11 Ways to Help Couples in Crisis

Today in a Lunch and Learn workshop at Gateway Church in Austin, David and Kay Moore shared some principles to help couples who are in crisis:

1. Know when to refer. Look for the experts in your area.

2. Strive to maintain neutrality. There are two sides to every story. Try to be for the couple and for the marriage rather than for him and against her or vice versa.

3. Protect confidentiality. Try to avoid counseling by committee. Often one couple’s issues can involve a tremendous number of people when in reality one or two counselors can be helpful.

4. A person will get better when they focus on their own behavior and choices rather than blaming the spouse. It is ok to allow some venting, but move the conversation towards what the person can change.

5. Ask the spouse who is leaving to clarify why he or she is leaving. Ask the one being left to clarify why his or her spouse is leaving. These simple questions reveal a great deal about the situation. Remember: the goal isn’t to keep the couple in a loveless and challenging marriage. God wants our marriages to be life-giving and rewarding!

6. Remember to treat the one who wants to leave gently. It is often harder to rekindle feelings for a woman who wants to leave than for a man.

7. If the one being left wants to fight for his or her marriage, even if the marriage is not saved then at least he or she will know that he or she has tried all he or she could.

8. Encourage both involved to seek wise counsel. Often those closest to us will take our side and advise us to leave and/or harbor bitterness towards our spouse. Encourage each person to share the details with those who are wise and have the best interests of the marriage in mind. This can be difficult if the marriage is saved.

9. Help the spouses to deepen their relationship with God, especially during this time of crisis. Point them towards passages in the Bible which focus on God’s presence, love, and plan for each of them. God can help bring stability.

10. Help the couple discover their uniqueness and differences – personality, love languages, gender preferences, etc.. Help them see the differences and the value of those differences.

11. Come up with a plan for next steps. Ask: “what do you need to do today?” Try to be very specific. Ask: “what can we pray for today?” The plan should include a professional counselor and/or a team that can walk with them for the long haul.

Showing 3 comments
  • San Francisco Wife

    Can’t say it enough… keep your personal marital business limited to a small number of people – preferably the counseling professionals you want to work with only. I think your family & faith community will be supportive and just as helpful with out knowing the details. Keep that close to the vest. Spoken as the wife who’s reputation will never be the same, deep and lasting wounds came from being drug through the mud, and my relationships will never be the same. 18 months later its still hard to feel comfortable in my home church of 15 years. I didn’t similarly share the *whole* story and kept my husband covered… that has furthered the blame on me, as my actions look unprovoked. God knows. That’s all I have to hang on to really.

  • Eric Bryant

    Thanks for the insight and honesty. So sorry that you’ve been through such a difficult time. Keep hanging onto the truth and to God. He will guide and comfort and bring others to do so as well.

  • Eric Bryant

    Thanks for the insight and honesty. So sorry that you’ve been through such a difficult time. Keep hanging onto the truth and to God. He will guide and comfort and bring others to do so as well.

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