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Meet the MCC Therapists with Intensive Marriage Therapy Training
MCC is privileged to have therapists who have completed or are in the process of completing training in Intensive Marriage Therapy with Focus on the Family Marriage Institute.
Visit our staff page to learn more about these therapists!
Scott Laura Jonathan
Survey’s have indicated that the vast majority of people will marry. Of those couples that do, the majority of them desire to live a satisfying and fulfilling life married to each other. If you talk with couples who have been married for any number of years they will tell you that they had to do some adjusting and even rethink how they interact in their marriages. Initially, most approach marriage with this notion that it will all work out because they ‘love’ each other so much. Unfortunately, we find divorce rates of first time marriages around 25% and overall divorce rates being quoted as around 40% to 50%. People typically see all the potential and fail to align our expectations realistically. Good intentions and feelings are then faced with a spouse that has a very different background and notions on how to manage money, communication, sex, and raising children. I heard it said by some couples that the first year of marriage was their most difficult. Couples are trying to learn how to adjust to sharing their lives. All of a sudden, things are not so smooth as little quirks initially are now becoming annoying irritations. The mundane of work and life begin to wear at the honeymoon phase of the marriage. Couples may begin to think they married the wrong person or that they may have to tough out a marriage that is not nearly as satisfying as they had desired.
We at MCC do not believe that this must be the fate of marriages. We believe that God designed marriage to be sacred, an experience in which joy is multiplied as a result of sharing a life together through good times and difficult alike. We also believe that preparation for this most important decision in life, marriage, should not be taken lightly. Premarital counseling is one of the most responsible and diligent things a couple can due to set themselves up for success. Research and surveys both have indicated that couples who have engaged in premarital counseling are 30% more likely to have a successful marriage, rate their marriage as more satisfying, and aid in the development of realistic expectations. Premarital counseling provides the opportunity to explore expectations around intimacy, money, parenting, and communication in the safety and privacy of a counseling setting. The time and investment in premarital counseling is small when considering the bigger picture of committing to spend the rest of your life with another. Take advantage of the support, seek premarital counseling to protect the most important relationship you will ever engage in, marriage.
God recognized that people need connection (Genesis 2:18), that we should not be alone. This connection is satisfied in a marriage relationship. God created marriage to be a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, for them to become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24-25). Marriage is not a conditional agreement based on a contract but rather a covenant sealed with commitment as expressed in Malachi 2:14-16. A couple does not start marriage with the anticipation of the relationship dissolving but rather with the excitement of a new journey together. The marriage journey is a process in which a couple never fully arrives yet continually strives toward, mutually experiencing life together through highs and lows. There are no guarantees against struggles or conflict and couples that recognize, accept, and face this tend to grow and mature in their marital relationship. This commitment is modeled by God (Hosea 2:19-20) as he shows grace and forgiveness, culminated in a reconciliation that fosters a renewal in hope and love.
A healthy marriage is recognized when the spouses are consistently conveying mutual care, respect, support, safety, and fondness. Couples achieve this through individual efforts to act responsible in self-care and collaborative efforts to protect the marriage boundaries. This collectively results in a couple sharing a closeness expressed through reciprocated vulnerability, exposing their true selves to one another without fear of judgment in the expectation of grace, knowing each are loved and accepted.
As Christian counselors we approach marital counseling with a Biblical understanding, recognizing how our relationships reflect God’s heart for connection and intimacy that is maintained and strengthened through the exercising of grace and forgiveness. Paul calls this a “profound mystery” in Ephesians 5:31-32. He relates marriage and the connection between a man and a woman to our relationships as Christians to Christ. By this we recognize that marriage is a special and sacred commitment. The desire individuals hold to be known personally and intimately exercised in the context of marriage but ultimately met by God.
We have integrated Biblical principles and morals with effective marital interventions in the field of counseling. This foundation guides our efforts in understanding couples’ pain and struggles when facing issues such as infidelity, deceit, indifference, intimacy issues, abandonment, selfishness, and mistrust. Most couples face conflict eventually, in one form or another. It is the ability to work through such struggles successfully that increase a couple’s resilience to trials and commitment to each other.
An overarching goal for our couples is that they become more Christ-like in their acceptance and regard of each other. We aim to help couples develop the ability to recognize personal responsibility, increase emotional and verbal communication, initiate repentance, and incorporate an effective method of extending and receiving forgiveness to ultimately increase the closeness of the relationship. This includes cultivating the growth of emotional sensitivity and safety while also increasing in the ability to understand each other’s perspective to overcome conflict while simultaneously conveying sincere love for one another.