The One-Two Punch
There are different kinds of punches in boxing. There’s a jab, which is a quick stabbing punch that is thrown from the forward hand. A jab is used to score, bruise, and set up another type of punch. Then there are overhand, uppercuts, and hook punches, which are designed to pound flesh, break bones, and ultimately knock out your opponent. The best boxers learn how to deliver different types of combination punches at different targets. For instance, a good boxer will jab to the face then throw an overhand punch and follow that punch with an uppercut to their opponent’s chin. The jab is basically a diversion for the one-two punch knock-out combination to follow. Good boxers know that the best way to defeat an opponent is with a combination of approaches.
Some years ago, I became very frustrated with my marriage counseling. So frustrated that I almost quit doing marriage counseling altogether. Understand, I was spending huge chunks of my week trying to help couples fix their messed up marriages, and I wasn’t seeing great success. Here’s how my typical week went… I would see two to five married couples per week and run them through a series of lessons designed to help them sort and solve the problems in the relationship. In session one, I would try to get rid of a couple’s communication problems. Then in session two (a week later), I would try to help the couple get rid of their anger and resentment issues. Then in session three, I would try to help them quit disrespecting each other. Then in session four, I would… You get the point. Basically, I was trying to help couples remove all the bad stuff from their marriage.
Looking back, there were two wrong assumptions that misguided my marriage counseling:
- First, I believed I could eliminate problems from a couple’s marriage without changing their beliefs.
When I first started doing marriage counseling, I believed my role as a counselor was to teach couples what they needed to change in their marriage. But, the longer I counseled the more I realized that messed up marriages are just a byproduct of messed up men and women. For example, if a husband enters marriage thinking verbal and physical abuse is the only way to get respect from a woman, he will verbally and physically abuse his wife. You see, his wrong (incorrect) belief that force is the best way to get respect from a woman will cause him to think hitting his wife is right and acceptable. A wrong belief caused wrong thinking, which resulted in wrong behavior! And the sad reality is, a husband will continue to verbally and physically abuse his wife to get respect from her until his wrong belief about what respect is and how to get it are corrected.
It took me some time, but eventually, I learned that the ultimate goal of marriage counseling is not about getting a husband or wife to stop doing something that is inappropriate. The ultimate goal of marriage counseling is to teach husbands and wives the right way to live! The goal of any type of counseling is to show people how to change their wrong beliefs into right beliefs so they can think, feel, and behave godly. In short, I learned the only way to rid a marriage of its problems is to change the married couple!
- Second, I believed my job was to help couples move their marriage from bad to better.
The truth is, married couples want more than a good marriage. Married couples want a great marriage! Men and women don’t get married to experience good; they get married to experience great!
So one day, when I was at the peak of my frustration, I decided I was going to stop helping couples rid their marriage of problems, and start teaching couples how to think, feel, and behave like Christ. After a careful study of scripture, I figured out there are ten habits that couples have to practice to build a dream marriage. These ten habits (change, honesty, confrontation, forgiveness, submission, spending, sex, parenting, priorities, and commitment), are the foundation for a magnificent marriage!
How is my 10 Habits approach to marriage counseling different than normal marriage counseling?
1st – The 10 Habits approach to marriage counseling fixes marriages by fixing married couples.
Most marriage counseling is about removing problems from a marriage with the hope a bad marriage will become a good marriage. “Remove it” marriage counseling is negative, tiring, and painful, which is why so many couples decide on divorce after just a few sessions of counseling. The 10 Habits approach to marriage counseling is positive, hopeful, and helpful, which is why couples are using it to build the marriage they really want!
2nd – The 10 habits approach to marriage counseling shows couples how to build a great marriage!
“Remove it” marriage counseling may help a couple move their relationship from bad to better, or maybe even better to good, but it cannot mold a marriage magnificent. Why? Because “remove it” marriage counseling is only focused on removing bad stuff from a relationship. It is like a boxer who just keeps throwing the same one punch. In the 10 Habits approach to marriage counseling, I show couples how to change themselves from the inside out so they think, feel, and behave appropriately. 10 Habits marriage counseling removes the wrong beliefs that are sabotaging a couples’ relationship and shows them how to build the marriage they really want. It is a one-two punch!
If you’re considering marriage, or you want to improve your marriage, I encourage you to purchase my book: The 10 Habits of Magnificent Marriages. It is available in paperback or eBook through Amazon.