Christian Premarital Counseling
With current divorce rates over 50% in the US, many couples approach marriage with a sense of risk, almost as if reaching a 50 year anniversary would be akin to winning the lottery. Christian premarital counseling approaches marriage with a different idea. Rather than hoping things turn out well on their own, couples can learn tools to work things out for themselves.
The Purpose of Counseling
Imagining falling in love with the man or woman of your dreams and living in wedded ecstasy for years is something not everyone expects these days. Nearly half of all 20 to 30 year olds have been raised by divorced parents, many of whom cited marrying too young, financial hardships, and inability to see eye to eye on important issues as factors to breaking up. Newlyweds often imagine that if they can simply find the right person, everything will fall into place. However, while certain couples may be naturally more compatible, they will still always be two different people with different perspectives that must be mutually understood.
How Counseling Works
The particulars of how Christian premarital counseling works will vary based on the church or denomination that provides it. Some churches offer group classes, some individual consultations, and others a combination of both. Usually there is a text to go through that includes practical information on what to expect in married and family life. There might also be couples activities designed to develop awareness of the other person and strengthen trust and bonds between partners. The text will most often follow Biblical teachings on married life and help partners understand their unique roles in the marriage.
Counseling Requirements and Costs
Many churches require that members undergo premarital counseling in order to be approved to hold the wedding at the church’s facility. Sometimes fees will also be waived if premarital classes are attended and depending on the particular ministry, the classes may be either free or for a small cost. Many churches and ministers consider premarital and family counseling to be a free service provided to members as a way to strengthen the church community. Some church leaders may even provide informal mentoring services to members who are seeking advice on dating, engagement, and marriage related issues for no cost, while some churches offer classroom style courses and seminars on relationships.
Preparing for Counseling
One of the best ways to prepare for counseling is for both partners to consider any questions and concerns they have coming into the marriage so that they can gain advice and answers tailored to their specific situation. While married life tends to follow certain patterns and have some universal challenges, some couples may have unique needs and issues to deal with. For example, the marriage could be one that crosses race or cultural differences and perhaps even denominational or even religious lines. Couples may also have specific questions related to bringing existing children into the marriage or dealing with issues related to divorce or past lifestyles.
Though the wedding day is an occasion that is rightly something to look forward to with much excitement, marriage is something never to be hastened into without careful consideration and counsel taken from wise authorities. Christian premarital counseling is a positive step for any couple planning to marry within the Christian faith whether or not they feel they have problems or risk factors for divorce.