Pastoral Counseling

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Bruce and Carol Rodda | Biblical Counselors

Bruce and Carol have a passion for helping couples grow and succeed in marriage.  In their 38 years of marriage, they have attended many seminars and read dozens of books to grow their own relationship. They have also been pre-marriage and marriage mentors for many couples.  Bruce and Carol are huge believers in setting goals together, and are in the process of working towards Bruce getting a counseling degree in which marriage and family will be a strong emphasis. Bruce has a Bachelor of Sacred Literature Degree from Northwest College of the Bible. He served in ministry positions for 18 years. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business. He worked in the Call Center industry and private consulting for 16 years. Bruce and Carol have a son and daughter. Both have been married for 7 years. They also have three grandchildren.

Bruce and Carol are available to share their years of marriage experience and the principles of scripture with members of The Mission Church.  You can contact them through the weekly Connection Card or by emailing them at counseling@themissionrenton.com.

Letting Your Spouse See The Desires Inside You

This blog is about talking to your mate.  Sharing with them the thoughts and feelings that you are having inside.  Especially when you desire to have or do something that you know or suspect is not a good idea.  In 2 Kings 5 a general of the Syrian Army, who is at war with Israel, comes to the prophet Elisha and is healed of his leprosy.  In gratefulness the general offers Elisha gold, silver and new clothes.  Elisha declines the gifts and the general leaves.  End of story, almost.

Elisha has a servant, Gehazi, who disagrees with Elisha’s decision and goes after the general, asks for and receives silver and new clothes.  Upon return he is confronted by Elisha and is stricken with the general’s leprosy as a punishment for what he did.

Gehazi, in asking the general for the gift and in talking to Elisha spins a web of deceit.  He tells lies to get what he wants and justify what he did.  The curious part of me wonders, what would have happened if Gehazi had an honest conversation with Elisha, before he went to general and asked for the gifts.  It might have gone something like this.  “Elisha, I am angry about your refusing the gifts.  We have given over our lives to being prophets of God, but we live like beggars.  We wear old clothes that are falling apart, we eat nothing but beans and rice, and most of the time we don’t know where our next dollar is coming from.  I think we should have taken some of what he offered us.  He has plenty to spare.  You cured him from a terminal disease.  And he is our enemy, most of what he has he stole from our country anyway. I think we need and deserve what he wanted to give us.  What if that gift is God’s plan to care for us?’

I imagine three possible outcomes from Gehazi’s honest words.  First, while it is unlikely, Elisha might have said, “You are right, I made a mistake, God wants us to have that gift.”  Or more likely, Elisha would have presented his reasons for refusing the gift.  Or thirdly, in speaking his thoughts out loud, Gehazi might have come to his senses and realized that his desire for the gifts was really based on his greed and lack of trust.

Here is how this fits with marriage.  When we do impulsive things that hurt our spouse, we often don’t think them through very carefully.  It is only after we do the act that we come up with elaborate justifications for why what we did was right and good.  If however, we take the time to put our feelings and thoughts into words and share them with our spouse then two things will happen. First, the very fact of putting what is going on inside into words, helps us better know our motives and desires.  Secondly, sharing what is inside us with our mate brings intimacy.  Better knowing ourselves and closer intimacy yields better decisions and a better life.

One closing thought.  Notice that the words that I placed in Gehazi’s mouth are non-critical and non-judgmental.  Gehazi speaks about himself and what he is experiencing, he does not attack or put down Elisha.  And that is important, if you share your inner world with your mate, share yourself not your judgement of your spouse.

Two Become One

By: Bruce Rodda

I know a man who is about to mark a one year anniversary.  Now he has been married for over 30 years, but late this month he will pass the one year anniversary of his wife’s surgery.  The surgery was to be routine but there were complications.  For the past year she can barely walk, has difficulty speaking, is incontinent often, and, most of the time, she has the mental functioning of a toddler.  He is glad his wife is still alive, and while there is life there is hope.   Yet in some ways this is worse than death.  They are physically together most of the time, but mentally and emotionally he is alone.  She is still present in body, but most of what made her his partner in life is missing.  And he grieves deeply over that loss.

Several people have hinted that maybe it is time to move on.  He was telling me last week that he would never do that.  He is not a practicing Christian and so I was curious about why he was so committed.  His reason, “She believed in us.” He went on to say that this was his second marriage.  He came out of his first marriage mentally battered and destroyed.  His confidence as a husband was shot.  They struck up a friendship.  And long before he was ever ready to consider marriage again, “She believed in us.”  I know enough of his story to know that their marriage was never easy, and the last 10 years have been tough.  But there is a glue that holds them together.   He and she had become us.

This reminds me of what Paul says in Ephesians 5:31-32.  “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”  Marriage at its core is a process of two becoming one.  You and I become us, and in that oneness we illustrate the oneness between Christ and the Church.

Perhaps today is a good day to remind each other that when you were married, something new and beautiful was created, us.  And no matter if that was 30 days ago or 30 years ago, you still believe in us.  Maybe pull each other close, look into each other’s eyes and say together, “I believe in us.”