Faculty Wife | Part 17

by Elouise

Nouthetic Counseling - guardthyheart

This is one of the more bizarre things that has happened to me. Somewhat like My First Boss. I didn’t see it coming and I could scarcely believe it was happening.

Spring 1972. Jay Adams’ Competent to Counsel is selling like hotcakes; so are applications to attend Bill Gothard’s seminars and institutes. Their market? Conservative Christians similar to many who attend the Bible College.

I’ve already had my meeting with the Faculty Wives Fellowship group, and my appointment with the Bible College president. Now a new opportunity arises.

The Bible College just brought in a visiting professor and his wife for the spring semester. They’re Nouthetic counselors. This type of biblical counseling builds on Jay Adams’ approach in his best seller, Competent to Counsel.

Nouthetic counselors don’t endorse or practice psychological approaches to counseling. As the cheeky cartoon above suggests, the Bible teaches all we need to know and do to become spiritually healthy human beings.

The president announces that all faculty members and their wives are welcome to set up appointments with the visiting professor and with his wife. Men with him; women with her.

This free service is for anyone who would like to stop by, chat about anything, and study the Bible one on one. The visiting professor will also be offering counseling sessions to students.

When D conveys this information to me I dismiss it. Too busy. Don’t know this man’s wife. Yet I don’t seem to have other realistic possibilities to talk about my depression and isolation.

I gather my courage and call to make an appointment with Mrs. Visiting Professor. Should I bring anything? No, just your Bible.

On the appointed day I arrive with my Bible. She shows me into the dining room, takes a seat on one side of the table and invites me to sit opposite her. She seems pleasant, though not personal. Her Bible is already on the table, in front of her seat.

After a few seemingly harmless pleasantries, she says we’ll be studying the Bible each week. All I need to do is come ready to talk about the next chapter.

We read and discuss the first chapter in the book she has chosen. She doesn’t talk with me about anything going on in my life. She makes a few quick notes as we’re discussing the Bible reading. We finish the first chapter, pray together, and I leave.

On my second visit we go through the second chapter of the chosen book. I’m wondering when we’ll talk about what’s going on in my life. Getting to know me doesn’t seem to be on her agenda.

Yet at the end of the second or third session she closes her Bible, looks straight at me and tells me I have a problem. I’m not in submission to my husband. I need to go straight home and re-submit myself to his authority.

I’m so caught off guard I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what I said or did to lead to this conclusion. Nonetheless, I’m miserable and ready to do anything that might help.

When D gets home that evening I tearfully confess my lack of submission and tell him I am resubmitting myself to his authority.

D looks at me in disbelief and then laughs gently. Where did I get that idea? He reminds me that he respects and likes independent women who think for themselves. Furthermore, submission is a two-way street.

I wipe my tears and explain to D where this is coming from. He commiserates with me, and we talk about moving on. Leaving the Bible College. What isn’t working for me isn’t working for him, either.

Though this didn’t resolve my depression, it gave me hope for something better. But where will we go?

To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 November 2015
Image: http://www.stufffundieslike.com