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Caring for Marriages : Jonathan D. Holmes

Caring for Marriages : Jonathan D. Holmes

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Our new Video Series Equipping the Counselor:  Caring for Marriages with Jonathan D. Holmes.

What is “Caring for Marriages”? 

CFM is a series of nine videos with counselor and author, Jonathan D. Holmes. Drawing on nearly two decades of marriage counseling, Jonathan helps the everyday helper with the theological and practical skills to come alongside couples. 

Who should use CFM?

 CFM is not just for marriage counselors! This is a great resource that would be helpful for pre-marital counselors, lay counselors, marriage mentors, small group leaders, and church pastoral teams. Anyone who desires to help marriages would be helped in sharpening both their practical skills as well as deepening their theological understanding of marriage.

 What are some of the ways I could use CFM?

CFM has been structured and designed to be as usable and helpful for people in a variety of training and equipping settings. Consider some of these options:

  • Watch the videos individually or with your spouse.
  • Watch the videos as a group of lay counselors or marriage mentors, then follow it up with group discussion.
  • Assign these videos in advance to your team, and then come together to work through case studies and discussion.
  • Use the sessions topically as needed.

 How long are each of the videos?

The videos range between 35-45 minutes in length making them watchable and digestible in one setting. The videos could be broken up in briefer chunks to facilitate more robust discussion and engagement.

Should I purchase Counsel for Couples: A Biblical and Practical Guide for Marriage Counseling?

While not necessary, having the book will help you dive even deeper into the topics covered. Additionally, each topic that is covered in the book contains additional resources, books, and articles to help the counselor and mentor. You can purchase your copy here at the ABC Bookstore.

Is CFM good to use in cases of abuse? 

No! CFM is a marriage counseling equipping series where the conflicts and hardships in marriages are hard, not harmful. When abuse is discovered in marriage, separate counseling is advised.

 What all do I get with CFM?

Purchasers get access to all nine videos and a course workbook offering extensive notes and resources for each session.

How will I receive CFM?

CFM will be delivered to your email address after the purchase with a download link for all 9 videos and a workbook.

How can this be used in the ABC Certification process?

These videos can be used within all three levels of our certification pathway. For our Level 1 students, you could watch these videos along with module 9 for added content on Marriage counseling. For our Level 2 students, you could watch these videos as part of your 12 continuing education units and to increase your learning for marriage counseling. For our soon to be Level 3 students, get a head start as these videos will be a requirement for the Marriage and Family Specialized Certification. In addition, we highly encourage all our ABC training centers to utilize these videos within your previous and current Equipped to Counsel classes.

What's on the videos?


Foundations of Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling is a theological exercise in helping couples understand and live out the mission God created marriage for. Too often, marriage counseling can default to pragmatic how-tos without addressing the underlying issues that drive marital hardship. In this session, marriage mentors and counselors will be equipped with a biblical framework to understand marriage and its purposes.

Setting Up Your Sessions

How do you actually “do” the work of marriage counseling and mentoring? Many first-time marriage counselors approach marriage counseling the same way they do individual counseling. While many of the details overlap, marriage counseling is unique in that counselors are counseling three relationships: the husband, the wife, and the marriage relationship. Navigating all three of these requires the counselor to wisely understand the dynamics of marriage counseling.


Helping Couples with Communication

Communication is one of the number one issues why couples reach out for marriage counseling. In this session, we will seek to approach the issue of communication first and foremost from a theological perspective before making practical application to help couples speak and engage one another in love. Special attention will be given to addressing expectations and desires in marriage which so often drives our communication struggles.

Handling Conflict in Marriage

If communication is one of the number one issues in marriage counseling, then conflict resolution logically follows as its close cousin. Conflict in marriage is often understood and mishandled. Conflict is inevitable because two sinners are joined together in a marriage covenant; but just because it is inevitable, does not mean it has to be irreconcilable. Conflict is always an opportunity for couples to glorify God and live out a tangible picture of the gospel. Counselors will walk away with a biblical understanding of the conflict process as well as tools to navigate conflict.

Addressing Sexual Sin in Marriage

Sexual sin in marriage is increasingly common, even in Christian marriages. When sexual sin like pornography is uncovered in marriage, there are immediate priorities which must be accounted for as well as more short-term and long-term priorities. Issues like understanding the differences between disclosure, confession, and repentance will be explained and covered. Additionally, a portion of time will be dedicated to understanding how we can help the spouse of someone who has been betrayed when their partner uses pornography in marriage.

Understanding Forgiveness in Marriage

If there was a “key” to making marriages work, forgiveness would have to be at the top of the list. Couples in marriage counseling are typically there because of sin, hardships, and challenges. Often times, they have tried to move past these difficulties without taking time to seek and grant forgiveness to one another. This is due to many myths we have surrounding forgiveness which need to be de-bunked and reframed biblically. Counselors will be equipped with a biblical theology of forgiveness as well as a practical plan to help couples live out this reality in their relationship.

Rebuilding Trust in Marriage

When trust has been broken in marriage, it can be a long and hard road to re-build it. In this micro-session, counselors and mentors will be equipped to understand what restores trust (trustworthy actions) and how to help couples rebuild it.

Practicing Attunement in Marriage

Every marriage counselor needs practical tools in their toolbox to help them assist couples in deepening their connection and relationship to one another and to the Lord. In this exercise, adapted from John and Julie Gottman, counselors and mentors will be given a six-part framework to both teach and train couples to deepening their relational and emotional intimacy.

Addressing Adultery in Marriage

Like pornography in marriage, addressing adultery in marriage is becoming increasingly common in marriages. While the conventional wisdom might be that adultery is a deal-breaker in marriage, many couples are able to navigate this horrific tragedy and experience healing and hope in the Lord. In this micro-session, counselors and mentors will build on the material in Session 5 with particular application to this issue of adultery.





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