackle this first because some may say “there’s nothing physical so what’s the issue?” Indeed, an emotional relationship may not include any physical involvement but there’s a reason it hurts our partners. When we enter a relationship, we may not show our deal-breakers upfront. So, some partners may think they can enjoy their relationship if there’s nothing physical with someone else.

It’s kind of a taboo thing but nothing that could have enough substance to become a deal-breaker. We may point out that the Bible says that the only three ways out of a marriage are death, adultery, or abandonment. As an evangelist in my church, I can agree with that. However, emotional affairs cause major disruption in your marriage.

Think about it this way, would you want someone to be with you at the altar ready to say, “I do” only to hear them state that they will only be faithful to you “99% of the time”? No one would accept that. We want our partners to genuinely love us 100% of the time. It would be insulting to have dinner with your spouse only for them to be daydreaming of some crush they have.

Emotional relationships are a matter of the heart and that’s what needs to be addressed. Jesus calls this out as “matters of the heart”:

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person. Mark 7:21-23

Jesus is calling out these physical issues, but he is addressing them from the perspective of the heart. Usually, perpetrators of emotional relationships state that they were reacting to someone else flirting or making advances. The perpetrator needs to understand that those boundaries aren’t to be crossed because something that has no strong boundary needs to be questioned.

We have doors in our home, locks on our windows, alarms for our cars, codes, and passwords to our computers for what reason? It’s to protect what we cherish. We protect what we love. If the boundaries are off, then we invite danger to our most intimate places and Jesus takes the ax to the root by saying that we need to look at our heart.

Adultery doesn’t just happen, it evolves, and these scriptures point out that it started within us. It could be why in the gospel it says that the most important commandment is to love our Lord with all our Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. God wants all of us. He doesn’t accept partial love.

That expectation makes sense to me because I don’t want my wife to be thinking of some guy who flirted with her at the supermarket earlier that day. If we are having dinner, I want her to be present with me. We all want that. Should that situation arise, my wife has some great women in her life with whom she can be open about that temptation. She can seek input from women who will follow up with her and pray to God for her to be victorious in that area of her life.

The same thing goes for me. If I am tempted, I can call a brother in Christ who can listen and provide me with input so that I can tackle this from the beginning instead of it running ramped in my heart. Remember that these expectations are supposed to be high because we are searching for unfailing love. Our partners deserve to have us be present with them in mind, body, and soul.

Tips for Overcoming Emotional Infidelity

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a solid approach for confronting emotional affairs. A foundational core principle of CBT is that it helps us understand the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Anyone who is either a victim or perpetrator of emotional affairs should seek professional help to confront this at once to salvage their relationship.

A trained Cognitive Behavioral Therapist can validate your struggles from the start because they want to listen to your story without judgment. Does this mean that the perpetrator can be validated as well? Absolutely. As professionals, we are not here to take sides. Our goal is to provide you with tools to discover what is going on and work together to move forward in healthier ways.

Most Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) are trained in some form or fashion to provide CBT because it is one of the most widely used approaches for therapy. One of the main reasons it is widely used and accepted is because it deals with problems from the inside and out. Adultery is physical which means in CBT language that it can be labeled as an action.

But how would you go about an emotional affair? Can people just sweep it under the rug? Not with CBT. It can be classified as an emotional issue. The therapist would not just focus on emotions but would help the client process their thoughts behind their emotions and what actions they took.

With CBT it all works together. Not one part is left out. Interestingly, the gospels say that if we are to love the Lord then we need to do it all with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. There is no shortcutting this process.

This approach is excellent for those who have been hurt by emotional infidelity because they feel the pain of being betrayed. They can explore those feelings and realize past trauma tied into the current hurt. The process continues as to what they are thinking and possible actions they can take to empower themselves. This is one of many possible approaches but in my work with hundreds of clients, I can’t think of a better approach.

Here are some tips to overcome emotional affairs based on the CBT approach that would include Thoughts, Emotions, Actions (T.E.A.) dialogue:

Thoughts

What thoughts are we processing? This is crucial to start with because so many times we rush to the evidence (phone, internet, talks, etc.) Once an emotional affair has been discovered, we need to ask both partners what they are thinking. One may think that the relationship is over. But is that true? Many people have different emotions, and they stem from what we think.

We don’t condone the affair, but we must try to listen to what our thought process was like to get to the root, recalling Jesus’ words to focus on the heart. The injured party should also voice insecurities, betrayal, shame, embarrassment, etc. The party who was emotionally unfaithful should be a great listener and confirm their partner’s thought process as well.

Remember this rule, if you do something or feel something, you must have thought of it beforehand. Unfaithfulness of any kind is not to be dismissed as a reaction incident. The mind played a role all along.

Emotions

What are we both feeling? What goes on inside of us internally is something to be appreciated. We love romance, zeal, and passion. Those same emotions can but in two ways because someone who is charismatic could also be a big-time flirt. So, we need to address our emotions and validate them further recognizing that emotions are tools and not weapons.

Validation by all parties, the partners, support, and the therapist are crucial. There is no such thing as crazy emotions. The betrayer should allow ample time for the hurting individual to gather their emotions and join in their mourning. This can be a painstaking process but one that leads to success more times than not.

Actions

The whole story must be told. This may sound unfair to the one who is betrayed but it is paramount that both spouses share their entire story of what happened without judgment. We don’t need to be sentimental with the party who committed the infidelity, but we need to understand what is going on in their hearts.

Sharing your story will cause discomfort but it will help the healing process the more times you share it. Get help and support. You don’t need to tell the world but view it as an opportunity to empower yourself. Recommit yourselves to one another, set up boundaries, and have weekly accountable times with your support system.

In conclusion, I want to say that no flaw is fatal. People who either commit emotional affairs or are betrayed by them can still recover and do well. We can make some terrible mistakes, but the grace of Jesus helps us during those crucial times. These are hurtful times but if we seek help and support there’s no telling of what incredible progress we can make as couples.

Photos:
“Admiring the View”, Courtesy of Paola Chaaya, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “God is Love”, Courtesy of Hassan Saleh, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Watching the Bay”, Courtesy of Charlie Foster, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Just Married”, Courtesy of Desiree Fawn, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

The mental health issue known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is complex and often difficult to understand. It is not helped by the fact that it shares the common feature of extreme mood swings with Bipolar Disorder, making them easy to confuse, even though they are not the same.

Borderline Personality Disorder: What is it?

The DSM-V defines Borderline Personality Disorder as “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five (or more) of the following:”

  • Black and white attitude or a failure to see any middle ground
  • Rapid and extreme mood swings
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Characteristic impulsivity in more than one activity that carries a potential risk
  • A pattern of instability in relationships ranging from love to hate
  • Fear (whether real or imagined) of abandonment and extreme efforts to avoid it
  • Characteristically improper self-image or sense of self
  • Persistent suicidal behavior, threats, or gestures
  • Self-harm
  • Anger issues
  • Persistently feeling empty
  • Paranoia
  • Symptoms of dissociation

What causes BPD?

Like with many mental health issues, researchers and therapists are not sure what causes Borderline Personality Disorder. However, research indicates that there may be some connection between a person’s biology and their personal history or present situation.

Some factors which may be partly responsible for bringing on Borderline Personality Disorder are:

Family history of BPD

Studies have shown that a person whose parent(s) or sibling(s) have Borderline Personality Disorder has much greater odds developing it themselves.

Brain structure

Scientists have long recognized that certain parts of the brain are the seat of various kinds of emotions and exercise control over our impulses. Quite often, those with Borderline Personality Disorder also suffer from poor impulse control and emotional troubles. Researchers are not sure whether the brain issues are a result of the disorder or the cause.

History of trauma

Though having experienced trauma doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will develop Borderline Personality Disorder, it has become clear that Borderline Personality Disorder often correlates with past trauma. The trauma can be of any kind, including, but not limited to accidents, neglect or abuse, separation, or abandonment.

Stigma

The sad truth is that Borderline Personality Disorder carries with it a stigma. In fact, some consider it to be more stigmatized than any other mental health issue. People often view those with Borderline Personality Disorder as being manipulative, attention-grabbing, or resistant to treatment.

Because of the stigma, many who need it never pursue treatment. This may be a direct result of the stigma itself, or it may be due to the stigma attached to a negative or failed treatment experience. For this reason, it is crucial to seek out therapists who are specially trained to help people who have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Self-Harm

Many who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder engage in behavior referred to as non-suicidal self-injury, or NSSI. Unlike with suicidal tendencies, a person who engages in NSSI is not attempting to commit suicide.

People engage in self-harm for a variety of reasons, such as exercising control, getting their mind off of their situation, a desire to feel anything rather than numbness, a means of dealing with intense emotions, or even a sense of euphoria. Even though it is not the same as suicide, it is critical to take self-harm very seriously. Of course, any actual suicidal threats should be taken seriously as well.

Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

It should come as no surprise that there is no magic cure-all for Borderline Personality Disorder. For those who seek help from a qualified mental health professional, the treatment they receive may help to reduce or even alleviate their symptoms.

A proper diagnosis is critical as well as an accurate determination of the level of care that will be needed. Are office visits sufficient, or will medication or more intensive care be needed? Once these questions are answered, the following treatment options may be considered.

Psychotherapy

Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) is probably the most well-known and commonly used method to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. It teaches the person to become more mindful as they learn emotional regulation, distress tolerance, radical openness, and interpersonal effectiveness. Group therapy can be especially helpful since the patient will be able to learn and practice all of these techniques in a group setting.

A DBT intensive program is a good option for those that qualify. However, it requires a large time commitment that not everyone will be able to commit to. Consultation between sessions may be required to deal with occasional issues that come up and most of these programs offer them.

Medication

Although no medication exists at this time to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, some medications can help to treat symptoms of concurrent conditions such as anxiety or depression. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers can be successfully employed.

Hospitalization

Short hospitalization may be required for those who engage in self-harm or who have suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Those who have been diagnosed with BPD may find themselves spending a lot of time in emergency rooms or in psychiatric hospitals.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Psychology Today the best explanation of DBT.

“Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.”

Conclusion

Borderline Personality Disorder is not easy to treat, but it is helpful to remember that there is hope. If a person seeks help it is possible to recover and get relief from their symptoms when the proper treatment is employed. If you or someone you know is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, get help today. A new life awaits!

Feel free to browse our online counselor directory to find a counselor qualified to meet your needs.

Photos:
“Watching the Waves”, Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Watching the Sunset”, Courtesy of Linda Xu, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Standing in the Waves”, Courtesy of Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Waiting for a Lover”, Courtesy of Jonatan Becerra, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

5 Tips for Pursuing Christian Marriage Counseling

“A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal.”Anne Lamott

It has been truly said that although marriage is a precious gift of God, it is, in the end, a union of two sinners. This sin – inherited from our First Parents and perpetuated by each one of us – brings trials and troubles into marriage that sometimes make it necessary to seek Christian marriage counseling in order to overcome.

In his book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, Tim Keller writes, “While marriage is many things, it is anything but sentimental. Marriage is glorious but hard. It’s a burning joy and strength, and yet it is also blood, sweat, and tears; humbling defeats and exhausting victories.”

5 Tips When Pursuing Christian Marriage Counseling

Consider these five steps to as you prepare to seek Christian marriage counseling.

1. Recognize that you can’t do it alone.

When you and your spouse experience marriage problems, the first thing to recognize is that you may not be able to fix it on your own. The help of the Holy Spirit, working through a professional counselor who is focused on the Word of God, will bring about change in your relationship.

Maybe you’ve already tried it solve your problems by yourselves and have gotten nowhere, or maybe you just find that the spark has gone out of your marriage and you want to rekindle the sense of closeness and intimacy that you used to enjoy.

Recognizing that your marriage is not what it should be and that you need God’s power to fix it is the first step toward healing. God’s vision for your marriage is higher and greater than you could ever imagine.

2. Recognize that marriage problems are normal.

Your marriage problems may seem huge. Perhaps you recognize the same issues rearing their ugly head time after time and nothing ever seems to change. Maybe it feels like the two of you are just incompatible, and you begin to suspect that you tied the knot with the wrong person.

This is common. Since we live in a fallen, sinful world, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every marriage experiences stress or conflict of some kind for the simple reason that both spouses are sinners. Regardless of what you may be experiencing, you are not facing anything that has not been faced by married couples before.

Rather than end the marriage and begin looking elsewhere for love, however, this is an indicator that you need to turn to God in faith and let Him bring healing. In his book, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, Paul David Tripp writes, “One way God establishes beauty is by putting things that are different next to each other.”

Hiding your problems out of a sense of shame is a mistake. This is a fear-based reaction and is a common response of many Christians. They wrongly assume that church is only made up of couples who don’t wrestle with sin issues. Satan uses this assumption to keep couples in despair and isolation, preventing them from ever getting help.

Seeking help when you need it is always the best path. Of course, it will require humility and courage, and a conviction that there is something in your marriage that is worth saving.

Marriage is God’s invention, and because it is God’s intention that it be permanent, you should feel compelled to make the effort to save it. Many divorces occur because people didn’t seek help when they needed it but tried to do it solely on their own. As God’s Word says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors, they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

If you are willing to humble yourself and ask for help, you will find it. Professional marriage counselors are available to come alongside you and help you navigate the minefield of marital issues to find healing and hope for your marriage.

Once you have decided to get help, you need to face the challenge of finding the right counselor. Though it may be an intimidating task, you will want to find a trustworthy counselor that is a good fit for you. There are a number of counselors who offer Christian marriage counseling, and it may be a tough job to sort through all of your options.

This article will present some wisdom about how to find and contact a marriage counselor.

3. Recognize the value of personal recommendations.

Though it may seem simplistic, probably the best way to identify a trusted counselor is through word of mouth. Who have others used? Who do they recommend?

Though there are no guarantees in life, recommendations from those you love and trust can be a real help. The likelihood that you will actually find and meet with a good marriage counselor is dramatically increased when someone that you know and trust has had a good experience with them before.

In an article entitled, “How Do I Find a Good Marriage Counselor?” Dr. Robert Burbee writes, “Talk to someone you know who has gone for counseling or psychotherapy. In many cases, the best suggestions about who is good in your community are from trusted friends and family who have been in the same situation themselves of trying to find a good counselor or therapist. These individuals can give firsthand observation about a professional and what to expect. And, they are giving a client’s perspective which may be the most important.”

4. Recognize the importance of knowing both yourself and your counselor.

As you consider selecting a marriage counselor near you, a good first step is for you and your spouse to reflect on yourselves. Think about what the two of you want to accomplish through counseling and what your hopes are for your marriage. It is also good to evaluate what you want out of life and what you expect from each other.

You should also consider what type of counselor would be a good fit for both of you. Thinking about these things ahead of time will help you align your goals even before you start counseling. If you are not on the same page as your spouse regarding your goals and expectations for counseling, it can reduce the effectiveness of your Christian marriage counseling.

Of course, counselors come in many shapes and sizes and the sheer number of specializations and licenses that they may hold can be dizzying. So, secondly, it is helpful to spend time talking with any potential counselor about what they specialize in and how they are trained and licensed.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy professional website, “Marriage and Family Therapists broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks such as marriage and the family. MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.”

It is a good idea to take advantage of any free consultations over the phone prior to meeting with a counselor in order to get to know them a little bit and get a feel for whether the counseling relationship is likely to work out. This gives you the liberty to ensure that you are comfortable with this counselor before you commit to anything long-term.

This is a good time to ask any questions both of and about the counselor. You can ask about their counseling approach, values, experience, training, etc. Make a list of things to ask, especially about subjects that will increase your comfort level. Find out if they are a Christian and ask what that means to them and how it affects their counseling methods.

This is critical since you are about to commit to a counseling relationship and whether or not it is successful will depend in large measure on the kind and strength of the relationship that you develop with the counselor you select.

5. Learn to trust your instincts.

Though we are often led to think that first impressions are unimportant, they are not always wrong. “Intuition” or “gut instinct” is an important part of who we are as human beings and though we should not rush to judge a person’s character when we don’t know them, our first impressions should not be ignored.

As you interact with any given counselor via phone, email, or in person, you should give thought to how they make you feel. Do you feel like they are really listening to you? Do they seem interested in you and your problems, or do they come across as disinterested or bored? Do they appear to be concerned enough to provide help right away? Do they seem confident and hopeful about your chances for positive change through counseling?

Marriage requires a lot of hard work and can be difficult. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Every married couple will experience issues at some point in their marriage and will need help. If this is you, contact a Christian counselor. They will provide the best care and counsel possible and will help you navigate the complexities of marriage problems and help you and your spouse get back on the right track.

References:

AAMFT (2018). About Marriage and Family Therapists. Retrieved from: https://www.aamft.org/About_AAMFT/About_Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx

Burbee, R. (2014). How do you find a good marriage counselor? Retrieved from: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/your-spouse-is-not-the-enemy/how-do-you-find-a-good-marriage-counselor

Keller, T., & Keller, K. (2011). The meaning of marriage: facing the complexities of commitment with the wisdom of God. New York: Dutton.

Tripp, P.D. (2010). What did you expect? Redeeming the realities of marriage. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Weiner-Davis, M. (2009). How to choose a good marital therapist. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/divorce-busting/200910/how-choose-good-marital-therapist

Photos:
“Hold on”, Courtesy of Neonbrand, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Standing Firm”, Courtesy of Naassom Azevedo, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Walkin’ in the Rain”, Courtesy of Juulzgrand, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Loving couple”, Courtesy of Medium as muse, Flickr Creative Commons, CC0 License

Do You Need Anger Management Therapy?

You probably know someone who you feel needs help to manage their anger. Most people do. They look around, noting all those who act angry all the time or have frequent anger outbursts. But, sometimes, they fail to see that they too need a bit (or a lot) of help managing their own anger. What about you? Do you need anger management therapy?

Although it’s certainly true that many people who need assistance barely show any anger at all, are they really as happy and carefree as they seem to be? Or, are they internalizing the struggle they are having with anger? Those who suppress their anger need anger management therapy just as much, if not more.

Do you know an individual who’s having severe consequences due to anger? Maybe there is a person you know who appears to be all together. Still, they might be going through the storm alone because they are not expressing their angry feelings. The process of therapy for anger management is the first real step in the healing process of hurts, disappointments, rage, and other life controlling problems.

What is Anger Management Therapy?

Anger management therapy focuses on assisting a client in understanding their anger, pinpointing the root, and laying out healthy ways to deal with or cope with symptoms of anger.

Anger management therapy can take place within a group situation where there are many people who gather together and share their anger thoughts and feelings with others. Within a group situation, it’s hopeful to gain some considerable insight in regards to your individual anger through attentively listening to how the other members in the group express theirs.

Counseling for anger management or anger management group therapy is always open for everyone to join in. No criteria exist that must be met in order to receive help for anger problems. It’s a reality that anger tends to commonly exist in those who don’t express it outwardly and openly.

Those individuals would greatly benefit from therapy for anger management since they would find out how to identify and acknowledge exactly what they feel. They would also learn ways to share those feelings with others.

There is no rule that says you have to have lost control of your anger before you can get help. Management of anger is beneficial to those who are easily identifiable as being angry since their outburst is often a symptom stemming from another emotion which isn’t recognized yet. The expression they are currently exhibiting may also bring on even more complications and problems.

Therapy for managing anger can appear very different. It depends on who is participating. Whole families can be in therapy in which case, the whole family may react the same when it comes to being angry.

That warrants digging deeper to discover the norms of their family systems and what root issues might affect them all. Perhaps shouting and throwing things was passed down from generation to generation and it’s typical behavior in the unit. Or, maybe there was a lot of abuse which caused the explosions on a regular basis.

If it happens to be a couple who is in therapy and they are trying to figure out the best way to manage anger issues in the relationship, it is likely that the therapy will be centered on the patterns and responses they have toward each other. When children are part of counseling, however, a different variety of tools will most likely be implemented. These tools help children realize when they are upset and angry and other things concerning anger.

Group settings allow everyone a chance to listen to each other and then to reflect how their anger reveals itself when they’re interacting with other. The group is not controlled by anyone so it is truly a free flowing method that benefits all.

While group sessions may be challenging if an individual is just learning how to manage and identify their emotions of anger, but at the same time, it’s extremely rewarding too.

When Should I Seek Anger Management Therapy?

You may be experiencing a lot of suffering because of past or current hurts that could easily cause you to feel angry. Sometimes hurt comes out as anger. If this emotion seems to be getting more exaggerated, getting into therapy could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Failure to recognize that the behaviors within your life are actually being controlled by and connected to anger and frustration is typical. The emotions can be detached so you don’t see the connection like feeling angry when sadness is really at the root. Anger management is able to help you get to the source so you can deal with it effectively and have peace.

Maybe you’re expressing the anger you feel in a conducive and healthy way but are worried about the judgment that others inflict on you when you are angry. Or, maybe you’re upset because you feel that you should not even feel angry. Everyone has their own opinion of what the presence of anger means and no two views are exactly the same.

There are those who honestly believe that anger is alright and they express their anger in ways that don’t hurt themselves or to others. Others are confused about anger, especially about it in a Christian light. They are concerned about how God views it.

The Scriptures show us what the Bible says about anger and how Christians are expected to handle it. In Ephesians 4:26, we are commissioned not to fall into sin because of anger and not to allow the sun to set while being angry still. Proverbs 14:29 teaches us to control our anger and not to act foolishly because of it.

Even when reading the passages, you may be wondering how they apply to your personal life. Seeking counsel may be very helpful if you are feeling confused. It will encourage you to dig down to the roots so that you better understand your anger and discover how it fits into your spiritual life.

The Scriptures tell us that God becomes angry at times. Looking at how He expresses His anger can help us know how to manage our own. In Deuteronomy 32:19, we’re told that God grew angry and drew back. That tells us he did not act on his angry feelings. We can see in Romans 9:22 that God is still very patient even when angry.

Anger Management for Children

It is difficult for children who suffer from anger issues to display enough symptoms to meet the requirements for a mental health defined disorder that would place them in anger management counseling. Those who do may end up being diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, conduct disorder, or a similar category.

It’s imperative to have several family sessions so the family unit can learn healthy ways to respond to the child’s anger and to be helpful rather than harmful so as to support the child and not the problem. Being on the same page is priceless

Therapy isn’t just for children who’ve been formally diagnosed with anger related problems who can reap the benefits of counseling for anger management, but also, those who’ve experienced a significant loss or who have been in foster care or even those who may be angry about events they’ve been through, like their parents getting divorced. Medical illnesses can also be a root of anger. There are many hurtful or difficult situations which can be the deep-rooted reason a child reacts in anger.

It’s important to note that anger management counseling certainly does not have to spiral out of control before a child can experience counseling. Prevention can be attained by addressing behavioral issues before they reach the boiling point. Many problems can be avoided when you take this preventative approach.

Treatment for Anger Issues

Now you may be curious as to what you might get out of therapy for anger management. There are techniques that are implemented before anger is experienced and some that are used after you feel angry. These things will help you prepare in advance for all different situations and scenarios. The more you know, the more you can avoid being caught off guard.

Understanding the things that cause you to feel angry is vital when it comes to working through anger problems. Whether it’s traffic that angers you, the tone of voice people use or being taken for granted, pinpointing the source or sources is important to finding a solution.

In the midst of your irritation, you might not be able to find a workable solution but if you take a step back and process your feelings and your anger, you can put a plan in place. That is yet another anger management technique learned in therapy.

Another method for managing your anger is to discover how to ask questions that clarify the situation. Poor communication tends to escalate anger. Clarification can change everything in many cases. Because anger is often spun from misunderstandings, it’s wise to ask someone that you may have misunderstood for a bit of clarity.

Coping skills are imperative when it comes to managing anger, such as talking to a friend, enjoying music, painting or drawing, playing video games, and even writing. The object is to find something that distracts you from the anger you are feeling long enough to focus on the issue in a clear headed way. The idea is not to ignore the anger but to take enough time to cope with it instead of act on it. It’s all about finding healthy ways to manage anger.

Expressing anger tends to be a thing that individuals do or don’t do on a regular basis. There are times that expressing anger in the open leads to huge consequences like being arrested or losing a relationship. Learning effective ways to deal with and express anger can be difficult but constructive.

Counseling is an excellent way to help manage your anger. It is a spot that’s safe and you can start learning techniques that will help you deal with anger in a positive and good way. Counseling is also quite conducive for children. They are encouraged to take such creative actions as drawing pictures to get in touch with feelings of anger. Adults can even do the same. They can write down the words so it’s not necessary to hunt for them. Writing a letter is a good example of this type of therapy.

These techniques are just a few of the many tools available through counseling. If you or someone you know struggles with anger, reach out today and get the help you are longing for. Our counselors are here to walk with you on your journey to be free from anger once and for all.

Photos:
“Argument”, Courtesy of Vera Arsic, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Campfire”, Courtesy of Volha Krayeva, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Shirtless Boy”, Courtesy of Vance Osterhout, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Overlook”, Courtesy of Mc7000, Pixabay.com, CC0 License

Bible Verses about Sadness to Give You Hope

Sometimes it’s hard for believers to allow themselves to feel sad. After all, we say to ourselves, isn’t the joy of the Lord our strength, and shouldn’t we rejoice in all things? This places an enormous amount of pressure on us to grin and bear whatever we may be going through because “it’s what we ought to do.”

Allowing ourselves to feel sad may feel like we’re betraying our faith or are being “bad Christians.” Moreover, we may feel like we’re letting the people around us down. Many of us simply struggle to sit with despair, and we do not have the language to articulate our sadness and lament.

The picture we get from the Scriptures is more complex, and we learn from the Bible that sadness is a valid human response to situations in life. What does the Bible have to say about sadness and despair?

Jesus, the man of sorrows

About 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah spoke about the Servant who would bear our infirmities and sorrows, a ‘man of sorrows…familiar with suffering(Isaiah 53:3). This Servant was Jesus. Apart from his suffering on the cross, we also know that Jesus felt loss at the death of his friend Lazarus, even when he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead.

The famously short verse “Jesus wept(John 11:35) shows us that sadness in the face of circumstances such as death is entirely normal. Jesus felt pain, and he expressed it – it is a human thing to do.

Sometimes, your tears are your food

The book of Psalms, which was the songbook of the ancient Israelites and is a go-to book for many today, conveys the gamut of human emotions. From rage, fear, peace, joy, sorrow and so much more, Psalms is the place to go to see people being human in worship before God.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? …I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. – Psalm 6:2-3, 6-7

Here, the psalmist cries out to God in the middle of despair because of hardship that he is experiencing, possibly because of his own disobedience. His enemies seize upon this to mock him and vent their animosity.

Sometimes you might end up in a tough spot because of poor choices that you’ve made. And then some people in your life may choose to pile on criticism, making you feel even worse. The anguish and the tears that result from this are only natural. The cry “How long, O Lord, how long?” comes from the depths of our being – we want the pain and the hostility to end.

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3

At other times, through no fault of our own, we end up in dire circumstances. We have been faithful and honest, but the result was getting fired by a corrupt superior. People mock us, “Ha! So much for this God of yours. So much for being honest!” This is heartbreaking. The psalmist paints a portrait familiar to those who have grappled with such deep sadness – tears become your food day and night.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?Psalm 13:1, 2

This deep darkness where it feels as if God himself is hiding his face, and the psalmist continually wrestles with his own thoughts, seems familiar to those wrestling with sadness and depression. It feels never-ending, and one feels forgotten. The psalmist is honest before God about these feelings, asking God to intervene.

Lamentations

There is an entire book of the Bible about sadness and lament in the wake of devastating events. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by an invading army, the city lies deserted, feels haunted and is full of groaning from those left behind as they search for bread.

This is why I weep,” the writer says, “and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed(Lamentations 1:16).

Sometimes we are confronted by scenes of misery and destruction, as in the wake of a natural disaster or a man-made catastrophe. In the face of dispiriting scenes, the writer goes on – “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city(Lamentations 2:11).

We can mourn and be sad . . . but we have hope

Sadness is, unfortunately, a part of human life. The encouragement believers have is that we can mourn and be sad about life circumstances but with the hope that the Lord delivers us from our sorrows. It is not a hopeless, endless sadness.

In trying to encourage Christians in Thessalonica who were concerned about their loved ones who had died, Paul says believers are not, “to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him(1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Our grief is not tinged with hopelessness, but with the knowledge that there is a life beyond this one.

Additionally, many of the psalms have a note of hope in them – hope that God would intervene to deliver them from their enemies and their circumstances. Psalm 42, where the writer speaks about their tears being their food night and day, has this refrain: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”.

Psalm 13, as heavy as it is, ends this way: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me(Psalm 13:5, 6).

In Lamentations 3:19-23, Jeremiah penned these well-known verses: “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In other words, these writers trusted that God cared enough for them to not leave things as they were. That kind of hope is precious because it helps us to keep our sadness in perspective, reminding us that God will set all things right.

There will come a time . . . 

Sadness and all other things that cause us to mourn have an end date. There will come a time when all sadness ends. This gives us hope for today and tomorrow. At the end of all things, this is the scene the Bible paints:

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with people, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” – Revelation 21:3, 4

Conclusion

We cannot and should not pretend that we aren’t sad when we are. To do so diminishes our experience and that of others. It also denies the reality that we’re living in a broken world where things happen that cause sadness.

Beyond the grave, however, there is resurrection. Beyond this present darkness, there is light. Beyond this current hardship, there is liberation. No situation is beyond hope in God’s power to redeem and restore. We mourn, yes, but with hope.

If you are feeling sad or depressed, consider speaking with a Christian counsellor to help you process these feelings. Not only will they help you to see what the Bible says about this, but they will also give you tools to effectively engage this area of your life.

Photos:
“Down”, Courtesy of Omid Armin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Grieving Alone”, Courtesy of Francisco Gonzalez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Isolated”, Courtesy of Gabriel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Grieving in the Woods”, Courtesy of Sam Burriss, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

15 Verses for Grief: Hope in the Midst of Loss

If you’ve lost a loved one, it’s natural to feel gutted and in shock. You might feel overcome with emotion, lost, unsure of where to turn, and as though a heavy weight has taken up residence on your shoulders.

You’ve probably thought many of the following:

  • I’d give anything for one more hug, kiss, or to hear her voice one more time
  • I feel guilty for not spending more time with him
  • This is like a nightmare I cannot wake up from
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this
  • Why did God have to take him?
  • She was my hero; I talked to her every day—what will I do now?

Grief can be overwhelming and the way you process it will look different than the way another person processes it. Your experience is unique to you and the journey to the other side of it will not be the same. If your relationship with the individual was healthy and close, you might feel an extreme sense of loneliness. If your relationship was strained, you may feel immense guilt or confusion.

Grief is not linear. It can be messy and mixed and some people may experience stages of grief and others may not. It can come in waves and ebb and flow. The wonderful news, however, is that regardless of how grief is taking shape in your life, the Lord is present in the midst of it.

He sees what you are going through, the emotions running through your heart and mind, and that you need comfort. And, He has provided strength for you through the scriptures as you navigate your grief. There are many bible verses about loss, but we have put together a list of the top 21 we feel speak to the depth of what you may be experiencing and how God shows up in the midst of it.

15 Comforting Bible Verses for Grief

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

In this verse, we see God’s nature revealed. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. When you’ve experienced the death of a loved one and feel brokenhearted and wounded, remember that God will bind you up and heal you.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow week with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. – Psalm 31:19

This is a cry from David’s heart. Many people who have lost a loved one don’t know what to say to God. They go silent and can’t bring themselves to pray. When you don’t know what to say to God or what to pray, let this scripture be the cry of your heart. David felt just like you feel, and if all you can do is recite this scripture every single day, give yourself permission to do so. God in His mercy will hear your cry and be merciful.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

This scripture gives us another glimpse into the character of God. He is close to you and He will save you.

Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

When the nights seem long, when darkness surrounds you, remind yourself that God’s word promises that “joy comes in the morning.” Things are never as dark as they appear in the night. The joy may not come immediately the very next morning, but each morning as time passes, the joy edges closer.

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her heart. – Hosea 2:14

This verse is another great comfort. It reminds us that God speaks tenderly to our hearts. In this time of grief and mourning, as you’re searching for verses about death, remember that some of the most comforting scriptures might be the ones that don’t even mention death, but speak to how God relates to you. During this time, when your heart is fragile, it’s a great comfort to know that the Lord will speak tenderly to your heart.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26

Use this Scripture as a declaration and reminder of the hope you have in the midst of your grief. Your flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of your heart. Lean on Him in your confusion and pain.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

This verse is a favorite of many who are looking for Bible verses for death. You can rest in the assurance that comfort will come to you when you mourn and you will be blessed because of that comfort. God will not leave you alone in your grief. His word promises that He’s near and He will often send people to surround you in your time of suffering.

My eyes have grown dim with grief. My whole frame is but a shadow. – Job 17:7

In the midst of his grief, Job was vulnerable and communicated how he felt. Cry out just like Job. Tell God how you feel, tell your friends how you feel, or journal how you feel. You do not have to brush your grief under a rug or bury it in hopes that it will go away. Give expression to your feelings and allow them to pour out.

In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

This verse reminds us that, as Christians, our trials are temporary and that they will result in praise, honor, and glory when Jesus Christ is revealed. Your eternal home and perspective shift the permanence of what you’re currently feeling. Although what you’re going through is very difficult, it will also strengthen your faith.

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion. So great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. – Lamentations 3:31-33

God shows compassion and His love is unfailing. This verse also reminds us that God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone, which is a great truth to remember when you are tempted to blame God.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14

The Lord is a very present helper. Imagine Him taking your grief in His hand and examining it. Next, imagine him becoming your helper. God’s sees your trouble and His nature is to help you.

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. – Romans 9:2

You are not alone in your feelings and grief. This verse is a reminder that many before you—even those will tremendous faith—experienced great sorrow and anguish of heart.

When you need to put words to your grief, but can’t, turn to this Scripture. Recite this Scripture to God or to a friend. Allow yourself to mourn and take comfort that others have mourned and are mourning just like you.

And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. – John 11:19

This Bible verse for the passing of a loved one reminds us that God has knit within us a desire to comfort others after a loss. Ask the Lord to send many believers to comfort you in your time of loss, and thank Him as He does. This support and community will be a crucial part of your healing and recovery.

David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him. – 1 Chronicles 19:10

This is another reminder of how God impresses upon His people to show kindness and express sympathy. Ask God to surround you with people who will show kindness and sympathy as you navigate your grief, whether it takes you a few months or years.

You may have people in your life who don’t understand what you’re going through or who grow impatient with you as you try to find your way out of grief, so it can be very important to be surrounded by those who show kindness.

Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – Jeremiah 31:13

Again, this verse points to God’s heart for replacing hurt and pain with comfort and joy.

We hope these verses for grief and the nature of God as comforter and healer assist you on your journey as you navigate the loss of a loved one.

Save this link and return to it again and again when you need to turn to the Lord for strength. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, share it with them as a source of comfort.

Christian Grief Counseling

A Christian counselor can be a great help and support when you’ve lost someone you love and it is not uncommon for many people who have suffered loss to see a counselor on their healing journey. Contact us to learn more about our Christian counseling for the loss of a loved one.

Photos:
“Lily Pads”, Courtesy of Bady QB, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “The Word of God”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Flowers in a Jar”, Courtesy of Autumn Mott Rodeheaver, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wheat”, Courtesy of Tim Mossholder, Unsplash.com, CC0 License