When I started my Marriage SOS practice decades ago, I did so with the firm belief that people who are looking for marriage help should have a choice. That doesn’t just mean a choice between psychotherapy or mediation-based help or coaching, it also means a choice between religious or non-religious help.
While my practice is a non-religious none, I have nonetheless had countless clients of all religions who have successfully used my services over the past twenty years, and I’ve had countless clients with no religious affiliation who have also done so. That’s because when it comes to issues like infidelity, midlife crises, arguing or marital apathy, I get down to the nuts-and-bolts, so to speak. What works and what doesn’t work? What works long-term? There are things that need to happen in a marriage – regardless of one’s beliefs, whether religious, political or otherwise – if it is to survive.
When it comes to seeking help for something as important and intimate as your marriage and family security, it’s essential that you find the right approach for you. If that includes a religious element, wonderful – most churches, temples and mosques provide this service, and there are many religious counselors out there. In fact, I know that many people have found it hard to find non-religious counselors.
Which leads me to the one thing I do take issue with, and that’s when a religious element is “hidden” or left to the back pages of a book or the middle of an appointment or materials. Even very well-known books and approaches have been criticized for doing this. Since many of my clients come to me after having tried another approach or service, I can also attest to how many have felt annoyed at best and infuriated at worst when faced with religious content when there was no indication whatsoever of this on the website or product (if you’re unsure of a practitioner’s content in this regard, just ask them).
When a client is paying for a service, or a reader is buying a book, I believe they should know what they are getting, at least to a reasonable extent. Practitioners should be respectful enough of their clients to be transparent when it comes to something as personal as belief and how that may factor into their content. After all, those facing a marriage crisis have already had more than enough surprises and unexpected content in their lives! No need to add to that.
It’s your marriage. You have options and you should absolutely find the approach that aligns with your personal preferences. That way, the help you’re paying to receive has the best chance of doing its very specific job – helping you to overcome your relationship problems and keep your marriage and family intact.