February 1, 2020 @ 8:00 AM

Elsie and I approach couple counseling a little differently. We meet separately with husbands and wives to work on their individual issues before bringing them together for marriage counseling. In fact, premature marriage counseling can actually do more harm than good. We have found that to be the case with couples in conflict.

Often we’ve been asked, “How will you know they are ready to begin marriage counseling? What will tell you that sufficient progress has been made to begin seeing the couple together to work on the marriage? We look for several things: are the individuals faithful to keep their appointments and do the homework assigned? Does their spouse see observable changes in how their mate speaks, behaves, thinks toward them and others?

However, the greatest single sign of individual progress is genuine humility. Has the individual husband or wife become humble? Why humility? Because the Bible declares in 1 Peter 5:5, 6, You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. God opposes proud people but honors humble people by giving them grace. Notice humility is something we can do for ourselves.

What are the signs of humility that Elsie and I look for in our clients which tell us we can move on to marriage counseling? Here are a number of them taken from the life of the most humble man who ever lived, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of these are recorded in Philippians 2:3-11. Like Jesus, a humble person:

  1. Does not boast on self or personal accomplishments
  2. Deflects credit onto others who were invaluable in accomplishing the project
  3. Regards others as more important than self
  4. Accepts correction, rebuke, reproof without becoming defensive
  5. Accepts responsibility for personal behavior
  6. Has an earned reward attitude not an entitled mentality
  7. Has self-awareness, knowing areas of weakness and strength
  8. Is not jealous of the success of others but rather celebrates them
  9. Is obedient to those in authority
  10. Is not selfish or conceited
  11. Is teachable

It is challenging to see these signs of humility in a one hour, once/week counseling session. Challenging but not impossible. How about you? Are you characterized by genuine humility or are you prideful and unteachable? A humble man or woman is F.A.T.: Faithful, Available, and Teachable.

May you see the blessings of God in 2020 because you have chosen to humble yourself under His mighty hand,