It’s no secret that many marriages are in shambles today. Divorces are certainly high, which adds tension to family relationships and complicates many things. When kids are thrown into the mix, as they usually are, things get even more destructive and complicated. Personally, I’ve encountered numerous children who have multiple step-siblings, are transported to certain parent’s houses week to week, and are constantly in the middle of fights. Divorce is ugly, plain and simple. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of people decide to hold off on marriage or neglect it altogether, all the while living with their girlfriend/boyfriends with no real commitment in mind—this, too, adds to complicated familial relationships, as many children are born out of this situation as well.
Yet, none of this is how God intended it to be. In fact, the Scriptures speak highly of marriage and always speak negatively about divorce. And still, even God’s people get it wrong. This article is going to talk about why premarital counseling is something every pastor should offer.
It is preparation
If two people are about to get married, that means two sinners are about to begin a life together—and living with one another. Complications, fights, and hurt feelings are bound to happen. Good premarital counseling will allow the couple to learn, under guidance of a pastor or counselor, what to expect and how to handle situations that are inevitably going to arise in the marriage. Much of it, rightfully so, is focused on good communication skills. Will premarital counseling make people perfect? Not at all—but it can be a step in the right direction.
It gets the couple to learn more about each other
It’s possible that the engaged couple has never even had thoughtful conversations with one another to really probe into each other’s hearts. It’s one thing to have common interests and even goals, but it’s important to really know the other person’s heart—what do they struggle with? How is there relationship with God? How do they handle difficulties? All of these are topics that premarital counseling will bring up and get the couple to talk about.
It digs into hearts
Good premarital counseling should be able to dig into both people’s hearts. If they can work out any junk they have in there individually, it’s much easier to then be joined together. More than likely, one of them has been in past relationships, have slept around, or have become emotionally attached to someone else in previous relationships. This, of course, causes problems within a relationship. If they do not talk about it early on, it will eventually surface and cause a lot of harm in the relationship.
It makes sure they’re a good fit
Now, premarital counseling should not be the place where counselors and pastors express their opinions over whether or not two people should get married—unless it’s based on some very clear indicators and evidence. For example, premarital counseling allows two people to discuss important heart issues that they may not have discussed if they were not attending the counseling sessions. While discussing these things, they may find out that they didn’t know each other as well as they thought; one person may want a big family with many children, while another only wants one child. This is a big difference between the two people that can make marriage extremely difficult—it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get married, but it is something that needs to be discussed thoroughly. Other matters that may come up include how to raise children, what role the church plays in the family, etc. All of these issues, if both people completely disagree, can lead them to believe they are not as good a fit together as they thought. Premarital counseling merely helps illuminate these things.
Premarital counseling, when done right, is extremely helpful for people about to enter into a marriage. It will help prepare newly engaged couples to start their lives together, while also cautioning other couples who are not as good of a fit together as they thought. Many relationships, especially among Christian circles, tend to move very quickly—they start dating and then within months are engaged. Because they are still under the infatuation stage, it’s difficult for them to think rationally, which is when premarital becomes even more important! For those who have been a long term relationship and have moved slowly, it can still provide good guidance in living life together. At the end of the day, marriage is extremely important and should be taken very seriously. If people want successful marriages, they need to put the time and effort into making it that way—and that includes preparing even before they are married.