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Christian Counseling for Marriage and Family

If a couple comes to you considering divorce, what strategies might you use to help them find hope? What boundary issues need to be taken into consideration?

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If I were to consult a couple, considering divorce, I would have employed several strategies. First of all, I would have asked each of them to name those aspects of marriage which they value and like most of all. By doing so, these people would be able to see why their wedlock is worth preserving. Moreover, these couple needs to understand how each of them perceives the state of being married and what they expect from one another. The key issue is that these differences in perception of the family are the underlying cause of poor relationships (Clinton & Sibcy, 2006). Secondly, I would ask them to point out those moments which make them consider the idea of divorce. In this case, honesty will be the key to success: a person, who avoids speaking about a certain problem, will never be able to solve it. A counselor should also ask the partners whether they have always tried to forgive one another, and how often they managed to do it. It should be noted that a therapist should also take into account several boundary issues, for instance, the degree of intimacy between the clients and the counselor, the possibility of physical contact, the privacy of the patients, and so forth (Sanders, 1997). Overall, a counselor should not confuse the role of an advisor with the role of an intimate friend.

Eggerichs speaks about the importance of love and respect in marriage. In your opinion, how does balancing work and family potentially complicate a couple’s ability to pursue these values?

For many people, it is very difficult to balance work and family and to pursue such values as love and respect. First, we need to speak about work stress which disrupts family relations. There are many cases when one of the partner’s vents his/her spleen upon the other because of the problems at the workplace (Eggerichs, 2004, p 13). The most common pretexts are the necessity to work overtime, conflicts with colleagues, or even traffic jams. This is one of how work intrudes into the life of the family. Secondly, we need to mention that for some people work is often associated with respect and prestige, and it overweighs the importance of family. As a result, the partners are no longer able to maintain relationships with one another.

How do you think the media’s characterization of husbands (in movies, TV, etc) encourages or discourages men from pursuing relationships as described in the “C-O-U-P-L-E” model outlined by Eggerichs?

Emerson Eggerichs provides the following behavior model for husbands; it is called C-O-U-P-L-E (Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty, and Esteem) (2004, p 80). However, modern mass media cultivate a different image of a husband. In particular, this person must not demonstrate any signs of weakness as such behavior is often viewed as something shameful. This stereotypical portrayal of husbands completely contradicts the principle of openness. Additionally, husbands are portrayed as people who dominate the family life, and such stereotypical descriptions may undermine the principle of esteem. On the whole, the images imposed on men by mass media do not always contribute to harmonious family life.

In your opinion, what factors in today’s culture hinder wives from pursuing the “C-H-A-I-R-S” approach to relationships as described by Eggerichs?

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The model C-H-A-I-R-S (Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, and Sexuality) proposed by Emerson Eggerichs (2004) does not fully correspond to the needs of a modern woman. In modern culture, a wife may no longer be financially dependent on her husband. This is a person who earns her living and can achieve a solid social status in society. She will be reluctant to accept the idea of hierarchy and authority because, in her opinion, they may involve submission to the will of her husband. Gender roles have already changed and the C-H-A-I-S model is not fully compatible with these changes.

Reference List

Clinton T. & Sibcy G. (2006) Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. NY:Thomas Nelson Inc.

Eggerichs. E. (2004) Love & respect: the love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs. NY: Thomas Nelson Inc.

Sanders R. (1997). Christian counseling ethics: a handbook for therapists, pastors & counselors. London: InterVarsity Press.

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