As a Christian relationship coach, I know the power of lasting emotional healing comes from having a foundation of faith in God combined with the understanding of one’s behaviors and temperament. It is this strong dynamic that allows those seeking help to believe that therapy will work. Belief gives one the courage to change — especially negative mindsets. For couples, the problem is often engaging in destructive behaviors that we know are wrong. The ultimate goal for healing is learning how to break free from those behaviors, applying the knowledge learned in counseling to create a new pattern and making that change stick for the long haul. Faith is the glue that makes everything come together.
Relationship patterns repeat, for example, even if you know you should not be with someone who overreacts and takes out his anger on you, the go-to thought pattern is rationalizing that your love will be motivation for his eventual change for the better. After all, you rationalize, he is sincerely sorry every time he loses his temper. Because that feeling of tension, anxiety and not knowing what will happen from one moment to the next is familiar, the tendency is to ignore the heart’s pull away from the fire and allow your mind to justify that wrong behavior.
In a recent New York Times article, the topic of belief in God and responsiveness to mental health treatment was explored. Researchers at McLean Hospital asked people to rate their spirituality by answering the question: To what extent do you believe in God? It was not surprising to me that the results published in The Journal of Affective Disorders show that those who valued faith were less depressed after treatment because of their high expectations. In other words, they believed they would be healed.
These findings are valuable because many people seek advice when the bottom has fallen out of their lives — often when they are having relationship problems. Without the understanding that all trials are spiritual battles, the tendency is to mentally understand the information from counseling, but real-world application is met with resistance or inconsistency. This then leads back to the familiar way of relating to life’s challenges. The result? You are still stuck. You end up knowing why you do what you do, see the hole you are about to fall into, but do not have the strength to go in another direction and avoid the outcome. Keep Reading...
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