(Closed) pre-martial counseling with pastor who is related to my bride to be…

posted 4 years ago in Family
Post # 2
3351 posts
Sugar bee

OMG, no.  I would never get counseling from a relative.  Is there anyway you can get the counseling from someone else in his church or skip the super embarassing questions?  Or do it over the phone so it is less embarassing?  Even if you aren’t answering embarassing questions, I don’t think it’s ok for her uncle (even though he is the pastor) to get to pick your brain.

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by  SLOBee.
Post # 3
2185 posts
Buzzing bee

manlyman15:  I get where he’s coming from and where you’re coming from. Can you modify it and do a few session with him and a few with another pastor he could recommend? It’s important for many officiants to be able to confirm a couple is ready to be  married and spend the time in premarital to get to know them as a couple before performing a ceremony. That being said, he’s a professional and her uncle, so I doubt he’s going to be judging you based on what you say. We did our premarital with my pastor who also happens to be my boss. It was awkward at times, but there was nothing we could have said that he hasn’t heard before and the fact he knew us so well actually improved his ability to counsel us and push us to deal with some issues.

Post # 4
47200 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

manlyman15:  I think her uncle is being inappropriate and unprofessional by demanding that he be the one to do the counselling.

 I would tell him that I am uncomfortable sharing intimate aspects of my relationship with his niece, and remind him that the counselling will not be as effective if I do not feel comfortable, and therefore keep some things confidential.

I would ask him to separate his professional and his personal relationships. I would ask him for a referral to someone who shares the same faith.

Post # 5
11457 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

manlyman15:  Although I certainly can understand why you’re feeling anxious about this, I also can understand why the pastor who is scheduled to marry you would insist on your undergoing pre-marriage counseling with him. Pastors have a responsibilty before God regarding the individuals whom they join in marriage, and they want to be as sure as they can be prior to the wedding that there is no reason a couple should not be united in marriage. Spending time with them through counseling is usually an essential step in that process.

My Darling Husband is a pastor, and he generally has six sessions with couples who want him to marry them. However, there was an occasion where my Darling Husband handled the pre-marriage counseling for a couple in our church while another pastor that the couple and my Darling Husband knew very well performed the ceremony. This arrangement was to accommodate a geographic issue — the couple resides in our area, while our church’s former youth pastor (the officiant) lived in another area. I believe my Darling Husband and his former youth pastor were fine with this scenario, since, after working closely together in the past, they were confident that they share the same foundational Biblically based beliefs and doctrines.

Perhaps your FI’s uncle would be able to refer you to another pastor of his choosing to perform the counseling, given your concerns? You likely would still need to travel to his area, however.

ETA: I should add that my Darling Husband and I went to counseling with my pastor in my city and state prior to our wedding (sessions for which my then-FI had to travel several hours in each direction), and I don’t recall our having discussed anything embarrasing. Our counseling sessions had to do more with how we would handle issues of compromise and conflict within marriage. I remember discussing financial issues and issues involving DH’s children. However, I don’t recall our discussing anything regarding physical intimacy. If we did, it would have been in very general, non-personal terms.

Also, I just remembered that my Darling Husband married my DSD and her then-FI.  Since they live hours away from where we do, they also were able to go to another pastor for counseling, and my Darling Husband still married them.

Post # 6
9534 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

No. Just no. The commute is enough of a reason to skip out. The family member is an absolute no.

Post # 7
9610 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

You are 100% right. A family member conducting pre-martial (or really any sort of counseling) is incredibly inappropriate. I think you need to stand firm on this and just be honest that you really want to get the most that you can out of your premartial counseling and in order to do that you need to feel like you can be honest without fear of judgement because of family connections.

My uncle is performing our ceremony but he won’t be doing our premartial counseling. He never even suggested it, I’m actually really surprised your FI’s uncle offered to do the counseling much less is insisting on it.

Post # 8
1306 posts
Bumble bee

I would say you want a referral for someone closer to you so that after you’re married, there’s someone close by that you can turn to and whom you have worked with.

It’s total BS but it could give the uncle a way to give it up. Your bride needs to be on your side about this too, it can’t be all on you or you’ll become the bad guy.

Post # 9
11753 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

Not sure I’d trust his abilities given that he didn’t recuse himself due to a conflict of interest. I am dubious of anyone who claims special privileges and that you just need to trust them to be unbiased. Nope. 

He should have referred you guys to someone else he works with or better yet someone in your area. I would be wary of anyone who pushed you to accept this situation because it’s clearly inappropriate and unfair.

Post # 10
4864 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

No. And I wouldn’t let him marry you either. 

Post # 11
901 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

Yeahhhhh, that wouldn’t fly with me. 

Post # 13
1320 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

manlyman15:  The other thing that’s weird is when my Darling Husband and I were arranging our marriage counseling sessions, we had a big commute too, and our pastor was open to doing Skype sessions. I guess everyone has their requirements of couples, but that is a huge drive. If your Fiance insists, I’d go through with it and be on your best behavior, but I think I would make it clear to her that the sessions are in no way beneficial to you because you should be counseled by an unbiased party. So if you’re really looking for some effective counseling sessions, you might want to see someone else as well.

Post # 14
3351 posts
Sugar bee

manlyman15:  Good luck going forward (seriously).  I am sure the aunt and uncle mean well and “have heard it all before” but I suspect whatever insitution you are dealing with does not have built-in protections for actual and/or perceived conflicts of interest.  There are reasons why people in other areas and professions are conflicted out of providing advice to others.  AND it is the person on the receiving end whose interests need to be protected.

Post # 15
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

When the Pastor’s Son married another Pastor’s daughter.  They sent both for concelling under a trusted Pastor in the area.  It made things less ackward.  When my hubby and I got ours, I lived out of state.  After the engagement till the wedding we saw each other only ONCE.  We actually had councelling over the phone and via Skype.  It was easy on us.  So when we were together for a short time it wasn’t all councelling we actually had time together. 🙂

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