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Why Seek Marital Counseling

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Why Seek Counseling and Therapy

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Why Seek Premarital Counseling

Suffering that Transforms

Our suffering is not without purpose. God’s plan is what is best for us (although perhaps not what we would choose). In His mercy, we are privileged to participate in the usurping of evil and the transforming of sorrow. Yet, some redemption wait’s for eternity. However, we know God remembers and redeems every last tear. Until that time, He offers reminders found in beauty, food, good friends and sexual intimacy that whisper there is more. That more is found in God as we wait for the Great Consummation. He loves us enough to not give us what we want--what in the end will kill us. Rather, He gives us what we desire most–Himself.

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Waiting For Love

To wait–the phrase is tantamount to torture for me. Few trials elicit more anguish than longing for something, only to have its fulfillment impeded. Even the Psalmist states that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Ever been dehydrated to the point of wanting to pay a ridiculous price for some cool libation? How about needing to be somewhere in a hurry only to find yourself behind a driver who feels it’s their civic duty to meander slower than the speed limit? Have you ever fallen in love and yearned to have your feelings reciprocated? To thirst, yearn, and desire all have the quality of hoping for something just beyond our reach. Often, I’d prefer to be pro-active–trying to avert the uncomfortable tension of an anticipatory situation. So I play "dodge the slowpokes" at the grocery store by detecting the fastest bagger and checkout clerk, only to be derailed by a customer who wants to write a check or has an item with no price.

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Extramarital Affairs: How Do They Happen?

John Gottman, a premiere researcher in the dynamics of marital relationships, has a different view from conventional wisdom which says that conflicts slowly erode the marital bonds, and that teaching couples communication techniques on how to fight fair will lead to conflict resolution. While this maybe true in a small percentage of situations, Gottman discovered that "69 percent of all marital conflicts never get resolved because they are about personality differences between couples. What's critical is not whether they resolve conflicts but whether they can cope with them." It seems that fights and disagreements are intrinsic to all relationships, however it is couples who don't let the fighting contaminate the other parts of the relationship that have lasting and fulfilling marriages.

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How Does My Heart Need Reaching?

Surprise, enlightenment, repentance, hope, and joy--all parts of my experience as I sat under the teaching of Dr. Larry Crabb during his Reach the Heart Experience. Good teachers invite, challenge, and leave you coming back for more. As he described the radical shift needed in our hearts to have authentic community and live in transforming relationships, hunger and hope were ignited with a slight bit of trepidation, knowing the cost of what lay ahead--seeing my tarnished and ugly motivations. Real community and spiritual formation aren't pipe dreams. To give us vision for how true community functions, God reveals it through the unity and sacrifice of the Trinity--the intimate dance of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we are all invited!

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Leaving a Legacy

All parents will wound their children. It's a given due to the curse of living outside Eden. Yet, it is a rare gift to model encountering the enemies of our heart and how to struggle well. The redemptive lessons are immeasurable and the impact substantial when parents exhibit strength that is counterbalanced by humility and honesty. Children need strength that offers structure, the protection of limits and the ability to rest in something larger than themselves. There is no question that children will see their parents fail. The real question is whether parents will acknowledge their flawed humanity and thus affirm to their children that what they see is indeed true.

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The Primary Goal of Christian Counseling

Christianity Today talked with Dr. Larry Crabb--well known author and speaker--about Christian counseling. CT: What's the first thing you would suggest to Christians who want to become counselors?

CRABB: The first thing I'd suggest is that they ask themselves what they fundamentally believe about the root purpose of counseling. What are they trying to accomplish when they sit down with a client who is anorexic, in a bad marriage or whatever. What's their root thinking when trying to get a girl to start eating again or a marriage straightened out. All are worthy ambitions, but they must be secondary.

Our highest purpose as human beings isn't to try to make this life work. It's to reflect the character of God--of our Creator, Savior and Lord--in the middle of a life that doesn't work. About the first thing Cain did after God judged him and told him he was going to wander around the rest of his life was to build a city. The implication was--forget this wandering stuff, I'm going to build myself a city and make my life work. God says in Hebrews that he's ashamed to be called the God of a people who are looking for a better city than the one they'll ultimately have in heaven.

CT: Is it wrong for Christian counselors to ask God to take away the pain in their clients' lives?

CRABB: The Bible says our primary focus is to glorify God. If you have any compassion at all for your fellow man, of course you want to relieve the pain. But there's a danger that god will become someone to be used rather than Someone to worship. He becomes useful for putting your life together--the way you want it. The tricky thing is, there's nothing wrong with wanting your life put together. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good marriage, enjoying your kids and managing your money in a faithful way.

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Margaret Bernhart Profile

Margaret Bernhart LMHC

Margaret Bernhart

LMHC

2050 Kings Circle S
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
904-510-2567





One of the most profound desires of every human being is to be known, observed and touched by the soul of another. -MB