Episode #51: Who Needs Marriage Counseling? Part 2

by Derek Brown & Cliff McManis

In the second part of this two-part series, pastors Cliff and Derek discuss several points of practical wisdom for married couples. 


Derek: Welcome to the With All Wisdom podcast, where we are applying biblical truths to everyday life. I didn’t introduce us last in the last podcast, Cliff. My name is Derek Brown. I’m a pastor here at Creekside Bible Church. And well, it’s been a while. It’s been a while. And you’re a pastor-teacher here at Creekside Bible Church. We’re both professors of theology at the Cornerstone Bible College and Seminary in Vallejo, California, which is just north of us. And our last episode, episode 50—the golden anniversary episode. We talked about marriage counseling and the goodness of it. Who should seek it out? And now we’re going to address some practical aspects. I’m going to hand it over to you really quickly, Cliff, so you can take us through some helpful practical marital counseling. But before we do that, I just want to remind people, check out withallwisdom.org, where you’ll find a large and growing collection of resources—both written and audio resources—that can help you grow in your relationship with Christ. Before I hand it over to you, Cliff, I do want to encourage people, if you haven’t listened to part one of this series, this marriage counseling series, [I want to] encourage you to do that and then come back and listen to this one. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it might be helpful to set the context. So now I want to hand it over to you. Cliff, what practical counsel do you have for us married couples out there?

Cliff: Well, thanks, Derek. You actually were the one that proposed the idea we do a podcast on marriage and marriage counseling, which I thought was a great idea. So that caused me to think, and do some self-reflection. As I said in the last podcast, I’ve been married 33 years, have been to and sought marriage counseling myself, and also as a pastor and elder for all these years have been involved in marriage counseling and currently am on a regular, weekly basis giving marriage counsel to people at our church. You and I, as we do weddings, we do pre-marital counseling, and as pastors we’re involved in it all the time. So what I thought might be helpful was to—after 33 years of marriage, but also from all the wisdom that I’ve gleaned over the years from others who have counseled me in marriage, and all the books that I’ve read on marriage counseling (because there’s a lot of good stuff out there), and from all the experiences I’ve had of counseling married couples, I thought it would be helpful if I could summarize some key timeless, universal biblical principles related to marriage and just list them all out.

Derek: Sounds good to me.

Cliff: And just walk through those. So this is kind of the macro-level, high level wisdom and biblical principles regarding marriage, that I trust will be helpful for any married Christian couple. That’s the understanding. I’m talking to Christian couples primarily, and also maybe pastors or people who want to give marriage counsel. So actually I’ve come up with 19 principles that I am going to walk through. And, you guessed it, in less than 25 minutes. And you’re laughing because I don’t even know if this is possible.

Derek: Well, I don’t want to say anything. You’ve done it before. You’ve done things like this before.

Cliff: I’m usually on the other end of the spectrum, where I’ve got two points and I can’t get through the two points, but this is against my nature. But I’ve found this kind of thing very helpful in the past, where somebody just walks through a high level of all these points. So listeners out there, if they want to write these 19 points down as we go, and if they have to go back and replay and stop and pause, that’s fine. I’ve taken these 19 principles. I did not invent any of them. They come by way of biblical teaching. They come by way of things I’ve learned from others—from mentors, from other godly people, other godly couples, and things I’ve heard in biblical counseling. Things that I have experienced through my own role of being a biblical counselor as I have reflected. So none of this is original material with me.

Hopefully—all these principles are rooted in Scripture and I don’t have time to flesh them a lot. But at the high level, they can be guidelines to wrap our thoughts around. I’ve divided these 19 principles into three main categories, and I’ll just go in order—a logical order. The three categories are first, I deal with three points on main ideas. So these are really big picture main ideas about biblical counseling for marriage. Then after that, I give some principles on general principles, meaning getting more specific about biblical counseling. And then the last category I call specific issues. And I’ve got more of these. And these are just typical issues that a married couple brings into the marriage counseling that they have a problem with or it’s the essence of their problem. It’s the specific issue. So we’ll go from more general to more specific as we walk through these 19.

So first all, I’ll just walk through the three main ideas that I wanted to share, and you can stop me at any time, Derek, or make a comment. So main ideas. 19 points on marriage counseling. Number one, everyone needs marriage counseling. So we don’t need to say much there because we’ve already talked about that, but it’s a very important principle. Everyone needs marriage counseling. One thing I will add to this is, by biblical counseling, that can simply just mean advice or encouragement or maybe even accountability. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, and also everyone needs marriage counseling. It could be at the macro-level or the micro-level. So maybe you need help with this little thing. It’s not a big deal, like you talked about, like an addiction in your marriage or something that’s threatening to the very stability of your marriage.

And then I’ll also add that we all need general or specialized counsel. General counsel would be, you can go to maybe another believer in the church. They don’t have to be a licensed marriage or family [counselor]—just another believer. They’ve got the Spirit of God living in them. They’ve got some wisdom from the Bible and they can help you. And it can be informal. So that’s general counsel, but there can also be that specialized counsel as well—going to somebody in a more formal setting who has experience. They have training, and maybe the issue’s a little more difficult. So anyway, everyone needs marriage counseling. Number two, not all marriage counselors are helpful. Not all biblical counselors are helpful, or not all marriage counselors who counsel with biblical counseling are helpful. Not all marriage counselors are helpful, including pastors sometimes. So just because you’ve got your certification in biblical counseling does not guarantee that you’re going to be an effective biblical counselor. As a matter of fact, I’ve met some who were terrible counselors and gave horrible advice.

Derek: That’s a really important point, so people won’t be fooled by just thinking that a certification guarantees that what you’re going to receive is going to be helpful.

Cliff: Sadly, I’ve seen it time and time again. Oh, I got my certification, and they’re giving horrible, unbiblical advice. So sadly, actually, there are a lot of occasions where somebody’s coming into counseling for me, even married couples, and they’re telling me their story and I’ll ask, “So have you received counseling before and from whom?” And then they’ll tell me that maybe it was some pastor at some church, and that pastor gave them unbiblical advice or terrible advice. So I think what’s key is not, you got certification from some parachurch organization, but I think you need to look to first Corinthians 12 and also Romans 12, to see if you have the supernatural spiritual gift of counseling, which the Bible calls exhortation. “Para” is the Greek word, and that is the gift of counseling to be able to give wisdom to other people. So you have to be spiritually gifted. That’s what I mean by the spiritual, specialized counseling. So not all marriage counselors are helpful, so be discerning. Make sure they’re biblical and wise. Number three, marriage counseling [on its own] will not [save] your marriage. And you talked about this on the last episode. Just going through the process, jumping through the hoops. It is being submissive to the truth of the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to help you implement those principles. So now I’ll move on to general principles after those three main ideas. Number four, the Bible tells us why there are marriage problems. This is profound. There are marriage problems. Key scriptures would be Genesis 3, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 11, and James 4. And I’ll tell you why. But I think if you were to sit down with a secular psychologist as a married couple, and you were to ask that secular psychologist, “Why do we have this problem?” it would be interesting to hear what their answer is.

Derek: What’s interesting is you could probably sit right alongside that secular counselor and have very similar observations and agree that there’s a problem in this marriage. But then the moment you start talking about the why—that involves interpretation. That involves a worldview.

Cliff: It does. And they’re going to have to come up with a diagnosis. Why does my husband do this? Why is my wife like that? Maybe they avoid that and don’t want to commit to that because that’s going to a really deep level of your presuppositions. And yes, they don’t have the answer, but they need to be challenged on that. Why are there marriage problems? Well, my point here is the Bible tells us why there are marriage problems. Number five, and this is related to number four: the root of all marriage conflict is sin.

Derek: Wow.

Cliff: Yes.

Derek: That sounds a bit reductionistic. A bit simplistic.

Cliff: It does. And I knew that either you or someone in the audience might say that. That’s why the terminology I use here is very specific. The root of all marriage conflict. Now I use the word conflict, meaning true marriage problems. Not inconveniences or challenges. You have challenges in your marriage that have nothing to do with sin. I’m not talking about that. Maybe you’re got a challenge in your marriage due to the season of life that you’re in. Financial hardship. The fact that we’re finite people. We live in a fallen world, the season of life, whatever else. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about conflict. That truly is the reason most people seek marriage counseling in the first place. And a lot of times, if it’s not a medical problem, when it comes to conflict in marriage, the root of it is sin. And integrationists would probably disagree with us on that theory.

Derek: Yeah, I think some definitely would in terms of the depth of it and the pervasiveness of it. And really, like you saidI agree with you, by the way—the reason I suggested reductionism here and being over-simplistic is because I’ve read from some integrationists that very statement. [That this] is harmful because it is, in fact, reductionistic, when I disagree completely. Actually, I believe it’s harmful not to make this point because this actually now helps what the remedy needs to be.

Cliff: And I’m not saying that every issue of concern when you come into marriage counseling is a sin issue. It’s incumbent upon the biblical counselor to vet through everything and get all the information and then make a diagnosis. Okay, here’s a problem. Is that a sin issue?

Derek: Yeah, great point.

Cliff: Here’s another problem. Is that a sin issue? And you might have plenty of problems that can be fixed practically that aren’t sin issues.

Derek: Yeah, excellent point.

Cliff: But in terms of that conflict, the root of that conflict is sin, which tends to point to number six. The Bible tells us the nature of marriage conflict. The Bible tells us the nature. So whether you lived in the 1500s or 2000 years ago or today on the other side of the world—I know some Christian married couples that live in India and Honduras, some of whom I’ve offered biblical counseling to. So it doesn’t matter where you live. The problem is universal because God told us what the nature of marriage conflict is. The root of it is sin. And the way it manifests itself basically, according to Genesis 3, is that ultimately because of the Fall with sin and because of God’s curse on sin and consequences, the problem you have in marriage, and the simplest way to sum it all up, is you’ve got a battle over control. It’s all about control. That is the nature of every true marriage conflict you’re going to encounter. So I even know how to be prepared before the couple walks in. We need marriage counseling. Why? Because we’ve got conflict. We’ve got problems, we’ve got issues. It’s like, okay, I know where I’m starting. Genesis 3 explains the nature of marriage conflict. Number seven, the New Testament has minimal, very little, and yet simple advice for marriage conflict or just marriage, period. It’s kind of surprising. Yet 27 books are in the New Testament, and 66 books that compose this big, thick Bible. And if you’re looking for solutions to a happy marriage, you have very limited information to go on. And then you go to the New Testament and it’s like, that’s it. I mean, immediately what comes to your mind when you think of specific marriage passages that would help you with solving conflict?

Derek: Solving conflict? Well, I mean you have Ephesians 5—that’s a clear marriage passage. You got Colossians 3—husbands, love your wives; wives, submit to your husbands. But when you ask about conflict, I immediately think of James 4. He tells us why we have conflict.

Cliff: Well, Derek, you just named the ones that I was thinking. I put James 4 under “the Bible tells us why there are marriage problems.” James 4, because of our lust and on this one—but it can be in this category as well. The New Testament has minimal simple advice for marriage conflict. Ephesians 5, like you said, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, 1 Corinthians 7. I mean, that’s pretty much it. And now it’s just in those chapters, and they’re short, simple, brief passages. And you read it and it’s like, that’s it, Peter. That’s all you have to say. Jesus didn’t say anything, hardly. That’s just very helpful that the New Testament has minimal, simple advice for marriage conflict. And yet we believe in biblical sufficiency, which is liberating. We don’t need to read a 500 page book on solving marriage problems. We’ve got the Bible that has simple, easy to understand—not easy to implement always—but easy to understand principles. It’s like the 10 Commandments, that summarizes and says it all. That’s all I need. I don’t need 1,001 commandments, I’ve got 10. That’s wisdom. His wisdom of the sufficiency of his brevity really helps us as finite people. And if I were to summarize it in those few passages, here are the basic commands. It’s for the husband. It’s being a loving leader. And for the wife, it’s be a submissive helper. That’s pretty much it. Another one is don’t marry an unbeliever, which is preventative. Another one from 1 Corinthians is meet each other’s needs. You’re always serving your spouse. And if you’re always serving each other, you’re both being fulfilled. And then the other one I add to that is just do the one another’s in the New Testament, and there’s over 35 of them, which means they’re the things you do to every Christian. Confront one another, pray for one another, love one another. Sometimes married couples forget they’re supposed to do the one anothers to each other.

Derek: Yeah, it’s a good point. It’s funny because when I read the New Testament about the one another’s or loving my neighbor or things like that, I forget that the first people that applies to are the people in my home. First my wife and then my kids.

Cliff: Yeah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counseled a Christian wife and I just brought to her attention, have you ever done the one another’s with your husband or to your husband? What are you talking about? Well, and their understanding was, well, I only have one command in the Bible with my husband and that’s to submit to him. It’s like, no, that’s not the only command. That’s an important one. That’s not the only one. What about confront one another? Have you ever confronted one another? And I remember one Christian wife saying, can I do that?

Derek: Right.

Cliff: Well, is he a one-another? He’s a fellow Christian. You can do all the one another’s with your husband. And that just kind of opened up to her a whole new world.

Derek: Good point.

Cliff: It’s like, wow. But there’s a delicate balance there. But anyway, do the one anothers, husbands. If you were just loving leaders; wives, if you were just submissive helpers, and we just did all the one anothers, everybody have a wonderful marriage, Derek.

Derek: That’s a good point.

Cliff: That’s the solution. There it is. That’s how simple it is. Number eight, marriage problems result from violating biblical roles and the one anothers.

Derek: It all sounds so simple.

Cliff: It does.

Derek: Which you’ve already mentioned is actually a blessing from God. You mentioned the 10 Commandments. In God’s grace, he gives us short sentences so we can use them and apply them.

Cliff: And he probably gave them in Hebrew and they’re even shorter sentences than in English.

Derek: Good point.

Cliff: So that was three points, and my main ideas. And then about five points in the general principles. And now I will close with the category I call specific issues. And this is usually, time and time again, the problems that I’m dealing with in a marriage counseling situation. So I’m either giving the solution or I’m highlighting the problem that you shouldn’t be doing as a married couple. So principle number nine, marriage counseling. Remember, your marriage problems are not unique. That would be 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Derek: That’s encouraging.

Cliff: Your marriage problems are not unique. So this goes against the, for instance, the wife who says, “Well, you don’t know my husband. He’s a jerk like no other.” I was like, no, no. And for me as a biblical counselor, this is helpful to know that their marriage problems are not unique. Why would that be helpful for you, Derek, as a counselor? Why would that be helpful?

Derek: Well, because it means that I have the resources to deal with them. I don’t have to go elsewhere. I don’t have to ponder over what it could possibly be that would help them. I have the resources available. Nothing is new under the sun. These things are going to boil down to a few specific principles and problems and I can help.

Cliff: And you have the resources, meaning the Bible has the answer. How comforting is that? And again, we just keep going back to biblical sufficiency. So your marriage problems are not unique. Number 10, marriage is hard work.

Derek: That one kind of hit us square in the face when we first got married. Really, just the work that’s required to maintain the affection and the service and the blessing of one another and caring for one another. And guarding your tongue and all the things that go along with just regular interaction with other Christians. Now you’re in the home face-to-face with this sinner all the time, and they’re with you, who is also a sinner, all the time. And it’s hard work. It pays off. It’s a blessing, but you can’t be passive.

Cliff: You cannot. So is it still work after 17 years?

Derek: Yes. In fact, I probably don’t think it’s gotten easier. In fact, there’s some ways that I feel like we’re working even harder now, because of all that’s required. I mean, we have three kids now. You add a big dynamic there.

Cliff: Every season of marriage brings challenges, which makes it hard work. 33 years of marriage. I’m just going to tell you, Derek, it’s still hard work in different ways. But the Bible tells us this. Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 7:28. He said, yeah, you can get married if you want to. If you have the gift of singleness, you can still get married. That’s your option. But if you get married, he said, you will have trouble in this life. You will have trouble. You will have challenges. You will have afflictions; you will have tribulation. Those are all the ways in which that Greek word is used. You will have pressure. That’s another translation. You’ll have pressure in this life. The Bible says both truths—that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. So marriage is good, and yet marriage is hard work. They go together. Number 11, premarital counseling is essential.

Derek: Wow.

Cliff: Essential. This comes up all the time when I’m doing marriage counseling. How long have you been married? Seven years. How long have you been married? 11 years. Why are you guys here today? Blah, blah, blah, whatever. And then I keep scratching and I realize, oh boy. Did you ever have premarital counseling? Well, yeah. Okay. What was it like? Well, we had a session for 45 minutes with the pastor. And it doesn’t count.

Derek: That’s pretty common though.

Cliff: Yeah, it is. Surprisingly common, sadly. So you and I, we won’t even do marriages at our church unless the couple agrees to 10 to 12 week sessions of premarital counseling with our wives.

Derek: Yeah, that’s right. Each session being about two hours. You’re going through material and given homework. Going through serious stuff in the Bible.

Cliff: Yep. And it’s helpful. I know it’s helpful because I had that before I got married. My church required that.

Derek: Amy and I had it. Do you know who we had it with?

Cliff: Who?

Derek: Did you know we had it with you and Debbie?

Cliff: No. That was 17 plus years ago? Unbelievable. Number 11. Premarital counseling is essential. Number 12. Godly mentors are essential. Godly mentors are essential. That was so helpful for my wife and I when we were young and we were immature, especially me. I didn’t have godly marriages modeled in my life growing up. So I was quite deficient there. I became a new Christian, got married, and then in my church, I just had all these amazing godly mentors who were older, seasoned, married, and took us under their wing and modeled godly marriages for us. Invaluable.

Derek: Yep. You need to see it. You need to be able to see it. It’s very helpful to see that actual example—the man and the wife living with each other, engaging. You have got to see that modeled.

Cliff: That’s another—when I’m doing marriage counseling, that is a question I routinely ask. Who are your godly mentors and models that you look up to? And sadly, some people say, we don’t have any. It’s like, wow, you need some. I’m not talking about peers. It’s good to have peers, but all you can do with them is just kind of cry together and say oh, my marriage is all messed up. Yeah, me too.

Derek: To that last point, I was just recently making my way through a book that talked about accountability and how accountability really only works if you are accountable to someone who is more mature than you in that particular area. Otherwise, you’re just commiserating and they pat you on the back and say, well, I’ll pray for you. But that’s all that’s happening. So you need that older, wiser mentorship.

Cliff: Yes, absolutely. 13. You can’t blame it all on your spouse. I’m talking about a married couple that comes in for marriage counseling. This is routine, where one spouse wants to blame the other spouse for their problems, and we just know that’s typically not true. You can’t blame it all on your spouse. Just a general principle. That’s what Adam and Eve did. Blame it on everybody. It’s the blame game. It’s their fault. And in marriage, it’s likely that each person is contributing at some level, whether it’s 99% to one, you’re still accountable for that 1% and you have to get it out on the table and talk about it. Or maybe one of the spouses is legitimately guilty and they’re the problem. You have got to make sure that the other spouse responds properly and biblically and is dealing with it in a biblical manner, not reacting in sin or getting bitter. Those kind of things. So you can’t blame. It takes—I’ll make up a phrase—it takes two to tango, Derek.

Derek: You just made that up just now?

Cliff: It just thought of it now. 14. Change your expectations. Change your expectations. This is a common problem in marriage where, before you get married, or even early on in your marriage, you have these idealistic, unrealistic expectations that maybe you got from some romance novel or television or a façade that you picked up somewhere of what a Christian marriage is supposed to be when it doesn’t correspond to reality. So your thinking is totally wrong and leading you astray and you have unmet expectations. Hence, the counsel is to change your expectations. Now, I am not saying lower your expectations. There’s a huge difference. No, we don’t want to lower the standard or the expectation. We always want a biblical standard, which is the highest standard. When I say change your expectations, another way of saying that is change your thinking, because your thinking is wrong. So change your expectations. Practical examples. Ladies, wives—your husband is not your girlfriend.

Derek: That’s right.

Cliff: So get over it. I mean, come on now. He’s your husband, right? He’s a guy and he’s not Jesus. And we can say the same thing to the guy. She’s not one of your buddies.

Derek: Boy, a key to happiness is having the right expectations.

Cliff: A key to happiness is having the right expectations. That’s another good bumper sticker.

Derek: Well, I didn’t make that one up. You made the last one up.

Cliff: So, number 15. Your spouse doesn’t always have to agree with you.

Derek: Wait, what?

Cliff: Your spouse doesn’t always have to agree with you. I’ve actually seen conflict over areas where one spouse was upset, perturbed, and agitated, and trying to get me as the mediator to get their spouse to agree with their point of view when it wasn’t a biblical issue. It was a gray area issue, as in an area of liberty or freedom or just preference. Or maybe they were even wrong and they’re getting upset about it—that’s really common. Those are the little foxes in marriage. Stop, pause, reflect. Those kind of people who get upset when their spouse doesn’t agree with them about everything. They wouldn’t be good on a board as a board member, right?

Derek: Right.

Cliff: That’s where you have to hash it out with seven other people who are very opinionated and have strong convictions. And you’ve got to go through the process and work it through and go back and forth and be a good listener. So your spouse doesn’t always have to agree with you on gray area issues. You have to have a united front, of course, on biblical convictions, like how you’re going to parent your kids and those kind of things. That’s not what I’m talking about. The smaller issues, the petty issues. 16, you need to give full disclosure to the counselor. You need to. So when you go in to meet the counselor and say, we want you to fix our problem, the counselor can’t help you until he can make a diagnosis based on all the information you’ve given. But he has to have all the data. He has to do a history. And sadly, there are times when a couple or one of the people involved neglects to or refuses to give all the information. So then, me as a biblical counselor, I’m trying to make a diagnosis on a lack of information. Therefore, I’m coming to the wrong diagnosis and I’m going to give them the wrong solution. Get everything out on the table. I mean, I’ve had issues to consider that would be—is either one of these people on medication like a psychiatric medication? Because that affects temperament and your thinking and everything and your behavior. Do you have any addictions I need to know about? Do you have any hidden sin in your life I need to know about? Are there any past significant events, like the husband beat the wife at one time, that you’re not revealing? So one of the questions I routinely ask in the first session is, what brought us here today? What’s the problem? And they have to write it down and then I’ll compare and look and maybe they say communication. And then three sessions into this counseling session they realize, no, communication is not the issue. Actually, you are not fulfilling your biblical role as a husband.

You are not being a loving leader. So they didn’t even know what the problem was or they were trying to hide it from me. Or one time I was counseling a brother who was seeking help in his marriage. And then I said, yeah, I was helping you five years ago, too. Remember that? And he goes, oh yeah. And he was honest and reflected and confessed to me that. And I said, you wouldn’t listen to or do anything I was telling you to do out of the Bible. And he thought, wow. You know what? I was in an extramarital affair. I was committing adultery when I was meeting with you. And he fessed up on that and he took ownership of it. He should have disclosed that. He’s asking me for biblical help and biblical counsel, all the while he’s got a mistress on the side that he’s not telling me about, which truncated everything I was trying to do.

Number 17—almost done. This is really typical—that one or both in the marriage are not living in light of Genesis two. In other words, that’s where God introduces marriage. He lays the foundation and he defines it. And that’s the two becoming one, which means you have to leave your parents and the husband has to take initiative. So you leave father or mother and cleave to your wife. And just too many couples routinely, even Christian couples, fail to stop, pause, evaluate, and ask themselves the honest question. Have we cleaved to one another the way God has desired? Have we left our families respectively? Do we now have a hundred percent loyalty to one another as we should as best friends? And a lot of times they don’t see it. It’s a blind spot. They’ve got loyalty to their parents or their spouse, or even on an equivalent level. And it’s been going on for seven years and they don’t see it. That’s really common. Number 18—implement biblical confrontation in your marriage. This would be one of the one another’s—rebuke one another, forgive one another, pray for one another. This would be Matthew 18. You can do Matthew 18 on your spouse. And initially you don’t really think of that, do you? And it’s often neglected. Step one, step two, step three, step four. Step one is talk to your spouse in private after you’ve prayed. And Jesus said, show him his fault. Not gripe about something unrelated. Dear, here’s what you’re doing. You’ve done it three times. You haven’t acknowledged it. You haven’t repented of it. Jesus said, it’s a sin. And I’m bringing this to your attention. See how they respond.

Derek: So it has to be a sin.

Cliff: Well, that’s what Jesus said.

Derek: Not just a preference.

Cliff: No, it has to be a sin. That’s a good point. If you’re going to do the Matthew 18 discipline process, it has to be a sin. And then finally, number 19, marriage is one of the main ways God wants to refine you in this life.

Derek: I’m feeling that.

Cliff: Iron sharpens iron. Another way to read that is marriage is one of the main ways God wants to sanctify you. We talked about that a little bit earlier. But it’s a fact. You talked about it; you opened with it. It’s two sinners moving in together. And let the sparks fly.

Derek: When you said that before, when iron sharpens iron, sparks fly.

Cliff: Yes, they do.

Derek: I just think that’s such a funny expression. But it’s true.  That’s what happens. But you’re right. I think that’s what hit Amy and I just square in the face when we were first married. You’re like, whoa, wow. We are two sinners and now we’re in close quarters. Before we would see each other a lot, but we could go to our own place. But now we’re right there all the time. And so we need help. We need counsel, and we need prayer. We need the body of Christ. We need wisdom from others, and we need it modeled. We need all of that. And I think when Christian couples recognize what they need, then they recognize the effectiveness of counsel when it’s received and applied and what it can do to really bring health into a marriage. What we’re hoping is that they’ll see that, recognize that, and start to really pursue counseling in formal and informal ways for helping their marriage.

Cliff: Amen.

Derek: Well, thanks, Cliff. That was really, really good. That was just really edifying to work through. We hope that it was helpful for our listeners to hear all that practical counsel and practical wisdom from God’s word about marriage. We just encourage you again to check out withallwisdom.org. There are resources there on marriage and much more. So check out our website there. You can also listen to other podcasts at withallwisdom.org. And until next time, keep seeking the Lord in his Word.

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