Kill all the marriage counselors? Surprisingly sound advice

Why am I not a marriage counselor?

I got my degree in Psychology. I had – and continue to have – a vested interest in how we interact with each other and our environment. Interpersonal human relationships remain intriguing and mysterious to me, as they should to most people who live on this earth.

And it’s easy enough to become a counselor. Take a few tests, hang out your shingle, and try helping people. But there was something holding me back. I distinctly recall a professor telling me that even if I could only save one in every ten marriages, I would be making the world a better place. But a nine out of ten failure rate just seemed a hugely depressing possibility and on top of which, I have always been a huge proponent of the self.

We all need help from time to time. But you don’t run to a marriage counselor the instant you argue with your spouse. Long-term relationships require a whole lot of hard work and understanding, and unless you’re willing to put in the time, the best counseling in the world won’t help.

And to summarize my points, here comes Laura Doyle’s new book; it’s fittingly called, First, Kill all the Marriage Counselors: Modern-day Secrets to Being Desired, Cherished and Adored for Life (BenBella Books, June 2, 2015). Her marriage was on the rocks and unfortunately, therapy only made it worse. All that did was show the couple they were simply too far apart, which is hardly encouraging. So, she started talking to happily married women and discovered that “everything she had heard in marriage counseling was wrong.”

Marriage counseling doesn’t always work.

In fact, there are basic truths, like simply “treating your man with respect,” which of course should be reciprocal. The interesting part is that I’m looking at this from a man’s perspective, despite the fact that the majority of individuals who buy this book will unfailingly be female. When I consider points like the one’s Doyle makes, it reminds me of my days in college, when that indistinct something kept me away from the field of counseling.

Sometimes, we over-complicate things. Worse, we fail to acknowledge our own ability to learn and grow. We go to the doctor when we sniffle. We take an expensive class when we want to learn about something. Sure, marriage issues can be daunting and frustrating, but what Doyle is saying makes a lot of sense. I’m not a big fan of making it sound like marriage counseling is worthless and everyone should actually avoid couples therapy, but Doyle isn’t really saying that, either. What she’s saying is that we can transform ourselves and our relationships.

Marriage: You can help fix it

Yes, we can. Yes, I can. That’s the crux of Doyle’s message, and it’s a big help that she takes a very modern approach to the issue. This makes the book highly readable and enjoyable, as well as accessible. It’s the sensible follow-up to Doyle’s 2001 book, The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide to Finding Intimacy, Passion, and Peace with Your Man (Fireside Books).  Sometimes, I think we’ve become a society woefully lacking in practicality and personal drive, which is why I must ardently applaud Doyle.

And by the way, when you take the dedicated, interested approach, you retrieve some power and get rid of the helplessness. Now what’s wrong with that?

Recommended Reading:

Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving: Practical Advice on Making Your Marriage Strong by Charles R. Swindoll (Thomas Nelson, 2008)

There are multiple ways to view marriage and companionship. For instance, take pastor and Bible teacher Charles R. Swindoll, who advises us to accept the fact that “the world has changed, and it’s going to keep changing.” And in a world where men are occasionally ashamed to be men, and women are occasionally ashamed to be women, there’s more confusion than ever. The key is a healthy helping of hope and plenty of practical knowledge, which you can find in this book.

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