1. Multiple Counselors Possess Greater Wisdom
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Counselors complement each other’s skills. When one counselor is speaking, the other is able to observe the body language and reactions of the counselees. At times I notice behaviors that my husband misses because he’s busy composing his words and speaking.
2. Women Benefit from the Presence of Another Woman
Titus 2:3-4 says, “Women are to…teach what is good…that the word of God may not be reviled.” This verse mandates the participation of women in teaching what is good and describes the result of that high calling, respect for the Word of God. A woman could be invited to join her pastor or husband in marriage counseling because she is called to help other women.
Another advantage of including a woman in a joint meeting is that the female counselor can advocate for the wife and explain the woman’s perspective. It is hard for a quiet, emotional person to speak up when necessary. Her advocate can speak for her. This also avoids the reality of the female counselee being in a room where she is the only woman with two men while experiencing an emotionally charged situation.
When my husband and I counsel as a team, I place myself next to the wife, close enough to pat her arm or offer a hug. I am able to manifest the love of the Lord, who is “near to the brokenhearted” (Ps. 34:18). Physical expressions of compassion are an important aspect of counseling but are limited for people of the opposite sex. A woman is best suited to offer warm expressions of understanding and love to another woman.
3. A Married Counseling Team Can Serve as a Role Model
First Corinthians 11:1 says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Many couples have not seen a good example of a Christian marriage in the lives of their parents or peers. That can lead to repetition of unhelpful patterns of speech or dealing with conflict. Spending time with a God-honoring couple can be an influence toward change. Even though my husband and I are just being ourselves, couples have told us that they have watched us interact and have noticed how different we are from unbelievers. When we were young marrieds, we enjoyed the same blessing of spending time with godly couples and learning by observing.
Sometimes my husband and I might describe our experience of dealing with a disagreement or a trial. Like the counselees, we sin against one another and must work out conflicts. We have modeled how to work through a problem based on our own experience more than once. The Lord uses our afflictions and trials to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-5).
4. Counseling as a Couple Benefits the Counselors’ Marriage
First Corinthians 1:4 says, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.” After meeting with a couple in conflict, I often am filled with thankfulness when I reflect on our own marriage. We are sinners, but the Lord has helped us avoid the painful and difficult scenes we witness. My husband and I frequently thank the Lord for how He has changed us over forty-two years of marriage.
Counseling as a couple brings built-in accountability to our marriage. We need to work out our own problems and be in a good relationship with one another before we can help others. If we have figurative logs in our eyes, we aren’t equipped to help others remove their specks (Matt. 7:3-5). We work on keeping “short accounts” between us and eliminating any opportunity for the devil to work (Eph. 4:27). We have an unspoken agreement that things need to be resolved between us before we meet with the next couple. We have even actively pursued needed reconciliation because we knew that a troubled couple was on their way over.
My husband and I have grown spiritually through counseling as a team. We go together nightly before the throne of grace in prayer for our counselees. Sometimes we feel helpless to find solutions, which brings us together again before the Lord. We rejoice together when the Lord brings repentance, healing, and hope to hurting couples.
My goal is to encourage fellow counselors to become part of a team when they work with counselees. A husband could encourage his wife to take part, even if she doesn’t feel prepared. A female counselor may also seek to persuade her husband to join her in meeting with a needy couple. A pastor can recruit a godly woman in his church to join him in couples counseling. The Lord will work to bring tremendous spiritual blessings.
Questions for Reflection
- What additional blessings come from co-counseling other couples?
- What changes will you consider to include women in your counseling ministry?