Proverbs 12:15 says,
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.
The Message Version of Proverbs 19:20-21 says,
Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well.
Don’t we all want to be wise? Don’t we want to live well?
Listening to advice—namely, seeking wise counsel—is hard, but I’ve found that it’s essential in all areas of our life, especially in our marriages.
Howell and I were having dinner with three other couples a few months ago, all of whom had been married anywhere from ten to twenty years longer than we have. Somehow the topic of counseling came up, and every single one of us shared how counseling had positively impacted our marriages at one point or another.
I’ve been thinking about that since then. Some people might have a certain fear about counseling, especially marriage counseling. Maybe it feels like failure—and they want to keep holding on to the secret that their marriage is falling apart. Maybe it feels too personal—and they don’t want someone all up in their business.
Can I tell you the truth, dear friend?
It’s neither shameful nor scary.
Bringing your “stuff” into the light brings freedom and healing—and wise counsel becomes a balm to those broken places.
There’s something about an outside perspective that helps you see things in your marriage, in yourself, or in your spouse that you couldn’t have seen otherwise. And wise counselors have good tools to help us better understand each other.
Howell and I went through some intense counseling early on, and I genuinely believe it set us up for a solid foundation. We learned so much about ourselves—as much as we learned about each other.
In those first few years of marriage, when we would argue, I would want to leave—the room, the house. Always, I wanted an escape. And Howell would say, “But Mary Ann said we should…”
And for whatever reason, that worked. (FYI: Mary Ann was our counselor. :)) It’s not that she had a certain power over us, but when he said that, it would remind me of my behavior: what the root of it came from, what it meant to me, what it communicated to Howell. And I would remember: I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be the person who leaves in an argument, who can’t settle a disagreement, who can’t listen to wisdom.
And so I would stay, and I would talk, and I would listen.
We have the power within us to choose how we behave. I suppose the second step of counseling is application, right?
Wise counsel comes in many forms—not only the professional kind (though it is a worthy investment!). You can also surround yourself with wise counsel—your parents, your mentors, your friends. Always, the Bible instructs us and gives us tools for how to live.
Even now, Howell and I seek wise counsel when we make big decisions, especially financial ones. We have people in our lives who speak truth to us, and we heed their advice.
If you’re struggling today—especially if your marriage feels like it’s failing, I encourage you to seek wise counsel and heed good advice. May it bring healing and freedom and restoration to your relationship.
This post was written by Laura Brandenburg. To read more about her, click here.
*Note: If you and your spouse need to see a trusted marriage counselor, please contact the church office for a list of referrals.