Can Discernment Counseling Save Your Marriage?

Can Discernment Counseling Save Your Marriage?

Earlier this week I had the chance to sit down at NARME with marriage educator, therapist and author, Dr. William Doherty. What a great guy and a great depth of knowledge. It was a long deep and fun conversation about many avenues of marriage and faith. But today, I want to share with you one small piece of my conversation with Dr. Doherty, and that is the “Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project” and Dr. Doherty’s efforts to pioneer “Discernment Counseling”.

The premise of Discernment Counseling is to provide divorcing couples with a process to guide them to consider – is divorce the best option or can this marriage still be reconciled. It is a process of looking, thinking, hoping and determining: what has happened, where we are and where do we want to see this marriage go. 

This approach differs from typical, traditional, models of marriage help, that seek to determine who is right or wrong and tend to assume that both partner’s are equally vested in strengthening the marriage. But what happens when you or your spouse are indifferent about working on the marriage? Can a marriage be strengthened, if only one person is willing to do the work? That is the difference of discernment counseling.

I love this thought of discerning before fixing, because it ties into the thought behind so many marriages of the Bible. That even when our marriages teeter on the brink of destruction, there is hope, as we discern what is still possible – through God. Check out these marriages:

  • Abigail. Her name means beautiful, which refers to her character. Unfortunately, her husband’s name, Nabal, also reveals character, as it means “fool”.  His callous heart drove their marriage to the brink of destruction and placed them in a life or death situation. Yet, Abigail’s character led her to bow down and pray. Her prayer is what spared Nabal from initially being killed by David (I Samuel 25).
  • Job. After they lost every thing that they owned and he was covered with sore boils from head to toe, his wife wanted to give up on God. But Job found strength to hold on to his faith in God. Eventually, it was his reservoir of faith in God that restored them and their marriage.
  • King Belshazzar’s Wife. In Daniel 5, the king literally sees a hand writing on the wall. Unable to interpret what he sees, he offers large sums of money for someone to interpret what he sees. However, it was his wife that was able to point him in the direction of someone that could interpret his vision. She discerned what her husband really needed and provided a real solution to what her husband was facing.
  • Zipporah. When God was about to kill Moses for failing to circumcise his child, it was his little known wife that stepped in and saved Moses’ life. Although he is the famous one, it was her ability to discern what needed to happen that saved Moses’ life.

In each of these scenarios they point to the hope that our marriage’s receive when we move from only our raw emotions, feelings and input, to allow God to discern for us, what is next in our marriage. Likewise, if your marriage is facing a seemingly unscalable high mountain, allow God to discern what is next for your life and marriage before moving forward. Is He still able to restore your marriage…



Help Elevate Marriages - Share this post.

6 thoughts on “Can Discernment Counseling Save Your Marriage?

  1. Diane

    He sure is still able. Faith is essential but it also needs to be paired with hope in order to be fruitful with God at the wheel.

  2. JS

    What happens when you know that God is able to save anything, he specializes in the impossible, but you don’t feel there is anything to save? If continued disrespect,lack of love, and continued infidelity crumble the foundation of love, trust, and respect. Discernment counseling sounds great, but how can both parties discern if the marriage is worth saving if one party is too proud to just say sorry and put actions behind the apology. Forgiveness can be extended but it also has to be accepted.

  3. Edward

    So true, going it alone is a challenge. The point of Discernemnt Counseling is that even 1 person can assess what God is leading them to do. But I hear you – you need or at least want a reciprocal level of interest.

  4. Johnnie Setton

    Good communication is a must to develop the healthy relationships in your married life. You should share all your problems and feelings with your partner as well listen to your partner and understand. Make some time for each other to share your emotions. Go for outing with your partner and make some romantic plans for short vacation.^,^:

    My personal blog

  5. Cenovia Adelleh

    I was with a guy for 3 years, he always told me he loved me and that we wouldn’t break up because if you love someone you make it work. We could never work out a time when we were both free and just a couple days ago he said we should just be friends. I know he dont me love anymore. When we were dating he said to everyone that I was his girlfriend and introduced me, told his friends he really liked me and told me he loved me, I wanted to be with him again but I never knew what to do. I tried for a long time with other spell casters to get him back but dr.marnish was the ONLY spell caster that could do the love spell for me that worked, if you need help call him +15036626930, he will always come to your aid, Obviously dr marnish is the REAL DEAL!
    Cenovia Adelleh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>