Choosing a Marriage Friendly Counselor

Marriage Counselor - AdobeStock_93685404 copyWe understand that not all of you have a wide selection of counselors available to choose from when it comes to getting help for your marriage. But we want to caution you on something. Please know that all counselors are not “marriage friendly.” Some may be good counselors for many issues, but when it comes to marriage counseling, they aren’t as competent. They can actually cause more of a division between you, than unite you.

You truly need someone to help you, who works specifically with marriage issues.

Be Choosy in Finding a Counselor

“If you needed open-heart surgery, how would you pick a surgeon? Would you go to just anyone on your list of insurance providers? I doubt it. When your life is on the line, most people research which doctors are experts, which ones performed the most heart surgeries and which had the best outcomes.

“When you select a marriage counselor, you are choosing someone to perform emotional open-heart surgery on your relationship. It’s important to choose someone who is an expert, who specializes in doing couples therapy and who believes in the commitment of marriage.” (From the Relationships Work article, “What is ‘Marriage Friendly’ Therapy?”)

When your marriage is troubled, please look for a “pro-marriage, marriage friendly” counselor or therapist, to help you get past that rough spot.

“What’s a pro-marriage counselor, and what’s the alternative?

“A pro-marriage counselor is a therapist who is not neutral about the marriage—one who actively advocates for the marriage, not for one or both individuals. If I were going to choose a marriage counselor, I would insist on someone who would fight for my marriage, not just convince me that I deserve to be happy. Too often in the U.S., that is not the type of counselor you will find.” (Lori Lowe, from her web site article, “What’s a Pro-Marriage Counselor and How Do You Find One?”)

I absolutely agree with Lori. After knowing what we have learned through the ministry of Marriage Missions we would NEVER recommend a counselor who ISN’T marriage friendly. We have seen too many marriages destroyed by counselors who are “neutral.” When you are having marital problems, you need an advocate. You need someone who will help you fight FOR your marriage, and not separate you. Please know that many counselors are not “marriage friendly.”

In a USA Today article, Sharon Jason writes:

“Most couples probably don’t know that there is a long-standing debate among practitioners. They are debating over whether therapists should actively try to save a marriage or whether they should remain neutral. These counselors treat the couple as two individuals for whom divorce possibly could be the best outcome.

“William Doherty, a veteran marriage and family therapist at the University of Minnesota, is among those who take the marriage-saving view. He believes therapists have been too neutral, particularly since the 1970s, and have focused on the individual. He blames the period for the trend that he believes has rendered therapists so neutral that they are sabotaging marriages.

Doherty also is among those who say that too many therapists aren’t sufficiently trained to counsel couples. He says the profession isn’t regulated consistently, so consumers don’t really know what they are getting.” (From the article, “Hearts Divide Over Marital Therapy”)

That is what we are warning you about in this article. Please do what you can to learn more about your counselor before you have them counsel you in marriage. By doing your due-diligence on this issue, you can actually help to save your marriage.

Mentor Couple

Some spouses choose to talk with a married mentor couple rather than a marriage therapist. And sometimes, that can be helpful. It would be better to meet with a married couple who cares about helping preserve your marriage, than a counselor who isn’t. And many aren’t.

The following is a linked article written by Paul Byerly. He encourages you to make sure you work with someone who actually can do more good, than harm. Concerning this matter it would be good to read:


Therapists and Counselors

As far as therapists and counselors go, not all therapists are created equal —so beware! They can be a wonderful help —often much beyond what you can do on your own. But there ARE some incompetent ones out there, as far as helping with marriage issues.

As marital therapist, Michelle Weiner Davis says,

“Truth be told, seeking professional advice for your marital problems is no guarantee things will improve. In fact, many people have told me that their so-called marriage therapy even made things worse. Most therapists are well-meaning, but not always qualified to do marital therapy. That’s why I want to offer some guidelines for you to consider should you seek professional help to improve your marriage.”

So, I’m guiding you to her web site so you can read what she has to say on this subject.

But first, I want you to know that Michelle’s website is not faith-based. However, we haven’t found much that she says that would go against God’s principles —quite to the contrary. She gives some great advice (with this article included). But you should be aware that it’s not a faith-based web site we’re sending you to view. Please glean through the information given, accordingly.

Please click onto the web site link below to read the following article:


Keep In Mind:

Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10)

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

If you have additional tips to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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Filed under: Marriage Counseling & Mentoring

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2 responses to “Choosing a Marriage Friendly Counselor

  1. (UNITED STATES) My husband and I have been together for 4 years, living together for 3, and married for 2 1/2. We have a 17 month old little girl. There have been issues in our relationship in the past that have slowly built up over time, but seem to have really blown up since our daughter has been born. It’s mainly little things, like disrepect, arguing and bickering, being opponents rather than teammates, the desire to dominate one another and the desire to not be dominated by each other. I’m starting to feel my patience run thin. I have recently become a saved Christian and am making an avid effort to be as involved in church and Bible study as I possibly can. I attend both once a week. I can
    not talk or have a conversation about God with my husband because it leads to arguments and fighting. We don’t seem to be equally yolked as they say in our household. What can I do besides pray to help fix my marriage?

  2. Please pray that I will be able to release the feelings of bitterness, hurt, and loneliness –that I feel when my husband comes home, and that he will really be the Godly leader of this household. We are suffering because of it! Pray for the joy of the Lord –to infuse my spirit, as well as his. I’m really discouraged now and I feel lonely and abandoned. My marriage is dying and I don’t want it to.