Post # 1
Is it true that most pastors won’t marry you unless you undergo this? Just wondering. My bf and I have been Christians for years but have not attended a church regularly since we’ve been at university. Now that engagment seems to be on the agenda for this summer, I’m realizing this may be an issue regarding getting married next spring. I go back to school for my final year soon and he is going to be hours away from me working at his new job so it’s really impossible we can attend the same church during the year.
I’m really quite clueless as to why this is so important, to those who have had counseling is there really anything we should know before going into it or even debating whether to do it or not. HIS family is super religious and doesn’t want us to get married without it, my family doesn’t care… honestly I’m not crazy about the idea myself since I’ve been mentored by older women before and have no problems meeting with these ladies during the year in place of counseling that would be really hard for us to swing while I am at school.
If you’ve done counseling… did you like it? Why or why not?
Post # 3
I’m sure every pastor/church is different. You will just have to ask your pastor yourself.
My pastor (who is wonderful) is going through several sessions of “counseling” with us before we get married, and it’s great! (I already think he is incredibly wise, so I’m a little biased…)
Post # 4
We don’t have to do actual counseling, but we do have 3 meetings with our pastor. The first was to talk about marriage and the meaning, to get to know us, and give us this book calle “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts”. This book is pretty much our counseling. We now have to read the whole book together as a couple, then on our second meeting with the pastor we go over what we read. The book basically prepares you for the realities of marriage. Then our third meeting we plan the ceremony details. I love how our pastor is going about marrying us considering neither of us have been to church since we were kids.
Just talk to your pastor and see what they require. Then plan it from there if need be. If he wants you to do counseling, go for it. It won’t hurt. Everyone I know that has had counseling sessions said it was well worth their time.
Post # 5
Like pp said not all require it. IMO I think everyone should have to undergo pre-marital counseling… I think it would reduce divorce rates…. not b/c most couples have “problems” but b/c it brings us the real issues that you WILL encounter at some point that I think alot of us just forget or don’t think about as very important.
Darling Husband and I did 8 week sessions following the book Preparing for Marriage. <— I HIGHLY recommend it and it can be done on your own just between the 2 of you.
Darling Husband and I didn’t have any “issues” and most of the book was just re-affirming alot of what we were already doing. BUT we did grow in our communication (which we already had a good platform so that’s really neat) and we got on the same page about the things we need for us to feel fullfilled & loved.
The book as 2 worksheets at the very beginning that are GREAT!.. Many churchs who follow a program will probably give you a packet someone like these.
1. A Personal History…. Pretty nitty gritty of family life, high points, low points, previous relationships how/why they failed….
All of the things make up who you are now.. why you react like you do… and how your FH can get to know and understand you better
2. Great Expectations… what each role will be, how to handle finances, future children, in-laws, the establishing of you home..
This was really great b/c even though we were on the same page with just about everything it was great to know that we weren’t unknowing setting up the other to “fail”… covers everything from sex, making purchases, spending holidays, career plans, everything!
Like, I said… I think everyone should do some kind of pre-marital counseling… b/c I think that if you go into ready to arm you and your marriage with eveything you can for success then you will gain something out of it =)
Post # 6
We’re in the middle of counseling right now and I can honestly say it’s the best thing that’s happened for the two of us since the day God allowed us to meet in church. I was really hesitant about it at first. I’m shy by nature so I wasn’t sure it would do us any good. FI’s mom was pushing for it in part, I think, because she wanted the Pastor to talk us into waiting to get married for another year because we’re young (I’m 20, he’s 22). It turned out our Pastor and his wife we both 20 when they got married and he highly recommends it. 🙂
At our first session, our Pastor had a really good point; he said, especially in a Christian marriage, the hardest part is going to be living together for the first time and dealing with each other’s habits. If only I had counseling before moving in with my college roommate for two years.
He told us as important as it is to some churches (including our church) that we get pre-marital counseling, if you’re already engaged, there’s not much that can change your mind. His advice was to do the counseling after we get married and just have 4-6 sessions before the marriage that talked about our financial thoughts, love languages, family tradtions, etc, that way there wouldn’t be as many surprises after the wedding. It’s also REALLY nice to spend an hour or two every few weeks just sitting down talking about US and how excited we are to be committing to each other. It takes a lot of stress out of wedding planning.
I’d also like to point out that we switched churchs right around the same time we got engaged. The previous church we went to (and met at) expanded and got really impersonal and we wanted something closer to home/school to allow for more community involvement. I thought it would be weird asking a Pastor we barely knew to our counseling and eventually to officiate, but he was really excited to be helping out a new church family.
I think you’ll be fine asking a pastor or even the advisor of a Christian organization on campus for help (InterVarsity, Campus Crusades) for help. You can do distance sessions too, you each read a book together and comment on it, or answer questionaires and mail it back. Our church does require the counseling for the Pastor to marrying us, but they said it doesn’t have to be at any specific church or center. I think he might have just done it anyway had we asked and were unable to attend counseling.
Post # 7
I am going through pre marital counseling with my fiance and i totally think it should be something mandatory for a marriage. Sometimes we begin to focus on the wedding day and not the marriage. what counseling has done for me, is helped me to focus on the actual heart preparation to be a wife. the kind of wife God wants me to be, not the type of wife the world people say we could be. I think premarital counseling can broaden your perspective, i also believe the counselor can impart wisdom to you and your soon to be husband. This is the most important step we can make in our lives and i believe if something is important, it deserves time and work. I really would highly reccomend it, and if i were you i would pray for the Lord to show you who you should have counsel you. My pastors (a husband and wife) are both counseling us and it has been the most amazing process, because we are placing God in the center of our relationship. We are reading “preparing for marriage” and me and my fiance do our sessions on skype with our pastors because he is off playing ball 🙂
I believe God will grant you the ability to make this work for you and i pray you will be in His good and perfect will! 🙂 God bless…
Post # 8
I think it really depends on the church. We weren’t required to attend counseling (though we also had a friend marry us instead of our pastor). I know some churches (the Catholic church in particular) has pretty set rules about it, though.
We chose to do a pre-marriage course with an older couple we know and really loved it. Even if it’s not required, I think it can be really valuable. Ours covered emotional needs and how we can meet eachother’s needs, conflict styles, getting into the habit of confessing/forgiving, how our past and families can affect our marriage, and tons of other really practical stuff (it was 16 weeks long, which is a lot longer than most). Different churches do it differently, though.
I think meeting with the older women like you mentioned would be great, but it would be helpful for both you and your Fiance to meet with an older couple at least a couple times so you can talk through things together.
Post # 9
We are halfway through our sessions. Not all Pastors require it but it is definitely something worth doing. We are really enjoying it and it has been interseting. We have done a lot of talking about what marriage means to us and how we will do things differently than our own parents (divorced). We are also talking about finances and children. It just really opens doors for important conversations that are necessary to have before you get married.
Post # 10
I wish we had the opportunity to try it.
Post # 11
I too think it should be required. I grew up in a rather topsy turvy home and was not taught conflict resolution skills, how to fight fair, how to deal with someone else who refuses to fight fair, etc. Some people get to learn this by example which is great but I think even they could benefit because no one really has the perfect example in every area. Our pastor required countless hours of premaritial counseling before he would marry someone but he never had a couple divorce either! In your situation he would do some of the premaritial counseling in a three way phone call. I think you have nothing to lose with premaritial counseling and could possibly gain great skills if you have the right person leading it! Good Luck!