Post # 1
My parents and I have been members of our church all of our lives! For some reason, my church doesn’t have a wedding packet, or form or doesn’t even offer premarital counseling! My pastor agreed to marry us summer of last year; we asked what he required of us and he told us that we needed to seek a marriage counselor for a session, but he didn’t provide that. We did everything he asked. We had a meeting a few weeks back to discuss vows and such; then he asked us what our plans were i.e. and we were open about the fact that we live together. (for seven years and we are both 30+ years old). He called me a few weeks later to tell me that he couldn’t marry us unless one of us moved out (for only two months mind you). This is after I already printed invitations, etc…my parents know we live together and we have not hid this. I feel it’s unfair to back out on a commitment when there was no policy or the proper questions weren’t asked prior. Am I in the wrong here? we are going to meet to talk in person; I just think we should serve as an example that a policy needs to be established in the Church and he should follow through with his committment to us.
Post # 3
no, you’re not in the wrong at all. you guys are getting MARRIED, which “fixes” your cohabitating situation! you said you did everything he asked of you (but you didn’t do the pre-marital counseling?) and if he had such a problem with cohabitation, it should have been one of his first questions. my priest asked us that the first time we met with him (but he would have married us anyway as it’s not something that bars you from marriage) and yours should have too. i say talk to him in person and explain the obvious and then go from there. if all else fails, maybe you can get another officiant?
Post # 4
Thank you! My sentiments exactly! We sought a marriage counselor per his instructions and they are a licensed therapist who happens to be a member of our church. We were open about our living situation in counseling session, but apparently that didn’t get conveyed to pastor due to privacy reasons or that he didn’t ask or that they didn’t feel it was important for us to mention that to him? I don’t know, I think that might be another point we will bring up.
I think the church should sponsor the counseling and the pastor should interview couples prior to find out the deal breakers before agreeing to wed them. I am just really frustrated by all of this b/c it’s so late in the game! We could have planned so differently knowing this months ago. Thank you again for your input! I greatly appreciate it.
Post # 5
The church that I grew up in seems to have a similar policy. During the years that I attended the senior pastor had a strong stance on not marrying those that are co-habitating. The associate pastor saw the other side of the coin that if they’re getting married they’re fixing the whole problem in the first place. So as long as he was there the senior pastor simply refered the co-habitators to him. He left the church due to other disagreements and I’m not really sure what they’re doing now. Luckily for me, he’s remained in the area and is able to preform our ceremony.
Does your church have an associate pastor or other minister that doesn’t have the same opinion about cohabitating?
Post # 6
@ksn750: man, you really did everything that he told you to! i think it’s really unfair to get this far along and then, because he didn’t properly vet you guys, change his mind this late in the game. HE messed up. HE is the one who made things unclear. HE needs to get over it and marry you guys! I’m really hoping that when you meet you’ll be able to talk through it and come up with a solution. It’s so lame that he didn’t even tell you in person but waited to call you guys up instead. Points to hit on in the convo are stressing that you’ve been going there for over 30 years (it’s not like you’re some stranger, this is your home church), you are doing what you can to make things right in the eyes of the church (if there’s like a financial reason too, add that since maybe they’ll understand that with the recession and whatnot), and that you’ve never tried to hide your cohabiting – you’ve been completely up front with your situation with your counselor and with him when he asked. there needs to be some other option, because he already agreed to marry you and nothing has changed (aka, you guys didn’t shack up after he agreed or anything like that) to keep you guys from getting married. what, does he want you guys to continue ~living in sin~?
Post # 7
@ksn750: ugh, that’s annoying – esp. because there was no policy. our church has a policy were they will not allow people to marry in the church if they are living together. i think it’s ridiculous that he’s requesting one of you to move out in order to marry you – but, that’s his stance. I don’t think it’s worth wasting your time getting him to change his mind or comfort level. Should the church have a clearly stated policy – heck yes! I think your best bet is figuring out another officiant who will marry you (either another pastor at the church, etc.). I’m so sorry you are dealing with this!
Post # 8
Honestly, I think that’s what happens when you get a pastor to marry you. It seems weird that he didn’t give you a pre-marital counseling session. However, if he believes that people should not live together before marriage, then as a pastor he needs to stick to that. And no, he can’t nosy around the other counselor you saw to see if y’all do live together because that’s against the law. You would have to tell him first hand or he would have to hear it from a friend. So yes, he created this situation by not telling you what he expects and giving you counsel. However, I understand why he is telling you to momentarily move out for those two months. It seems silly, but to him he’s sticking with what he believes about marriage. You can either move out for two months (like he requires) or you can find another officiant that they would allow to marry you in the same venue.
I know it’s not the funnest advice. But I don’t think talking to a pastor about “bending the rules” is going to work. Maybe you can get a family member to get ordained online (I know it sounds weird) and they can marry you!
Post # 9
Feel free to disagree, but here’s what *I* would do: just LIE. If they aren’t going to be upfront and TRUTHFUL with you, why return the same courtesy? Your pastor is a representative of God (in MY OPINION) and it isn’t like you’d be lying to God (how does one do that, anyway?). Only His representative.
Otherwise, I’d look around for someone else who can come in and marry you who does NOT have a problem with your living situation.
good luck and so sorry you’ve gotta deal with this!!!!
Post # 10
No unfortunately there is no associate pastor, but I do have some back up plans (I work with a minister who I have been friends with for seven years). This back up plan will only work if they will let them conduct the ceremony at that venue. My friend’s church only seats 80 and 300 people are attending our wedding. Otherwise, we will have to agree to his ultimatum (which will be a challenge but doable). I just would have went a whole different direction knowing this months ago. Thank you for your input!
Post # 11
I will definitely bring up those points! Speaking of the economy my fiance was just laid off from his job a little over a week ago which has been added stress. I am trying to stay positive and hopefully be able to work through this one way or another.
I respect my pastor’s beliefs (now that I know he feels this way); I just don’t respect the manner in which this has been handled (because as you said this should have been addresed from day one). He has only been a pastor at our church for three years so I feel what ever comes of this ordeal; it should serve as a learning experience for him and the church. I just hope no future couples have to go through this in the future with our church. Thanks again for your support!
Post # 12
@ksn750: I’m sorry you have to deal with this!
I would be honest as you can. At this point, your relationship isn’t going to change. It’s not like you’ll really be holier for living apart for two months. I mean, maybe if you moved in together right when you got engaged and were planning on getting married in 6 months it would be appropriate for the pastor to say “whoa, now hold on here. why not just wait.” But you have a life together already.
At the end of the day – crashing on someone’s couch for 2 months (or maybe one moth each, you could take turns) probably won’t be that awful. It beats having to re-plan a wedding.
Worst comes to worst, do you think he would allow you to be married in that church, but by someone else? That way he doesn’t have to be seen as “approving” a marriage of people who cohabitated, and you won’t have to change your plans, just find someone else to marry you.
Post # 13
All I can say is WOW, what a jerk.
Hopefully it is not too late for you to find another officiant. If not, you could always just tell him you moved out, how would he know? but I personally wouldn’t want someone that insensitive to marry me. If he so inflexible when it comes to cohabiting he should have told you up front, instead of making you have to deal with this situation.
Post # 14
My opinion: Whatever your pastor’s problem is, why should you have to deal with it? He is not worth it. I think that is too bad for him too as this is not something you or your parents are happy with, I am sure.
Possible solution: Our pastor wanted 500 and a three day ‘class’…PLUS they would not let us get married in their church since it was on a Sunday…SO, I searched under the vendors on wedding bee (officiants) and then turned to google…After alot of phone calls/emails to churches and officiants we met with a totally down to earth pastor.
I am sure it is not too late to get a new officiant…The court has a list for people who plan to elope…They only charge 50 here plus 1.50 per mile…Some don’t even do that…Good luck and congrats!
Post # 15
All I have to say is that his whole living apart for 2 months requirement is a ridiculous compromise. It’s not like that’s going to undo the fact that you’ve cohabitated before that. “Sure, I can marry you if you’ve lived together, just not if it was recently.” What kind of hypocritical rubbish is that?
IMO if he has a problem with cohabitation before marriage then he shouldn’t marry you at all. I think more of the person who sticks to their beliefs 100% than the one who goes against them but demands a small concession to ease their conscience.
I hope you can find someone else to perform the ceremony. I would drop this guy like a hot potato if you can.
Post # 16
@ksn750: Wait, let me get this straight. If he doesn’t officiate, you may not be able to use the church to get married? I think this is absolutely ridiculous at 2 months away from your wedding! Ugh, I would be livid. Sorry you’re having to deal with this!!