The short answer is that counseling can’t hurt even if a spouse will not go along. Ideally both people will be willing to sit down and to discuss the problems of marriage.
There is a stigma about counseling to some people as it implies a weakness that a person cannot solve their own problems. However, it is like a Christian who must acknowledge they can’t make it on their own and trust God to help them. It takes more strength to admit that a marriage needs help than it does to ignore the problems and continue on in frustration.
Communication is a key to any good relationship and having an objective third party listen to each side’s frustrations can help a couple work through their problems. Counseling can be avoided if a couple is open and honest about their feelings and if they discuss them regularly. Many times however one person is more willing to talk than the other and that is when a third party is needed to draw out the feelings of both sides.
Many pastors have have some but limited training in counseling. It is good to sit down with a pastor to discuss problems that are occurring. These conversations should be kept completely confidential by the pastor.
Because pastor’s have limited time and limited training it is not uncommon to be referred to a professional marriage counselor. This doesn’t mean that a couple’s problems are so great that they can only be handled by a professional. It simply means that the pastor takes the marriage seriously and wants all of the needs addressed even if they are outside of his realm of expertise.
While marriage counselors abound, Christians should seek a Christian counselor. There is often a lot of psychological advice given by other counselors that is not backed up by the Bible. A good Christian counselor should stick to the Bible first a foremost and should strive for peace and harmony within a marriage.