Home > Andrew's Blogs, Marriage, Pastoral Counsel > Pastoral Counsel for John & Kate

Pastoral Counsel for John & Kate

jon-kate-plus8-06I’ve done my share of marriage counseling and marriage troubles (although complicated and deep seated) usually boil down to the same core issue.  Better communication may help but won’t solve your problems.  Giving each other space might diffuse some conflict but it won’t move things along.  Understanding your past might give some insight but this too will not address the core issue.

I’m giving counsel from a distance so I don’t assume to know all that is going on in John and Kate’s marriage, but there are some common troubles and common struggles that many couples go through.  So here’s my counsel to a couple who seem to be close to divorce who can’t seem to work through things, who are about to chuck it all.

A new house won’t fix your troubles.

So many angry and frustrated couples are looking for a fresh start and think a new house, a new state, a new job (more money), a new season of life, a new neighborhood, a new body (think plastic surgery and a diet), or a new church will solve their problems.  Fresh starts are nice but they only cover the problem and often exasperate the deeper issues.  I’ve watched multiple couples do these things and it only delays dealing with the true trouble with their lives.

Stay close to the community of believers.

We like to run and hide when our lives are a mess.  Adam and Eve did it and so do we.  I have found that couples with foundational marriage issues who leave church to find a new one (for any reason) often are a few steps away from divorce.  Wittingly or unwittingly they position themselves in a place where there is no accountability.  They move to a new congregation or no congregation at all and they anonymously  and more easily walk the path of divorce.  It’s easier to divorce outside the accountability of a local church – a lot less friction to slow things down for a proper u-turn.

Don’t do it for the kids.

Eight children seems like a mighty good reason to stay married, but this only makes every one miserable.  Don’t get me wrong here, we need to consider our children and do all we can to lead them down the path of following Jesus and right living, but a miserable marriage full of concealed anger and resentment is no way to live. In the long run the children inherit a way of living that they may repeat.  The solution is not a divorce absent of friction but biblical change at the core of your being that deals appropriately with sin, conflict, and selfishness – a life that looks like Jesus Christ.

Turn from a “Me First” way of living.

James says that conflict comes from a “me first” way of living.  It is not an over simplification to say that the solution for marriage trouble is to put on the character of Jesus Christ.  He was humble, a servant, and looked out for the best interest of others.  The hard part is living this out.  We lean heavily toward living a life that is rooted in the world’s system.  We want to put ourselves first – looking out for number one.  We fight and quarrel to get what we want.  This takes a work of the Holy Spirit.

Be humble and draw near to God.

James says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  The solution to marriage troubles – practically is this, “7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

It’s never too late.

John and Kate, it’s never too late.  And for the rest of us, it’s never too late.  It won’t be easy.  A lot of tears will be shed.  The road will be long and rough.  But in the end, by God’s grace, through His Holy Spirit, and in the context of the community of believers, a marriage can thrive and point to God and His Son, and redemption.  Take the first step today – walk over to your spouse, humble yourself, admit your sin, seek forgiveness, find some one to help you unpack the trouble.

  1. Stephanie Hale
    June 13, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Andrew, thank you for posting this very insightful and thought-provoking blog. None of us are immune to marital problems, and it’s always good to be reminded of ways to remain focused and faithful. We have seen SO many people that we care about choose pride, selfish entitlement, and immediate gratification over striving to make themselves into the spouse God intends, and their marriage one that brings Him joy. Thanks again for the challenge to evaluate, and be accountable for, ways that we can safeguard our marriage!

  2. Andrew Ford
    June 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks Stephanie. God help us all as we persevere together.

  1. June 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm

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