Marriage is a divine institution that is ordained by God. He originated it, according to Genesis 2:22-24, when He placed Eve in the Garden of Eden with Adam and they became man and wife. The marriage ceremony is a covenant a man and woman make to one another before God. In this covenant, they agree to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are a part of the one-flesh relationship. The couple agrees to uphold this covenant as long as they live because God intends marriage to be permanent (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:1-15).
Having seen my share of marital disasters, I can say with firm conviction it is important that the couple understands the biblical responsibilities they are intending to undertake in marriage. Before they make a life-long covenant before God, they should understand the biblical viewpoint on the nature of marriage. This is why I believe premarital counseling is critical for every couple. It is a worthy investment of time and sometimes money, to build a strong biblical foundation for marriage.
We provide premarital counseling to couples as a part of our ministry to the church. We have found that the couples tend to wear the proverbial “rose colored glasses” and have an idyllic picture in mind of married life. They do not think about the difficulties that can arise when two sinners-saved-by-grace live in relationship with one another. Through the premarital counseling relationship, we raise the common-to-man problems that arise in marriage due to human nature, and teach couples how to make biblical problem solving a part of everyday life.
Premarital counseling allows the couple to learn important things about each other that might otherwise go unnoticed in the whirlwind of preparing for the wedding day. They learn each other’s likes and dislikes, compatibility, family history, commonalities and differences. The couple learns the biblical reason for marriage and God’s plan for marriage. They learn how to communicate, how to discuss difficult topics, how to work through financial problems, and they are taught to budget.
Biblical counselors have a unique window of opportunity to guide the couple as they invest in their lives. We assess their spiritual conditions, and their individual needs for growth. Unlike the busy pastor, we have the time and opportunity to teach them sound biblical principles for establishing a Christian home in the areas of biblical leadership and submission, biblical sexuality, and family worship. We give guidance for areas of stewardship, such as their finances and parenting. We also can help the couple learn how to avoid problematic areas with in-laws, and how to grow in relationship with other immediate family members on both sides of the wedding aisle.
Couples that go through premarital counseling are more prepared for marriage than those who defer the process. Consequently, when the couple does run into rough waters they are better equipped to handle the issues. If they do require counseling, it is often of shorter duration. Less damage to the marriage relationship has occurred than for those who did not get pre-marital counseling.
What is the goal of pre-marital counseling?
The ultimate goal is to teach the couple how to glorify God in their relationship. We do this by aiding them in learning more about each other, both the good and the bad, and teaching them to accept and understand the unchangeable things. We help them learn more about each other’s parents and family of origin and biblically address areas that might cause conflict. We give them the tools they will need to forge a strong, Christ-centered relationship that will lead to a family that loves, serves, and honors God.