Seven Things Marriage Counselors Need To Stop Saying

This post is a chapter from my book 21 Days to Save My Family

I have some hot buttons. Granted. Certain words and phrases tend to make me flinch. Others just set me off and make me furious. I want to run through these and get it all out there. Keep in mind, as you read these, I am living proof that the most damaged marriage can be saved. We went through twenty years of clueless, sheep-like counseling and coaching on marriage. I suggest you take all this seriously.

Relationships are a two way street.

Sorry. Not blasting anyone in particular. This phrase just makes me crazy. The idea, of a two way street, implies that two people are ok going in two different directions. They are ok being completely independent. They are fine being separated by lines of division.


Here’s a thought for you. Maybe. Just maybe. We should consider the idea of it being a one way street. Both moving together. No lines of separation. Two becoming one. Completely together on the same path, going the same direction.

Marriage is 50/50.

No. No. No. Marriage is not 50/50. Divorce is 50/50. That’s when you take everything and divide it equally. That’s never the way to handle a marriage. Marriage works best when it’s 100/100. Both fully involved and committed.

Sure. Maybe we have a general understanding of the division of certain responsibilities. Maybe I provide most of the money for bills and work outside the home. Maybe she stays home and takes care of the house. That doesn’t excuse me from washing dishes when she needs help. I don’t sit comfortably while she continues an eternal routine and serves me. Wrong.

It also eliminates the issues when I get laid off from work and she steps up to help pay bills.

Women have to submit to their husbands.

Sure. There’s grounds for debating this one. The problem is that it’s buried in the middle of verses about loving her like Christ loves the church. Those verses share the same pages where we are told to submit to each other, and to our pastors. What man would ever allow his pastor or wife to treat him the way he treats his wife?

From what I see, that word submit looks more like adapt than dominate.

Most of the men that push female submission, do it with minimal respect and maximum arrogance. Most of the women who push it, are beaten down and desperate, or too young to know better.
Sorry to scare those sacred cows. This stuff is just twisted until it’s completely wrong.

Men are the head of their home.

Right. Headship. I keep hearing that preached like it means we are the king of the castle. All others are beneath us. Out family exists to serve us. Bow in my presence, ye lowly peasants.

Actually, headship means source of life. Where does the river begin? At the head. What supplies the river with all that it needs to actually be a river? The head.

Can we turn this one around? Men, stop using it to demand servitude from your wives. Ladies, feel free to see it as a God given right to expect more from him. That’s all. Enjoy.

Wives were created to be a helpmate.

That verse has probably caused more problems than any other. Nothing wrong with the verse, just the way we read it. It’s not helpmate, it’s helpmeet. Not vice principal. Not second in command. Not a servant. Not Gilligan to Skipper. Not a helpmate.

The same way the Holy Spirit is a helper, so is she. The same way the Holy Spirit is an equal part of the trinity, she is an equal part of the marriage. Get past that one.

Men are supposed to lead their families.

The man with compassion, generosity, intelligence and true leadership qualities may be capable of taking this role. The rest of us need to work together and manage our families with her complete involvement.

My wife was told to submit to me and support me by our church leadership and friends, without any consideration for our conditions. She is the one who worked her way to managing sixty people at one time. She is the one who has been trained in spreadsheets and inventory management. She is the one who grew up in a single parent home and learned to survive without a man. She is fully capable of running a successful home without me.

I was the one who couldn’t hold a steady job. I was the one who turned to self employment out of desperation. I was the one who moved us into one dump after another. I was the one who drove us to bankruptcy and losing everything. But, she is supposed to serve and support me? Wow.

Quit pushing men who can’t manage themselves to lead their family. Teach them to work together. Teach them to use their gifts and talents for the benefit of the family.

It’s all part of God’s plan. God has a plan for you.

Ok. I am not arguing with this one. But. The woman who has been abused, neglected and beaten down for years doesn’t need this extra pressure. When life is bad for her, this is salt in a wound. This is telling her that she should just shut up and tolerate the abuse until something dramatic just happens. She should stay where she is until her miracle falls from the sky.

As far as I am concerned, this makes you an accomplice to her abuse, if this is your advice.

I do believe that there are people who can truly hear from God. But, I want you to consider something…
I know my dad. I know how he thinks. I personally lived in the same house with him, seeing him almost every day, 18 years. I know stuff about him that nobody else knows. But. I wouldn’t take his checkbook and make assumptions about what he would or wouldn’t do with his money. I wouldn’t sign his name on a contract. I wouldn’t claim he said something that I didn’t hear him say. So why are some people so quick to claim that they speak for God?

I propose a revolution in marriage counseling. Maybe something like the way Christ would do it. Something like Ephesians 5:25. Maybe He would explain what He actually did for a his bride. Maybe we could understand what truly selfless and unconditional love looks like. Not this selfish, self serving, gimme gimme marriage junk that has produced a ridiculous divorce rate.

Just a thought.

If you want to go deeper, start on the road to becoming a better man, start here.
Take my 21 Day challenge. Get the book.

5 thoughts on “Seven Things Marriage Counselors Need To Stop Saying

  1. I hate the 50/50 saying as well. It gives off the impression that if both people give 50 effort then that will equal 100% and all is good. It doesn’t work that way. You have to give 100% effort at all times. You have to give all of you and believe that the other person is willing to give 100% of themselves as well.

    1. These conclusions took about four years to process. Twenty years of traditional marriage counseling got us to the edge of divorce.
      I assure you, these were tried by fire. My marriage is almost perfect now. My book, 21 Days, is a direct challenge to get men to understand all this.

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