Christian Marriage Counseling - A Private Weekend Intensive Marriage Retreat for the Two of You

Speaking to the Troubled Heart, Healing Your Deepest Betrayals.

Attend a Christian Marriage Counseling Retreat relied upon by ministers and pastors for their own marriages...Principled Guidance blended with science-based wisdom.

Imagine a more hopeful future. One that is guided by faith and enriched by intimate friendship.

Choose from two remarkable clergy with clinical licenses and training in mental health with specialty certification in the science of happy couples.

Jim Ramsey

​​​​For more than 49 years, Rev. Jim Ramsey, thrice ordained minister, Marriage and Family Therapist (#147), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (#134) and Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist (only about 300 worldwide!) has been helping couples see God's wisdom in Science-based couples therapy. We're proud to have him join our international group of all-star couples therapists at Couples Therapy Inc.

Dr. Doug Burford

Dr. Doug Burford is an ordained minister with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University,  a Licensed Professional Counselor (#2682), and has advanced training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy. He and his wife have been helping couples for decades.

"How do religious leaders reconcile science-based and religiously-based Christian Marriage Counseling?"


Over the past 40 years, we've learned that premier researcher Dr. John Gottman's work is fully compatible with Biblical teachings about relationships. Dr. Gottman has written a biblical guide for those who want to meditate on and study how science and religious teachings work together.

While his research wasn't shaped around religious ideology, it shouldn't be surprising to learn that there are many tie-ins between Scriptures and research on intimate relationships.

Rev. Jim Ramsey has been an early adopter of this science based work and blends his unique approach to helping thousands of couples over the past five decades discover closer, more intimate relationships. Dr. Burford has advanced training in Dr. Gottman's methods (Levels I, II, & III) as well as facilitate workshops for couples using these approaches.

Rev. Jim Ramsey blends religious and scientific principles as a Gottman-certified Couples Therapist.

Dr. Burford is a minister, certified spiritual director, and authorized facilitator of two Gottman Institute workshops.

Ministers and Pastors of all denominations are often directly called upon to help​​​​ congregants in troubled marriages.

When their own marriages need guidance and tending to, they turn to an international organization noted for ethically-based solutions to intimate issues.

Shouldn't you?

Couples Therapy Inc. is proud to be able to assist these valuable community leaders and other faith-based couples. We offer highly skilled couples therapists who are comfortable integrating Christian based counseling with science.


Gottman's Science-based Language

Dr. Gottman began his research in 1972, in collaboration with Dr. Robert Levenson.  He's observed over 3,000 couples in his reach lab.  He videotaped them talking about ​pleasant topics, and areas of continuing disagreement.  He monitored their heart rate, blood flow velocity, and sweat output, recording moment-by-moment changes.  Endocrine and immune functions were also obtained. He used science to demonstrate age-old teachings about human nature and relationships.  

Harsh Start-ups​

Gottman found that 96% of the time​, the way a discussion starts out predicts the way it will end. If you bring up an issue in a harsh way, there is only a 4% change that it will right itself.

Although seen occasionally with all couples, harsh start-ups are highly predictive of divorce when they are prevalent.​

Gottman: Fondness and Admiration

Gottman emphasizes ways to actively enhance fondness and admiration in a relationship. How you look upon any particular interaction is going to impact how you respond to it.  Is your spouse a loving, caring force in your life?  Are they trying their best, or are they trying to take advantage of you?  Are you grateful or resentful of their efforts to influence you and the direction of your family?

We teach this to couples in our ongoing Couples Intensive Retreats and in Online Couples Therapy and apply these principles to Christian marriage counseling.

Proverbs 16:24  "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Song of Solomon 4:1-15  "How beautiful you are, my darling!  Oh how beautiful!  Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead...."

Biblical Language

Colossian 4:6  "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Proverbs 15:4 "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."​​​​
Philippians 4:5  "Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near."

"We both felt very heard by our therapist and I felt the heaviness lift off of my soul."

"We were argumentative and in despair. Reverend Jim Ramsey was nonjudgmental, accepting, wise, discerning, and strategic. He had lots of practical tools, created a peaceful environment, offered tons of life experience, and practiced gentle truth telling.

"With him, we processed a lot of pain and misunderstanding. The process of being able to share heart-to-heart in an in-depth away with another person has really brought a lot of perspective in healing into our relationship. We had gotten stuck in terrible patterns due to pain, confusion and exhaustion.

"Reverend Jim seemed to know exactly what had happened and why it happened and how we could crawl our way out of this painful place we were in. He’s a very deep and approachable man and he has a wonderful and beautiful life that resonates with receiving truth from him.

"I would definitely recommend him to others. He is a deep fountain of knowledge but completely approachable and very accepting of where ever you are at or what process you bring into the therapy. He has so much life experience. He is realistic, is also very pragmatic but very intuitive at the same time. He is very gentle and kind but seems to be someone who does practice what he preaches and that’s why what he’s talking about is all real. I believe we’ll put into practice the tools and strategies that we tried here. It has really brought a lot of perspective in healing into our relationship."   - Recent Retreat Participant


Gottman: Turning Toward Instead of Turning Away

"Little connections often."  Turning toward are subtle, and learning what to do to reconnect, when these small daily connections are missed, creates loving bonds. When one turns away or against these small bids for connection, partners are left lonely and isolated. Gottman refers to these as "deposits" or "withdrawals" from the Emotional Bank Account.

Thessalonians 2:8  "So we cared for you.  Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
Romans 12:10  "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."​

Gottman: Stress Reducing Conversations

One aspect of Turning Toward is a daily exercise called 'Stress Reducing Conversations." It allows the couple to discuss outside stressors and get comfort from each other. It has been scientifically proven to reduce relapse.

Romans 12:15  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."​
Philippians 4:14  "Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."

Gottman: Perpetual Problems

The majority of problems couples experience in a marriage are perpetual. They are never going to evaporate. For this reason, Gottman refers to the need to "manage" marital conflicts and not "resolve" them. Learning how to dialogue about different perspectives with amusement, respect, and affection is the key.

Ephesians 4:2  "Be patient with each other making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
2 Corinthians 12:9  "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient; for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Gottman: Contempt

Contempt puts someone down, and puts oneself on a higher plane. When partners feel superior, and act with belligerence, contempt becomes a habit of mind. This habit constantly scans the environment for people's faults and mistakes, rather than looks for what is positive or what to admire. It is the single best predictor of divorce.

Proverbs 26:21  "A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers lights charcoal or fire lights wood."​
Matthew 5:22  "...If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. If you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."​

Rev. Jim Ramsey with his wife, Diane.

Doug and Claudia Burford

Rev. Jim Ramsey and Dr. Burford are two of 20 skilled couples therapists, whom specialize in Christian marriage counseling.  Rev. Ramsey practices in the far West. Dr. Burford practices Christian Marriage Counseling in the Midwest. We also have religiously-oriented counselors in the Southern USA as well.

Learn more about our Team

Ask us about our special pricing for ministers, rabbis, pastors, active missionaries and those in similar religious callings.


Contact Us Now to Get Back on the Right Track

How to Select a Christian Marriage Counselor: Credentials, Faith and Commonsense.

Credentials in Conducting Counseling

In the tricky world of marriage counseling and marriage retreats, it becomes confusing to determine who is qualified to help your marriage in crisis. Anyone can claim to help a marriage, but proper licensing and specialized training is essential to effective treatment.  Christian marriage counseling should combine both a deep integration of religious belief and discipline, a license to practice psychotherapy in the state where he/she practices, and specialized organized training experiences in couples therapy in addition to years of clinical training. You may also look for someone who has specific experience in working with couples in crisis.

You can ask questions that will help you decide if a particular therapist is a good fit for you:

  • What type of license do you have? Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC),  Psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Psychiatrist (MD).
  • Where is the license held? Which state? The license should be from a state licensing board. Sometimes those who are not licensed will list a professional or national counseling association, in lieu of a formal license. That's inadequate. The counselor's license should reflect the state where the therapist is currently working, not just any state.
  • Is your degree from an accredited university?
  • What other credentials do you hold? What Professional Associations are you active in?
  • Do you have formal certifications from reputable training institutes in couples therapy? Is it science-based training? At what level have you progressed within that training?
  • Do you have specific experience in working with couples in crisis? What type of problems have you worked with?
  • How much of your practice is devoted to couples? (They should see more than 50% of their practice devoted to couples therapy.)

Credentials to Conduct Christian Marriage Counseling

Refers to yourself as a Christian Counselor or Christian Therapist does not necessarily indicate Christian beliefs and practices. Here are some questions to help determine a therapist's level of faith:

  • Is he or she recognized and recommended by the local church community?
  • Do they attend church regularly? Are they actively involved with their church? Do they take a leadership role in their congregation by teaching a class, participating or leading service activities?
  • Is the counselor an ordained minister or pastor? If not, will the counselor allow you to talk to his or her pastor?
  • Is the therapist "marriage friendly?" What beliefs do they hold about marriage and divorce?
  • Is reconciliation and repair a central focus or "personal growth"?
  • If requested, will the counselor use prayer and Scripture in their therapeutic work with couples?


Dr. Burford and Rev. Ramsey are both ordained ministers and licensed to practice counseling in their state. Both practice Christian Marriage Counseling online and intensive weekend retreats for couples from across the USA and the world. Both have the latest in science-based training to help  troubled couples heal and repair their relationship.

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