A married preacher with a teenage child was expelled by the church. The preacher was a shepherd in the church before learning psychology, but no one could verify his so-called "doctor" identity. He started counseling believers in the church, especially on marriage problems. I was once invited to his seminar by a brother.
Many people went to him for his articulation and agreed on his viewpoints, including unmarried young sisters with dating questions. They asked him how to look for a spouse or if their current relationship pleased God.
He then told one young sister who went to him that her boyfriend wasn't who God had prepared for her. He told her to break up with him and so she did. She came to him many times after the breakup, and they started an affair.
He swiftly divorced his wife and married the young sister. They have a child about five or six year-old. He was expelled by the church right after the affair.
His articulation attracted more people so they started to run marriage counseling training at home. He also preached in churches that were not aware of his issues and made friends with many pastors. These pastors had no idea what he was like before, but noticed his marriage problem as they became more close. Some asked him: "If you have problems in your own marriage, how can you tutor us?" He replied: "Because mine wasn't perfect, I can use myself as an example so you won't follow my pattern."
Many people were fooled into following him. He was also ordained as a pastor in a house church and helped others who are "unappreciated" in three-self churches to be pastors. So they became friends and these people often covered for him.
When I was in school, there was a teacher who did pastoral and marriage counseling for free. Turns out he cheated with a student behind his wife's back a while ago. He was expelled by the school when it was exposed. This person was a pastor and rumor says he went to serve in churches in southern China, claiming he was mistreated in three-self churches because there's no love in these churches.
These are the two marriage counseling preachers that I encountered, yet both of their marriages failed. They talk one way, but act differently when it comes to themselves.
Marriage is different for everyone because of each one's circumstance. The most important thing is to find balance in one's situation to sustain the marriage rather than listening to someone's diatribe. It is possible that the person analyzing your marriage is a mess himself. I heard a story about a preacher's wife who threw a blanket on the podium while he was talking about how to handle family issues. She said that he should always stay an the podium since he was a totally different person away from it.
I'm not saying that we don't need counseling when something's wrong with our marriage, but don't listen to someone else blindly. We need to see if the teaching fits our marriage. Marriage is not clean cut and everyone's situation is different. People don't feel happy if they imitate others' life style. We don't need to change our spouse, but to adapt to him or her.
(Note: the author is a guest writer and a young preacher. The viewpoints in the article represent the author's only.)
-Translated by Grace Hubl