Post # 1
I have a few questions for those of you who have been through it. What kinds of things did you discuss? How long before the wedding did you start and how long did it go? If you knew the pastor well, was it awkward because of it? Or if you hardly knew the pastor at all, would it have been less weird if you’d known him/her better?
Also, the pastor marrying us is a close friend who moved to Canada (is coming back for 2 days for our wedding), and we’re debating whether we should skype counseling with him or not. We also have a close friend at home who is a pastor and offered to do the counseling with us instead, though he won’t be performing the ceremony. Anyone have an opinion as to which would be better?
I’m probably overthinking this way too much, haha.
Post # 3
Our pastor was someone my husband knew very well. It was his family Church that we got married in. & Even at one point in my husbands young life he lived with him for a few weeks after his parents old house burned down. So yes he knew him very well! I had only meet him a handful of times before hand. He read alot of stuff about marriage from the Bible. Talked about how marriage is 50/50. He made it very comfortable & some things even funny. Which was nice. 🙂 Like he talked about how sometimes my hubby should skip the football game to just be with me & how I should give him some time for football, ect. lol He also talked about making a family, a little about sex. Nothing to akward at all. Hope this helps & good luck! Just don’t think about it to much. Pick who ever you think you would be more comfortable with, btw.
EDIT: Forgot to add that we had ours about ehh, 2-3 weeks before our wedding day & we only had one setion.
Post # 4
We haven’t gone throught it yet but are booked into the next round which starts early September – it will be 4 weeks of 2hr Tuesday nights. We had the choice of that or else a full weekend.
We live in one city, our priest is from another and we are getting married in another (on a map it looks like a triangle, we are the same distance from where we are getting married as our priest is). Our priest recommended we do the marriage preparation course with someone else as will be easier (in our town) so I don’t think it would be a prob to get your friend to do it.
Post # 5
We started 10 weeks before the wedding and ours is 6 classes, 1.5 hours each. We’re going through a book – we have to read and answer questions and then we discuss together in our meeting. We don’t know our pastor very well so it’s actually given us a chance to really get to know him. We’ve also met his wife and she comes to the classes about communication (somewhat of a sponsor couple for us).
We were somewhat hesitant at first but have really gotten a lot out of it.
As far as topics of discussion – the first chapter/meeting was about God’s purpose in marriage. Started off with Adam and Eve and why marriage is important in Christian relationships. Then we discussed in depth our backgrounds, trying to talk about things we normally wouldn’t talk about, how we got to where we are, etc. The next chapter was all about communication, how we communicate, how we can better communicate. Another chapter was about responsibilities in the home and our expectations. That part was really neat because we filled out the questions on our own and then compared them – got some pretty interesting answers. Intimacy is our next chapter and we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Post # 6
my cousin is marrying us (a minister in Vegas) , so we did counseling with our local pastor (pastor of church we are getting married at). It was 5 sessions (about 2 hours long each). We followed a guideline, online survey thing. The first session was super awkward- but each got better…at the end we were very happy we did it, and happy it was over!
WE each had to answer 350 questions on our own and then we talked about things we disagreed on, etc.
We started 7-8 months before the wedding.
Post # 7
Our was three sessions, about an hour and a half each. We know of a similar local church that has 15 sessions. We just did ours two months before when it was convenient spaced out over three weeks. Honestly, it was really pointless. Our pastor is kind of long winded, goes off an tangents, and likes to tell stories (usually about himself) that don’t always make sense in context. Each session we had something to read from the Bible and then he talked about it. We never really spoke up at all, and he didn’t hardly ask us questions. The entire point of this “counseling” from what I gathered was “divorce is bad; don’t do it” but there really was never anything practical about relationships or how to avoid divorce. I was expecting it to be more like what @milesbella: describes, but then again, I’m not really a fan of his family church or our pastor, so maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised. We’re going to be finding a new parish of our own very soon.
Post # 8
Our counseling was five sessions, with the first just being a casual get-to-know-you with our pastor, whom we’d not met. In the months leading up the the counseling, my then-FI and read a book together assigned by our pastor, which helped us prepare for the actual counseling.
Our counseling was really great. It didn’t make me nervous and it led to some really great conversations, insight and advice. We discussed topics such as family, finances, communication, friends and faith.
Personally, I’d prefer to counsel with the pastor who would be officiately my ceremony. BUT because your pastor is a close friend, I’d think s/he would already know you well enough and you could get away with doing counseling with your friend near your home. 🙂
Post # 9
We did it all about 4-6 months before the wedding. Our church sent us to a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for our pre-marriage counseling. I think it was an invaluable experience. We got down to some deep issues that we had never brought up with each other, such as his father’s verbal abuse and my mother’s emotional abuse and how that affects our relationship. It helped me see how I sometimes shut him out the way my mother did, and he realized how his words can make me feel sometimes. I don’t think we would have had the same experience had our pastor done the counseling, it probably would have just been reading Scripture verses, like pp’s said. I don’t know what denomination you are, but we are Catholic and we also had to go to Catholic Engaged Encounter. It was basically a weekend conference where we listened to married couples and did a lot of talking. It was very good too, although boring at times.
Post # 10
Some pastors will not marry you unless they counsel you themselves and feel that your are ready ready for marriage and it is wise for them to actually perform the ceremony. So, my first question to you is… Will the close friend from Canada be okay with someone else counseling you? If he is okay with it, do whatever works best for you.
We did counseling for I think 4 or 5 one hour sessions on Saturday afternoons between January and March. We were married mid April. Topics included finances, sex, habits, chores, children, in-laws, personalities, etc. Very practical topics and what the Bible had to say about them all.
Post # 11
Thanks for all the great comments everyone!
@swanks4tw: We’re sort of non-denominational. We both work Sunday mornings and no one around here does Sunday night services, so we use a couple Bible studies in place of church. I think no matter which pastor we counsel with, we’ll get a good mix of life experience advice and scriptures.
@2ndtime: I can understand that. However, our friend in Canada has been telling my Fiance to propose from about the 2nd month we were dating and for the 2+ years since, so I don’t think he’ll have any doubts, haha.
Post # 12
We did it like 3 months ago and we talked about everything. we did something called FOCCUS and let me tell you, they ask you about EVERYTHING. its nice though, becuase you get to talk about topics you never thought were important. We passed with an 87%.
Post # 13
Our church uses the prepare-enrich program. You can google it. We did an online test, a workbook, and meetings. I would think you could do it via skype though.
Post # 14
We started ours about 2 months ago. Still have one more real session with the pastor, and one more after that to discuss details for the day of the wedding. I have only known our pastor for a couple years now, but my Fiance has known him for over 10 years. Neither of us were uncomfortable with him at all (keep in mind, our last class is the one about sex… so we will see next time) So far we talked about what we each expect out of a marriage, our pasts and how it will affect our future, how communication is sooooooo important, we have gone over a budget, what a marriage is really about (NOT THE WEDDING DAY, its about your future together) and what we want to happen in the future (kids, work…etc.). In our next class we will talk about sex and also write out a “Family Constitution”. Each class was 2+ hours long.
You pick the pastor that you feel more comfortable with, Im sure you can skype your conseling, (if we needed to, we could have skyped ours, there isnt anything you really need the pastor physically in front of you for). Have Fun!!!!!!