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Do You Need Conflict Coaching Before Marriage Counseling?

In certain situations, conflict coaching can make a world of difference.


Some married couples have experienced such a major breakdown in communication that they no longer are able to have any type of constructive discussion. They are so hurt and angry that they are often unable to talk together without erupting into argument and blaming one another. Or, one person may walk away angry, become silent, or passive at any sign of conflict. If one or more conflicts are not resolved in a reasonable length of time, then additional conflicts build on the first one. 

In situations like this, conflict coaching can make a world of difference. 

A conflict coach is trained in conflict resolution and usually works with a couple for a limited, focused time, anywhere from one to three days.  He or she will guide a couple to identify problem areas and correct attitudes, actions, and wrong ideas so that a couple can reestablish communication. Then the couple can move toward counseling for the deep issues or problems that trouble their marriage. A conflict coach guides the couple to resolve each conflict so that a couple can move toward counseling that will help them correct attitudes, actions, and wrong ideas about marriage and family.

A counselor, on the other hand, can help you work through a variety of issues—recovering from an affair, overcoming problems with in-laws, dealing with hurts or offenses from the past, learning how to forgive someone according to Scripture, etc. This may be a long-term process, depending on the depth of your hurt and how much it has affected your marriage. Counseling goes much deeper, but it depends on open communication.

Bottom line: When communication has broken down, conflict coaching can reestablish communication so that a couple can go on to seek counseling for the deep issues or problems that trouble their marriage.

Finding a conflict coach

We recommend using a conflict coach who is trained in the principles of Christian conciliation (coaching others through a conflict/mediation in marriage), and understands how these principles work.  In strategic alliance with Peacemaker® Ministries, FamilyLife now offers a list of trained conflict coaches who have earned the status of Certified Christian Conciliator™ from the Institute for Christian Conciliation of Peacemaker® Ministries.

These individuals agree to abide by the Standard of Conduct for Christian Conciliation. The process is conducted according to the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation established by Peacemaker Ministries. This ensures that all parties involved are treated equally.

 How to find a Christian marriage conflict coach near you:

  • See a list of Christian conciliators
  • Call 1-800-FL-TODAY (358-6329) to speak with a FamilyLife customer service representative.
  • Contact the Institute for Christian Conciliation, a division of Peacemaker Ministries, at (406) 256-1583 to schedule a telephone conference. For more information about this option, visit Peacemaker's website.

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Note: Neither FamilyLife nor Peacemaker® Ministries endorse any Christian marriage conciliator's qualifications, proficiencies, or suitability to provide biblical counsel nor conciliation services in a particular case.

Neither FamilyLife nor Peacemaker Ministries has any control over services provided by Christian marriage conciliators not directly administered by the Institute for Christian Conciliation, a division of Peacemaker Ministries. The purpose of this resource is to inform and educate couples for decision-making in the midst of marital difficulties. We hope it assists you, if you are in need of marriage conciliation, to ask pertinent questions and find the best conciliator for enlisting God's guidance and encouragement to resolve your marital conflict. © 2008 by FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.


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