Post # 1
So my Fiance and I just got our 3 hours of pre-marriage counseling scheduled for mid-June. My Fiance and I are being married in a Presbyterian Church and our church requires these three hours of counseling to be married there. This church holds a lot of tradition in my family (which is why we chose it). It was my grandparent’s church, my parents and 3 sets of aunts and uncles got married there, my cousin got married there, we held my grandparents’ funerals there – basically, a lot of history.
That being said, I’m a non-denominational Christian (more spiritual than anything else) and my Fiance is agnostic. We live together and have had sex before marriage. Does anyone here know how strict the Presbyterian church is on these issues? Is this something we should try to avoid bringing up during counseling? Is there a risk that our pastor would not longer be willing to marry us?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
To be honest, this is going to vary a lot by congregation. My parents’ Presbyterian church is not strict at all. The preacher may not approve, but they aren’t trying to give anyone a guilt trip about it. We didn’t get married there, but we’re family friends with all of the leadership team, and they all knew my husband and I were living together for years before we got married, and would never have made an issue of it. Other congregations may be more strict, although I seriously doubt there are any (at least affiliated with PC-USA) that would refuse to marry you. I could be wrong, though – the denomination is a pretty big tent.
Post # 4
I think it depends on the church. That said – I’m sure you aren’t the first couple they’ve encountered that’s living together. A lot of churches have standard counseling for couples before they allow them to marry. If there’s a department that oversees weddings, I’d anonymously call and ask if there are any guidelines by which a couple is allowed to marry. Your living situation might come up during the time, but if they don’t have a rule about it, I doubt it would be an issue.
Post # 5
Thanks for your insight historienne and oracle! Anyone else have any thoughts?
Post # 6
That’s great you’re having your wedding some where that is so special to you, congrats. We’re having a civil ceremony in Italy and a Presbyterian church blessing back home in Scotland :0)
My situation is I was baptised Roman Catholic as a baby (but never received confirmation and do not practice) and my Fiance was baptised church of England as a baby.
As I understand (I’ve been doing mucho research into the Presbyterian faith) their teachings and beliefs are very inclusive and open with an emphasis on God’s grace being your salvation.
As I understand it, Presbyterianism is based on Calvinist theory, so if you Google Calvinism you’ll get a good grounding for the fundamentals of the faith. Also I’ve found that honesty is always the best policy in these situations and the church can not refuse you marriage solely because your living together or have engaged in pre marital sex, other wise practically no one would be able to get married in the church. I think what they’re more assessing is your faith in God (which you obviously have as you have spiritual beliefs) and your commitment to one another, i.e. one party is not being forced into the marriage against their will etc, so I think you’re ok there LOL.
Just be yourself, make sure you do a bit of research into the faith and you’ll be fine, don’t worry 😉 x