i am a firm believer in premarital counseling. this april i am officiating the first wedding that i have not been involved within the premarital counseling of the couple. some of you know haley and john, for the rest of you i’ll just tell you that they are great kids. i can’t do their premarital counseling because i’m in wisconsin and they are in missouri. the phone thing doesn’t work well for premarital counseling (at least for me) because i don’t believe premarital counseling is so much about me imparting knowledge, as though i was an expert, but rather about helping the couple to make sure that they have discussed and thought through some important aspects of marriage and that doesn’t work so well through a phone call. so another pastor is doing the counseling. i know him and trust him but i still decided that i wanted to make sure that a few subjects were covered so i decided to type up a few emails over the next few weeks and send them to john and haley.
since, i’m too tired to post anything else tonight i figured i would post what i sent them (if for no other reason than i’ll always know where it is if i ever need it again). so here’s the first one.
Haley & John,
I know Frank is doing your premarital counseling and I have no doubt that he will do a great job but since I’m obviously not there I don’t know exactly what he is covering and thus I thought I would send you a series of emails hitting a few of the things that I believe are most important for a great marriage. I am not sending you this because I think Frank won’t cover them (I actually am pretty confident that he will) but these things are better mentioned twice than missed. Therefore, I thought I would just send you emails hitting things you’ve probably already discussed.
I’ll start by recommending some books.
- Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts – Les Parrott – Seven good questions and a good start for a lifetime of learning – you will have to continually learn because there are no earthly experts on marriage, only those with a little more or better experience. The finish line doesn’t happen until one of the dies or the Lord returns. We are all learning and will continue to learn through out our lives and marriages.
- Celebration of Sex – Douglas E. Rosenau – It’s a good enough book that Pam and I give it as our standard wedding present. If you get it let me know if you get it (though I wouldn’t read it until right before the wedding and when you are separate – temptation is a big thing) because if not you’ll get it from Pam and I – Surprise.
- Complete Financial Guide for Young Couple – Larry Burkett – This book is older but the concepts are still very true. You will have to adapt it to 2008 life but its the book I am most familiar with that covers newlywed finances.
So those are the books that I would initially recommend. Over the next several weeks I will send you each a quick email discussing what I would normally cover in a premarital counseling session. Of course, these letters will ultimately be incomplete because 1) there are no experts only those with a little more or better experience, 2) the premarital thing works best when it is a discussion (because I don’t have all the answers) and email is a primarily one sided form of communication.
So here goes.
1. Your marriage’s ultimate goal is to glorify and bear witness of our loving GOD.
I don’t mean by this that your marriage should look like a stupid CHRISTian drama. I once heard a young couple say that the thing they were most looking forward to on their honeymoon was sitting by a fire place and doing Bible study and praying for an hour or two before they did anything else. I told them that while that was a wonderful sentimental image I thought GOD would be most glorified if they honestly prayed “for that which we are about to receive make us truly thankful” and then got busy.
GOD gave us marriage and therefore it portrays part of the character of it’s CREATOR. There’s a reason that the GOD WHO is TRINITY was so concerned about Adam being alone and made a helpmate from his side. That reason is that our GOD is and loves relationship. Look in the New Testament and you’ll see over and over again that one of the main references for the relationship between CHRIST and the church is that of marriage. GOD does not choose HIS words lightly. Your marriage has the opportunity to be a living example of the relationship between JESUS and the church. Your relationship also has the opportunity to display the very image of GOD. In Genesis 1:27 says:So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
When you get married you will be “John” and you will be “Haley” and you will be “John & Haley.” In a very limited way you will be a living example of our Triune GOD.
I believe that is one of the reasons that our GOD is so serious about marriage – HE doesn’t take kindly to HIS image being tarnished.
You may have heard it said “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words
if necessary” (this quote is falsely attributed to Francis of Assissi). I think it is dang cool that when you love each other as GOD loves you will literally preach the good news of the kingdom of GOD with your marriage.
I hope this makes sense. If you have any thoughts, disagreements, or questions just email me back. A discussion would be so much better.