Dear Church Marriage Counselor,
I would have had you at least partly to blame because of your shabby counseling sessions about a decade ago if my marriage was problematic today. (Thank God we sought and are seeking knowledge via other means before and after the wedding which seemed to have been your focus back then).
For my fiance (now husband) and I, it was more like just marking a register of attendance at a class that was a compulsory exercise for the institution that set it up but added practically no value to the students. The counselor was totally evasive at the rather too few sessions we had with him (Two to be precise. Our third meeting was to rehearse our arrangement and comportment at the wedding ceremony so that the Church’s public image was preserved).
He never touched on the subject of effective communication, sex, in-laws, children, conflict resolution or even ten, conflict resolution or even the purpose of marriage. What then did he talk to us about you may ask. It was just some not-so-important stuff that he talked about at both sessions; I must say. Maybe I would have told him how not good enough he was doing if I had the courage I have today.
How I look back at how shallow what we gathered from you was and shake my head at how negligent you were with our destiny.
Who knows how many young people like us are having unavoidable issues in their marriages just because you didn’t take the counselling period with them very seriously.
How could you have been given a huge opportunity to possibly save a marriage from future hassles and you blow it away just like that? Know ye not that the ‘blood’ of that marriage may be demanded of you when it crashes?
Don’t assume that that lady/guy sitting before you know all they should about the marriage institution. You will be surprised at how novice they are about these issues. By the way, it is better to be safe than sorry. Reiterating what they already know is not a bad idea after all.
You need to realize that knowledge is key to their marital success.
Or could it be that you are deficient in knowledge when it comes to the marital institution as God as designed it?
Please, take a detailed course of training in marriage counseling if you must serve in the marriage committee as a counselor. The fact that you have been married for several years is not enough criterion to become a marriage counselor.
We know you cannot possibly touch on every issue that the couple may encounter in their marital journey.
But I plead with you to make the counseling sessions as holistic as possible.
If need be, take time out to design a comprehensive marriage counseling guide to be used by your church.
Most importantly, let the Holy Spirit guide you through the counselling sessions. If you listen to Him, He will lead you to touch on the aspects of married life most important to their unique relationship that you need to really focus on.
I remember my experience with you a lot but this time I felt prompted to write you a letter not because I hold anything against you but because of other couples that will yet have counseling sessions with you.
OMOSEBI Mary Omolola, PhD
Concerned Alumnus of your Counseling Institute.
P. S. Never seize seeking knowledge as a person. Just like you may possibly not get everything needed to succeed in life from a formal school, you need to walk the path of continuous education if you must succeed in any aspect of your life; marriage inclusive. Get knowledge about marriage from the author of marriage by studying the Bible and invest in buying and reading books and attending marriage seminars.
P. P. S. Feel free to share your counseling experience and how premarital counseling has helped your marriage.