Who knew that an awesome byproduct of becoming MTW missionaries would be the organization's requirement of us to see a counselor before going to the field? Oh wait... God knew! And if right now God changed His plans and told us that He no longer wanted us to go to Romania and instead just needed to lead us through these past two years of following Him so that He could bring us closer to Himself through Dr. David Anderson, we would be cool with that.
Our well-thought-out response? "Um, we don't really know. Our mission agency required us to see a counselor but didn't really tell us what to work on. So..."
And that's how our relationship with Dr. Anderson started. But oh, how it has grown into so much more! He has walked beside us for over a year now, gently leading and encouraging us to grow deeper with one another. We learned to communicate better with one another by practicing rephrasing, asking open-ended questions, and talking about the deep things that really matter. He taught us to "walk in the light" together and hold nothing back. He has even helped us talk through our sex life and what it means to glorify Christ in our physical intimacy. He opened my eyes to the ways I was allowing Satan to shame me with guilt rather than hearing the Lord's sweet and gentle voice of conviction. He so graciously walked through my postpartum depression with me, and the Lord used his voice to remind me of Scriptural truth. He treats each topic with such respect and grace that - after that initial October visit - his couch has never been an uncomfortable one. Instead, we drive out to Bogart, GA every time thinking, "I wonder what we're going to talk about today!" and then driving home reflecting that "WOW! I can't believe we were able to uncover even more today!"
And then back in March we had the opportunity to participate in his Intimate Marriage Academy retreat at Stone Mountain. We brought along two dear couples with us and joined the other 50 people coming together to grow deeper in their marriages. We were so encouraged and had such a wonderful experience!
Marriage counseling - or counseling of any kind, really - seems to be a taboo topic of discussion. Derek and I would like to help dispel that. We were at a prideful place in our marriage when we didn't think we "needed" counseling. And yet now we see that we continually need counseling!! Driving to our counseling sessions, getting to dig deeper with one another for an hour or more, driving home, and stopping for dinner is now our favorite monthly date night. We encourage you to invest in your marriages similarly. Don't wait until you think you "need" it. Take care of the issues you don't even realize yet that you have. And not only that, but with or without issues, you will receive wonderful tips and insights that you didn't even know your marriage is missing out on!
Thank you, David, for all you have poured into our lives and how you've shown us the love of Christ!