This course introduces the student to marriage and family counseling.

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What you will learn?

Introducing Marriage Counseling

Marriage is an institution that is widely recognized globally regardless of if you are a believer or unbeliever, rich, or poor. Unfortunately, it is also an institution that has been devalued and attacked the most in our society today.

Defining Marriage
It is interesting to see that even in today’s perverse world, we can still find secular resources physically and online e.g., Britannica that still identifies the marriage union to be between a man and woman. The online encyclopedia defines marriage as this “a legally and socially sanctioned union, usually between a man and a woman, that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that prescribe the rights and
duties of the partners and accords status to their offspring (if any).”

On the “The Marriage Foundation” website, it states “Marriage is generally defined as a lifetime institution conceived of, comprised of, and created together by two people, and legitimized by the govt and/or by religious authority. If you pay close attention to this definition compared to the one by Britannica, you will observe that it doesn’t say between a man and a woman, but between two individuals, it can be between two individuals of
the same sex. This is the secular definition of marriage accepted globally.

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Defining Christian Marriage

What is Christian Marriage?
To define Christian marriage, we must go back to the book of beginnings, Genesis. “And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18 KJV “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:22-24

God instituted the first marriage; it was blessed and consecrated by Him. Marriage is sacred, designed by God to be between men and women for His glory. Christian marriage is NOT a contract or agreement like many in the secular world label it as, but instead, it is a covenant made between God, the man, and the woman. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:6

God’s plan for marriage is to provide companionship, spiritual fellowship, raise godlychildren, and establish and build His kingdom. In today’s world, marriage has been turned into something else, something that is contrary to God’s will. The number of divorces have skyrocketed in recent years alone; the sanctity of marriage has been devalued and seen as just a piece of paper to be signed. You see people of the same sex (homosexuals) getting married even in churches, churches that claim that they are built on biblical truths. you will see many justifying the practice of same-gender relationships. It is not a sin; it is an “alternative lifestyle.” they state. Many people, especially in the western world, are living together without being married. It has become the norm of society. Living out of wedlock is not sin; it is a responsible way to prepare for marriage. (another way to justify sinful actions). It is sad to see that even those who profess to be believers are engaged in such ungodly lifestyles.

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Marital Customs, Laws & Rituals
Marriage Traditions & Customs Around the World

As mentioned in the introduction section, marriage is an institution that is widely recognized all over the world. It is found to exist in almost all cultures or societies regardless of religious/faith beliefs and economic status. Every culture has its own customs, laws and ritual practices when it comes to the institution of marriage.

Examples of customs or practices in certain cultures are:

• Brides wear crowns to deflect evil spirits (Norway)
• No Smiling on the Wedding Day (Congo). During the entire wedding day, they must not smile. The couples are considered unserious about the marriage if they
• Trade by Barter (South Africa) In the Zulu culture, the dowry is typically beneficial to both parties. The bride price/dowry (Lobola) is paid to the bride’s family to show gratitude to the family for raising the prospective bride. It is also a display of apology for taking away their ‘precious jewel.’ After accepting the payment, the bride, in turn, buys groceries and gifts for the groom and the groom’s family.

• Placing a Baby on the Couple’s Bed to bless and enhance their fertility (Czech Republic).
• Jumping the broom (African American culture, US).
• Mandatory to give birth before Marriage (South Sudan). Among the Nuer people of South Sudan, the groom pays 20 to 40 cows to the bride’s family before the formal wedding ceremonies occur and the bride must produce at least 2 children.

In a lot of societies, marriage is an elaborate affair and celebrated with merriment and much fanfare. Depending on the economic status of the family, it can be quite costly for both sides of the family (in most cases, the groom’s family, depending on if it’s a matrilineal or patrilineal society).

Within a society or culture, you will find marriage unions are only permitted within tribes, ethnic groups, a particular clan or kinship. Also, within cultures or societies, one will find different forms of marital unions being practiced aside from monogamy (the traditional union between one man and one woman), there are other types; for example, polygamy (a marriage of one man to two or more wives), bigamy (the unlawful contracting of a marriage by or with a woman who is already married to another man). Polygamy is still currently practiced in several parts of the world for example, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

One of the most common practices, you will find in many parts of the world like in most parts of Africa and South Asia, is the giving of dowry. Dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a man brings to his wife/wife’s family for
marriage. This is most common in cultures that are strongly patrilineal and that expect women to reside with or near their husband’s family. One of the primary functions of a dowry has been to serve as a form of protection for the wife against the very real possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. In some cultures, take the
Nigerian culture, the man usually pays the dowry (also called bride-price) and is thus considered the head of the family. If the bride price is not paid, the wedding will not take place.

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The Godly Family -The Christian Home
The Christian family & the Home

The Christian home typically comprises the man, the wife, and the children. It is a home where God has been placed at the center of it. The following found on sermon is one of my preferred definitions of a Christian home. “It is where husband and wife function as partners, submitting to each other in fear of God to establish God’s purpose for their lives. A Christian home is where children learn to respect and honor themselves and others.” I have always been taught that the Christian home is an extension of the church of Jesus Christ. It is from the home that communities are built. And it is because of this; the enemy has been waging for decades against the Christian home. The Christian home is Christ-centered, a place where members of the family join
in regular fellowship, praying and studying the Word of God together.



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Marriage Counseling from a Biblical Worldview
Christian Marriage Counseling

Counseling from a biblical perspective or worldview is founded on the premise that emotional problems are usually spiritual problems. Submission to Christ and His Word is the solution to man's problems caused by his sin. As pastors, ministers, and lay counselors, counseling couples from a biblical perspective is not an option. It is
 mandatory. The Lord God has provided the resources and tools needed to counsel His children the right way, and that is through the lens of Scripture. The Holy Spirit of God, the great Counselor, is the number one resource to be utilized in every counseling session. Through the intervention of the Spirit of God and the application of God's Word, counseling is effectively done. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you." John 14:26 HCSB.

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Counseling with the Family

Marriage and family counseling is sometimes done by counselors or therapists simultaneously. In this case, counseling or therapy will not only include the couple, but also the children, grandparents and if in a blended family situation, co-parents.
Marriage & family counseling from a biblical worldview is rooted on the Word of God and is to guide individuals seeking spiritual, physical and emotional healing in the right direction, in the direction of God, the healer, Jesus, Lord & Savior and the Holy Spirit, the great comforter, and counselor.

Most Christians seeking help and support in their marriages and families ordinarily will not make secular counseling their first choice. They instead seek out marriage counselors or therapists who share their same beliefs and values, or they go to their pastors or biblical counselors within the confines of their church community.

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The Differences Between Christian Marriage Counseling and Secular Marital Counseling
Christian vs Secular Marriage Counseling - The Comparison

Both faith-based (Christian) counseling and secular counseling share one thing in common: to help people overcome the challenges they face in their homes and marriages and find true joy and meaning in their lives. The strategies, tools or resources used to accomplish this task is where the two concepts of marriage differ. Many things could be said about the differences between Christian and secular marriage counseling, but only a few of them will be highlighted in this course. 


In Biblical/Christian Marriage Counseling,
• Marriage counselors view life through the lens of Scripture. They help guide counselees into seeking solutions to their problems using the Word of God and guidance by the Spirit of God.

• Is very directive because God is directive in His Word.

• The goal is for the counselee/the individual to identify his sin and to repent from it ~ Healing, freedom and recovery are results of repentance.

• Counselors help couples in implementing new patterns of living by replacing ungodly habits, mindsets with biblical models for life.

• God is the final authority, and it is only through the lens of Scripture, God’s Word can all life issues including marriage can be resolved.

• Biblical concepts and principles are applied to help provide specific direction and accountability.

• Counselors are not regulated by the state laws or ethics. Biblical or Christian counseling is generally not covered by medical insurance and not for the treatment of mental health diagnosis.

• Counseling is seen as a ministry unto God.


In Secular Marriage Counseling,
• There are a few absolutes; values are conditional, they are frequently changing and fluctuating, often in relation to society’s standards or norms.

• Various theories and models are used to resolve marital conflicts and other issues in the home.

• Credentialed therapists create treatment plans that may include medications, and other therapeutic services.

• The counselor takes personal credit for any positive change in client. The counselor does not give God the credit.

• Counseling is seen as an occupation, vocation, or profession.

• Secular counselors for example in the United States are typically licensed by the state and must abide by the rules the state creates in terms of laws, ethics, and standards.

• The counselor often encourages the individual to seek his own solutions and is often “non-directive”. Secular counseling does not recognize the need to adhere to God or any deity’s morals or values.

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Biblical Principles for Christian Marriages and Homes
12 Biblical Principles to Help Guide You in Your Marriage/Home

Let us look at some biblical principles for Christian marriages and homes.

1. Both husband and wife must be born again; and live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 Peter 1:15-16, 23.

2. Love Christ and love each other wholeheartedly. Colossians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Ephesians 5:25.

3. Couples should honor, be submissive(wives) and cherish each other always. 1 Peter 3:7, Colossians 3:18-19.

4. Couples should be in unity, working and walking in one accord. The author, Gbile Akanni states that the man and woman coming together enhances their life together and makes it complete and completed in every aspect. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Ephesians 5:31, Genesis 2:18.

5. Recognize who the enemy of your marriage and home is. John 10:10, Ephesians 6:11-12. Stand together to fight the enemy and not each other.

6. Do not be judgmental and critical of each other – Be ready to accept your faults in any issues, confess it, repent, and forgive. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Ephesians 4:32.

7. Speak words of life, words of comfort and encouragement to each other. 1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 4:2-3, Proverbs 18:21.

8. Try to spend quality time as a couple and as a family. Ephesians 5:19, 1 Peter 1:22, Hebrews 10:25.

9. Do not make it a habit to always invite others into your marital issues. Allow the Lord to guide you when necessary to seek godly counsel. Apply godly wisdom. Genesis 2:24, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Psalm 32:8.

10.Proactively practice patience and kindness in your relationship -Galatians 5:22-23, I Corinthians 13:4-8.

11.Learn to listen to each other – Be proactive in your listening. Hear what your spouse is saying to you, both orally and verbally. Be fully present in the conversation.

12.Avoid stress related to money/finance. Spend and invest wisely as a couple. Seek financial counseling or coaching when necessary. Luke 6:38, Job 36:11, Philippians 4:11-13, Philippians 4:19, Proverbs 10:22.

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Strategies For Empowering & Equipping Christian Marriages and Homes
Biblical Strategies That Works

It is impossible to say that you will not encounter storms or challenges in your marital relationships and families. However, the Lord Jesus has assured us that he will be with us through the storms of life, which includes challenges in the home. He has provided the above-listed principles to help guide our homes. In addition, through His ministers whom He has given the mantle and ministry of counseling, strategies have also been
designed to help deal with and overcome obstacles in Christian homes. Let us look at some of them:


Put aside all sinful behaviors and attitudes. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. “Hebrews 12:1 NIV.

Instead of complaining all the time, pray regularly about everything. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 NLT.

Put on the right mindset. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NIV
Apply godly wisdom and put your whole trust in Him. “Surely God is my salvation ’I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation’ Isaiah 12:2 NIV

Always seek peace. Learn to dwell in peace with your spouse and children. Strive to be a peacemaker. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Proverbs 14:19 NASB.


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Final Thoughts

The Christian marriage/home is very crucial to God’s plan and purpose for His people and as biblical counselors, lay counselors and ministers of God, we must take seriously the ministry of reconciling homes and families back to each other and to God. The Lord hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and does not want to see His children continue to take it as an easy way out when His Holy Spirit along with spiritual tools, principles and strategies are readily available to be used to help restore homes and help strengthen and build lasting marital and family relationships.

End of Course

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Final Exam
Final Exam -Intro to Marriage & Family Counseling Course -BC205

 Please note that only students of the Diploma in Biblical Counseling and Crisis Care program are permitted to take the final exam for this course.  It is NOT required for individuals who are enrolling in this course for their own personal enrichment. 



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Download Form

Download  exam form and submit your answers via school page link below:

or via email at in word document


 Please allow 3-5 business days from submission for exam to be reviewed and graded.  

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About the course

This course introduces the student to marriage and family counseling. In this course,students will learn how to apply effective tools and strategies to help the couples they counsel (counselees) within their local churches and communities overcome issues in their marriages, families thereby strengthening and building lasting relationships. This course is NOT for licensed therapists, marriage counselors, or any other credentialed provider. It is a foundational course for pastors, and other Christian ministers/leaders seeking to counsel, encourage and support Christian marital couples, about to wed couples, and families in their relationships.

 The Introduction to Marriage & Family Counseling - BC 205 is one of the core courses of The Diploma in Biblical Counseling & Crisis Care program. 



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About the teachers

Alick C

Course(s) Taught: Counseling God's Way (Certificate program), Biblical Theology

Apostle Alick is a regional trainer and affiliate with Sword of The Spirit Bible Institute. He is also a trainer/instructor with Impact Bible College in Namibia and  the senior pastor of Christian Faith Impact Ministries (CFI). He has been in this leadership position since 2016.  Apostle Alick is a graduate of Bootstrap Christian University and is currently a student at Tnet Africa, an International Christian Training Ministry. 

Margaret O.

Course(s) Taught: Biblical Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Life Coaching, Christian...

 Dr Margaret is the president & founder of Sword of The Spirit Bible Institute. She possesses a Masters of Arts in Christian Studies and a Doctorate in Biblical Studies from Masters University of Divinity, Indiana. In addition,  Dr. Margaret has obtained professional certifications in healthcare and advanced ministry training in Biblical Counseling, Coaching, Christian Ethics, Marriage & Family Counseling, Addiction & Recovery Counseling, Benefits of Godly Wisdom, Practicing Self Care, Systematic Theology, Biblical Mentoring from several Christ-Centered training programs and organizations to include the American Association of Christian Counselors, and the International Institute of Faith Based Counseling. 


Sword of The Spirit Bible Institute

A Biblically Centered Training Program
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