About I Choose Us (ICU)
Are you in need of pre-marriage counselling? Do you want to have a great marriage but are unsure how to go about it? Have you just gotten married and want to maintain that “in love” feeling? Do you wish your spouse understood better how to meet your needs? Are you struggling to keep the fires burning with your spouse? Are you curious about counselling and how it can prevent marital breakdown? Are you possibly thinking of divorce but want to give it one more try?
If the answer to any of the above is Yes, then you are at the right place! Read on to see how “I Choose Us” marriage counselling can help.
The purpose of this website is to introduce you to our concept of biblical marriage counselling, as well as our “I Choose Us” programme, a marriage counselling programme that, John and Karen Louis, developed in conjunction with the Central Christian Church in Singapore. This programme, based upon biblical principles and a sound therapeutic model, helps marriages become stronger, more united, and healthier. My wife, Patrice and I are trained counsellors in this marriage counselling programme.
We are alarmed at the rate of deterioration of marriages in Malaysia, Singapore, and around the world. Divorce is on the rise at an alarming rate (divorce rate in Singapore is approaching 30-35 %) and remarriage is not necessarily a solution–in fact the divorce rate for second marriages is approximately 10% higher. The cause of this high incidence of marriage breakdown and divorce can be attributed to the couple’s lack of meeting each other’s core needs within the marriage. Couples are simply not making their marriages a priority. For example, research reveals that in the UK, wives spend only 10 minutes each day talking with their husbands. Research has proven that the quality of a couple’s marriage effects their work, their health and, if they have children, their parenting. Therefore we must understand that the stakes are very high.
As a direct result of our belief in the relevance and power of the Bible’s teachings on marriage, the divorce rate within our congregations stands at roughly 2%, compared to 27% nationally. This does not mean that the marriages in our church are perfect, however it highlights the fact that we make our marriages a priority and actively invest our time, energy and emotions into making them stronger. The couples in our church receive training through programmes such as “I Choose Us”–both before and after marriage–on an ongoing, proactive basis.
Using a mixture of Schema and Movie Therapy™ as tools, the “I Choose Us” programme offers a Christian perspective on building “Love Connection” in your marriage by breaking harmful cycles. Our book, I Choose Us, complements the materials covered in this study, which offers participants opportunities to look deep into their marriage and learn skills that can help their marriage grow from strength to strength. The Movie Therapy™ component utilizes scenes from various Asian and Western movies to highlight teaching points in such a way that participants can see themselves in the movie characters.
Full copyright permission has already been granted by the MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corporation). Participants opting for counselling will gain the added benefits of biblical wisdom and crucial Christian small group support.
- Module 1 – Choose Love Connection
- Module 2 – Choose Love and Respect
- Module 3 – Choose Awareness
- Module 4 – Choose to be Vulnerable
- Module 5 – Choose Fidelity
- Module 6 – Choose Reconciliation
To get into “Love Connection”, spouses take the “I Choose Us” journey together. They will learn the stages of marriage and how they are different, they will learn more about how to meet the needs of “Love and Respect”, they will gain awareness about what might be causing them to be “stuck”, they will learn how to be vulnerable with each other and sensitively bring things out in the open, and they will learn to genuinely forgive each other. Steps to help couples replace anger, guilt, and coping styles with compassion and forgiveness will result in true LOVE CONNECTION!
Those who choose biblical counselling must also be willing to attend church services at our congregation. There are three main reasons for this:
Firstly, we lead a ministry and our time is limited, so it makes sense that the majority of our time is given to those attending church.
But more importantly, in our counselling approach, we believe that couples should give and receive emotional support from other couples in a small group setting, where transparency, and vulnerability with one another can take place. While there are a lot of churches in Malaysia, not all of them practice these principles effectively. Some have a quasi-form of support with their long time friends, but usually the practice of the principles of vulnerability and transparency are far from what is needed to help couples get to a better place. It takes training for a counsellor and a group to effectively help a couple to meet their respective need of love and respect for each other. In our congregation the leaders have already been trained and they are aware of what needs to be done to help a couple through their difficult times. We are rather meticulous about how we implement these principles.
Lastly, being in the same church family allows us to supervise the group that the client couple is in. We just do not have the time to supervise couples that are part of another church outside our ministry. Both Patrice and I have been conducting Christian counselling for people for over two decades. We have also done secular (non-religious) for many years. In our experience, we have found that couples opting for biblical counselling see more lasting effects.
The approach we use is a unique one, known as schema therapy for married couples. (Feel free to visit http://www.schematherapy.com for more information on what this therapy entails). This kind of marriage therapy explores both the partner’s childhood experiences and how he/she may go about coping with his/her unmet needs. You may also choose to buy the book, called, I Choose Us, by John Philip Louis and Karen McDonald Louis. (You may choose to order it from Amazon.com but it will take longer.)
Please refer to our website for more details about our church and practices at http://ipohcentralchristianchurch.com
ICU/GEP training workshops have been held in Malaysia, Singapore, various parts of Asia, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, various parts of US, Kiev, Bangalore, Budapest, Nassau, UK, Scandinavia, and various parts of Europe.
Presently I Choose Us has been translated into Indonesian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian, with the French version on the way.
To God be the Glory,
Teck Ming and Patrice