Premarital counseling is intended to help an engaged couple be well prepared for marriage. Many pastors require couples to participate in premarital counseling before agreeing to officiate a wedding.
Usually premarital counseling is as simple as a pastor, lay counselor, or mature Christian couple meeting with an engaged couple over several weeks to discuss their relationship and any concerns they may have regarding marriage. The sessions might include some instruction on marriage, but much of the time is spent on questions and conversations meant to help the engaged couple think through their relationship and learn to communicate about important things in healthy ways. Sometimes premarital counseling is done, in part, through a workshop provided by a church. Premarital counseling is intended to help the engaged couple clearly evaluate their relationship and have a solid foundation from which to begin their married lives.
Those who offer premarital counseling should be doctrinally sound, be living according to God's Word, and if married, have a healthy marriage (1 Timothy 3:4–5; Titus 1:7). Pastors, lay counselors, professional counselors, or older Christian couples often have some sort of premarital counseling training before offering their services to engaged couples. Personal life experience, or experience from counseling other couples (engaged or married), can be a great benefit to premarital counselors as well.
Premarital counseling may include teaching on Genesis 1—2, Ephesians 5:22—6:4, and Colossians 3:18–21, among other Scripture passages, to explain God's view of marriage. When a couple builds their marriage on a shared understanding of what the Bible says about marriage, they are more prepared to succeed together.
Often, premarital counseling will include discussions about such practical subjects as managing finances, household chores, plans for children and how to raise them, holiday traditions, and other issues. Those who offer premarital counseling help a couple make many decisions before the couple is confronted by challenging situations.
An engaged couple can benefit from the counsel a godly man or woman offers, learning about God's plan for marriage, and from discussions premarital counseling will invoke. When done with an intent to prepare an engaged couple for a God-honoring marriage, premarital counseling is well worth the time and effort.
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