As a marriage specialist, I’ve spent over 45 years helping thousands of couples develop and maintain strong emotional connections with one another, characterized by lots of emotional and physical intimacy. Developed from the evidence-based, scientific research by Dr. John Gottman, we achieve a relational “paradigm shift" in the way you relate to each other. Great marriages involve lifelong courtship in which your partner knows that “there is no person, thing or activity more important to you than they are.”
When clients say they want a Christian marriage therapist, they generally mean they want somebody who shares their values and won’t be negative or judgmental concerning their belief system. They want to comfortably relate to their therapist and feel understood and supported. If that is what you are looking for, I think we will get along great!
After spending over 48 years dealing with marital issues as a pastor and a marriage specialist, I find that I’m able to integrate biblical values and morals with the results of the Gottman research very effectively. Simply put, when one looks at the results of the Gottman research, it is clear from a biblical perspective that the master couples are living by Christian values and beliefs, whether they are professing Christians are not, whereas the disaster couples are primarily living by current secular cultural values and beliefs. A simple way to describe this observation is to say that successful couples focus on the other person and meeting their needs and caring for them, as opposed a secularist continually focusing on their own needs and whether or not “their needs” are being met.
From a relational standpoint, Christianity is all about relationships, that is “healthy relationships.” Jesus tells us that when a person loves God with all of their heart soul and mind and his neighbor as himself, they fulfill the whole Law of God.. That is to say, the main thing God requires of a person is that they have a proper relationship with Him, ourselves, our spouses, our children and everyone around us. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God helps us live this way with each other through the teaching of His Word and His indwelling Holy Spirit.
The problem Jesus had with the Pharisees was as they were more into trying to prove that they were right and everybody else is wrong, or worse yet, that they were better than everyone else because they kept the teachings of the Law “perfectly.” They may have been the teachers of the law, but they were not loving, empathetic Christians who served other people.
So, in summary I would say that since I was a pastor who taught through the entire Bible from cover to cover numerous times during my 45 years in the ministry, I can relate to Christians and understand their perspectives and needs. However, at the same time, I’ve been working as a marriage counselor with believers and nonbelievers with no particular negative reactions from either group. I value both the teachings of Scripture and the discoveries of relational research. I don’t see them in any kind of opposition to each other.
Finally, I have found that I am very comfortable with Christian and non-Christian clients and they are comfortable with me. Often, secular people have stereotypes of Christians, especially ministers. I prefer to relate to them as a person building a relationship and trust before they find out that I have also been a pastor. That way, they don’t reject me as a potential marriage counselor before they even know who I am. My key to effectively relating to Christians or people of any other persuasion is to make sure that my focus is on them and their perspectives, feelings and needs, rather than on trying to persuade anyone of my personal perspectives. In that way, non-Christians don’t feel like I am trying to proselyte them, but at the same time they come to trust me enough to really open up in some of their difficult areas and allow me to be therapeutically helpful because I’ve been loving toward them rather than judgmental.
I hope I have made clear where I stand on these issues so you can be comfortable making the choice whether or not you want to work with me. In any case, I sincerely hope that you get the help you need to build a strong and happy marriage.
Please reach out today to set up an introductory meeting with Jim.
Jim Ramsey has over 40 years of Marriage Counseling experience, with a focus on Christian Marriage Counseling.
Pres. Youth for Christ club Grossmont high school San Diego
Pres., Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship San Diego State University
Youth for Christ Club Director, San Diego, California
Youth Pastor, First Assembly of God Church, San Diego, California
Youth Pastor, Trinity Assembly of God Church, Pasadena, California
Associate Pastor, Redwood City California Peninsula Christian Center, Redwood City California
Founder and Director of The Way In Coffee House Ministry, Redwood City, California
Pastor, Bancroft Baptist Church, Spring Valley, California
Associate Pastor, Christian Life Center, Missoula, Montana
Founder of Aletheia high school Clubs in Missoula County high schools
Founder of Aletheia College Ministry and Coffee House Ministry at the University of Montana
Founder of Alethea Counseling and Stress Management
Founder of Calvary Chapel, Missoula, Montana and pastor for 30 years