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When It’s Embarrassing to Ask for Counseling

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When husbands and wives reach an impasse, they must be willing to get objective, outside help.

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Marriage partners can easily detect when their spouse is offering a half-hearted apology. When we offend our husband or wife, we must pray that God will bring us to a point of genuine grief over the sins that we have committed against him or her. Although neither spouse has the right to judge the offender’s depth of sincerity, true brokenness over sin goes a long way toward restoring peace and harmony to the marriage relationship.


One way to express humility before the Lord is to ask Him to allow us to understand the offense as it has been viewed through our partner’s eyes. As God describes it in His Word, what often appears to be a splinter of an offense in our own perspective is frequently perceived as a log-size offense in the eyes of the person we have offended.


As we invite God to break our hearts with our sin, we come to realize the awfulness of the hurt that we have inflicted upon our spouse. We should ask the Lord to grant us tears of contrition for our sin, as a way of demonstrating to our mate the genuineness of our repentance.

If it becomes necessary, we must be willing to humble ourselves by getting outside help. There are times in many marriage relationships when both parties reach an impasse in communication. In spite of every attempt the couple makes to work out a solution, the pervasive problem seems to follow a predictable pattern, and invariably ends in a deadlock of frustration and further alienation.

One partner may try the manipulative approach in an attempt to avoid facing the conflict squarely. “Let’s just forget the whole thing. It’s all my fault,” he or she may claim, hoping to postpone the misery. This is a dead-end attempt and only serves to compound the problem. There is no shame in needing objective help. Most marriages—even healthy, growing ones—experience such a need at one time or another.

In James 4:6 we read,

God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble.

We only hurt ourselves when we are too proud to ask others for intervention and help. Couples who are experiencing marital difficulties should seek the advice of their pastors, or ask for counsel from wise and trusted Christian friends who will advise them from the Word of God. They should follow the exhortation found in James 5:16,

Confess your sins to one another that you might be healed.


God did not design us to live our lives independently, but rather to live our lives interdependently. We need other Christians to sharpen us, to counsel us, to encourage us and speak the truth in love to us—whether we think we need to hear it, or not.


God is a very present help in time of need. Nothing is too difficult for Him. He is able and willing to heal broken relationships when we admit our need for Him. If we cry out to the Rock of our salvation, we will find healing.


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