This post is one in a series of frequently asked questions by those who use the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage seminar series as part of their church’s pre-marital program. The responses are written as we use them at the Summit Church. Your church may need to tweak the responses in order to better fit your ministry context.
- What if the couple comes into the program late (close to their wedding)?
- What if we think they need to meet with a more experienced counselor? What if we think they do not need to get married… at least not in the time frame they’ve set?
- What if we’re uncomfortable talking about [blank] or don’t feel like we do a good job with [blank]?
- What should we know about pre-marital couples (just in case we forgot what this season of life was like)?
- Are there articles or books I need to be reading?
- What if we learn the couple is living together?
The following seven points are taken from Preparing for Marriage: Leader’s Guide edited by Dennis Rainey (p. 24-25).
- Many engaged couples are wearing blinders. An engaged person is often aware of negative characteristics in the one he or she loves, but figures, “It won’t be like than when we’re married.” In their excitement, they often fail to think rationally about potential problems that could sabotage the relationship believing instead that “love conquers all.” They are setting up themselves for disappointment when reality sets in.
- Because of the hectic schedule leading up to the wedding and honeymoon, engaged couples are experiencing one of the most stressful times of their lives. Often couples will get less sleep during this time which naturally adds stress to the relationship.
- This stress can cause couples to experience extremes in emotions as well. Be ready to talk through their sudden doubts about marriage if they arise. Those who begin to have doubts about whether this marriage is right will feel tremendous pressure to go ahead with the wedding anyway.
- In this time, those who are not already having intercourse are struggling with keeping their desires in check. They are physically charged yet fatigued, making it hard to draw boundaries. Couple often sacrifice some biblical values for the sake of the relationship.
- Often couples have had very little time to discuss normal financial habits and expenses. They may need to discuss the ever-growing expenses of a wedding as well.
- Often couples will need to discuss differences of opinion in wedding plans (i.e., expenses, in-laws expectations, alcohol, etc…).
- A significant number of couples have discussed only in part how their past has affected them. Many don’t know about serious relational baggage they are bringing in the marriage.