1. Get both sides of the story. Ask each partner to tell their side of the problem without interruption from the other spouse. It may be necessary to ask each partner separately.
2. Do not assume that every couple understands the basics of marriage. About 80% of the counsel I give to a married couple is the same counsel I would give to an engaged couple.
3. Provoke each partner to inspect his or her own areas of needed improvement. Say, “If I asked your spouse your three major faults, what would they be?”
4. Ask the opposite partner if the self-described faults are accurate. This will give you a good idea where you should focus your counseling.
5. Assign homework based on the needs of the couple. Good assignments for a couple include spending twenty minutes taking a walk together, memorizing a verse together, going one week without saying any negative about each other, and praying together.