A Divine Apprenticeship in Agape Love
Most newlyweds have not yet learned the true meaning of unselfishness. The stresses of marriage and the home are designed to produce brokenness, to wean one from self-centeredness, and to produce the graces of sacrificial love and gentleness.
Because so few people understand the nature and purpose of marriage, when unexpected stresses and strains develop they are tempted to feel that they have made a mistake and perhaps have married the wrong person. The next step is to seek a way of escape by one means or another, sometimes through a professional marriage counselor or, more often, the divorce court.
If the marriage counselor is a professional and works for pay, his services, based as they are on Freudian principles, are probably worthless or worse. Except where there is organic difficulty, the root of all conflicts in the home is not mental but spiritual. Psychology and psychiatry are usually totally irrelevant. A spiritual problem always has a spiritual cause and requires a spiritual solution.
Many counselors, even some who are Christians, have been so influenced by Freud that they are totally unprepared to deal with a spiritual problem in a scriptural way. Many spiritually discerning persons are quite convinced that psychiatry is Satan’s substitute for the biblical remedy for disturbed relations. Many psychiatrists seek to help the person under stress by relieving him of personal responsibility for his difficulty – which only compounds the trouble. The origin of the conflict, except in organic cases, is almost invariably spiritual.
When the ego is inflated. Love is lacking. This is entirely a spiritual problem. The way out is not through separation or divorce.
Much marriage counseling is oriented toward the here and now. The primary goal is to heal the endangered marriage in the interest of the present happiness of the partners. Until they understand that life and marriage is an apprenticeship for the practice of agape love (God’s love) in preparation for rulership in heaven where the law of love is supreme, they are in danger of loss.
All of the efforts by psychologists and psychiatrists to bring about a reorientation and reintegration of personalities in marriage without dealing with the basic spiritual problem are in vain. It is one of the most lamentable tragedies of recent history.
Adapted from Paul E. Billheimer by Arthur Licursi