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Pre-Marital Counseling (Can be covered in 1 to 4 one-hour Sessions).

Congratulations on your decision to tie the knot! Marriage is a sacred bond between two individuals, and it is a beautiful journey that comes with its fair share of challenges. While you may be filled with excitement and joy as you start planning for your big day, it is crucial to understand that marriage is not just about the wedding ceremony; it requires constant effort and dedication from both partners.


One of the most common reasons for divorce is failing to address significant issues before tying the knot. Many couples get lost in the excitement of planning their wedding and forget to take the time to discuss important aspects of their future together, such as finances, expectations, family planning, and roles in the relationship.


Therefore, I highly recommend participating in pre-marital counseling to help you navigate these issues better. Pre-marital counseling is an excellent opportunity to identify potential conflict areas, learn practical communication skills, and develop conflict resolution strategies. It is the perfect way to start your journey together on the right foot.


During our counseling sessions, you will address several important topics that will enable you to build a stronger, happier, and healthier marriage. These include:


Communication:

Effective communication is the foundation of a solid and happy marriage. Learning how to listen to your partner, express your feelings, and communicate your needs and boundaries is essential. The Bible teaches us in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."


Effective communication is a crucial component that cannot be overlooked when building a solid and happy marriage. Couples can enhance their communication skills and strengthen their bond through the Scriptures by adopting principles and values that promote healthy dialogue, understanding, and respect.


The Bible offers numerous teachings on communication that can guide couples toward a more fulfilling marriage. One such verse is found in Proverbs 18:13, which advises, "He who answers before he hears, it is folly and shame to him." By learning to listen to your spouse without interrupting or assuming actively, you can demonstrate your love and willingness to understand them, leading to a more harmonious relationship.


Other passages, such as Proverbs 15:1 and Ephesians 4:29, encourage couples to speak with kindness, gentleness, and honesty, avoiding harsh words or deceitful talk that can damage trust and intimacy. Instead of attacking or criticizing your partner, communicate your needs and feelings calmly and respectfully, using "I" statements and avoiding blame or accusations.


Furthermore, incorporating prayer and studying the Bible into your daily routine can help strengthen your spiritual connection as you seek guidance and support from God, who promises to guide and bless those who seek Him in their marriage.


Effective communication is the foundation of a solid and happy marriage, and Scripture provides practical and profound wisdom to help couples navigate the ups and downs of life together. By applying these principles to your relationship and seeking God's love and guidance, you can build a lasting, fulfilling marriage that honors Him and brings joy to your life.


Finances:

Money is another significant cause of conflict in marriages. It is, therefore, essential to have an honest discussion about your financial situation and expectations and develop a plan for managing your money. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 advises us, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition."


Money is an essential aspect of our daily lives, and it plays a vital role in our relationships, especially in marriage. Financial struggles have been identified as one of the leading causes of marriage conflicts that can lead to divorce. The Bible warns us against the love of money, which is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Greed and materialism can lead to discontentment, selfishness, and a lack of trust in God and a spouse. The Scriptures guide how to navigate financial issues in marriage.


First, it is essential to establish a budget and stick to it. Planning and budgeting help couples to be accountable and avoid overspending. Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. An idea" Therefore, having a budget will help avoid unnecessary debt and anxiety.


Second, honesty and transparency are crucial in financial relationships. Concealing purchases, secret bank accounts, and misleading financial statements can lead to distrust and conflicts. Proverbs 11:1 says, "The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him." Being truthful about your finances can help build trust in a marriage.


Third, tithing and giving to charity are essential principles for Christians to follow. The act of providing honors and glorifying God. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." Giving generously can also help alleviate financial stress and build solidarity in a couple.


Last, prayer and seeking guidance from wise counsel can help manage financial conflicts in a marriage. The Bible promises us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5). Couples may seek advice from financial advisors, pastors, and mentors in managing their finances.


In summary, finances can be a significant cause of marital conflict that can lead to divorce. However, the Bible guides managing financial stress in a marriage, including budgeting, honesty, giving, and seeking advice from wise counsel. Couples can build a solid financial foundation to strengthen their marriage by following these principles and trusting the Lord.


Sex and Intimacy:

Physical intimacy is a crucial aspect of marriage. It is essential to develop a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship. This includes openly and honestly discussing your needs, desires, and boundaries. The Bible emphasizes in Ephesians 5:31, "For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."


Physical intimacy is a fundamental aspect of marriage that can strengthen the bond between husband and wife and promote a deep emotional connection. The Holy Scriptures in the book of Proverbs 5:18-19 state, "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts always fill you with delight; always be intoxicated in her love." This verse highlights the beauty and importance of intimacy in marriage.


Moreover, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife has no authority over her body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Therefore, do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."


From these passages, it is clear that physical intimacy is meant to be enjoyed by both partners in a marriage, as it fosters an emotional connection and strengthens their bond. However, this act should be done humbly, respecting each other's boundaries and desires.


Failing to develop a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship can lead to problems within the marriage, which may eventually lead to divorce. Studies have shown that issues arising from unsatisfactory physical intimacy are one of the leading causes of divorce among couples. Couples who refrain from physical intimacy or are dissatisfied with it often experience disconnection, frustration, anxiety, and stress. Such feelings can lead to a breakdown in communication, increased conflict, and ultimately separation.


In conclusion, physical intimacy is a crucial aspect of marriage. It goes beyond fulfilling sexual desires and creates a solid emotional bond between partners. Couples must prioritize developing healthy and fulfilling sexual relationships to avoid issues that can lead to divorce. This can be achieved through open communication, mutual respect, and a deep commitment to building and maintaining a solid marital relationship. As stated in the Bible, let us rejoice in each other, and may our physical intimacy bring us closer to the divine will regarding marriage.


Expectations and Roles:

Each partner in a marriage has expectations and assumes specific roles. Therefore, discussing your expectations and establishing clear roles is vital to avoid misunderstandings and conflict. The Bible teaches us in 1 Peter 3:7, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."


Marriage is a partnership, and both must contribute to make it work. This means that each partner should have tasks they are responsible for. These tasks can vary by the couple’s priorities and preferences, but some necessary duties usually stay the same. Responsibilities like maintaining a budget or taking care of car maintenance. Both spouses should also participate in decision-making and planning for their future. Communication between couples is vital in ensuring that both parties are satisfied with their assigned duties in the marriage.


Discussing expectations and establishing clear roles is crucial to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts in any relationship, couples personal or professional. In the Scriptures, Proverbs 29:18 states" “Where there is no vision, the people perish." This verse stresses the importance of having a clear vision or expectation "for any group or individual effort. It illustrates that without a vision, a group or an individual can perish or fail to achieve their goal due to confusion or lack of clarity.


Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 12, the Bible describes the church as a body where different members have different roles. Each member has specific responsibilities in this illustration, and a clear understanding of these roles ensures that the body functions efficiently. Similarly, in any setting, having clarity and transparency about roles and expectations is crucial to the success of the group or individual effort.


Avoiding misunderstandings is another essential aspect of establishing clear roles. Proverbs 18:13 states" “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame." We risk miscommunication and misunderstandings when we do not understand each other's roles or expectations. This can lead to conflicts and even failures that could have been avoided with clear communication. Therefore, establishing clear roles helps ensure everyone is working towards the same goal and prevents unwanted conflicts.


In conclusion, discussing expectations and establishing clear roles is vital, as illustrated in the Holy Scriptures. It helps set a clear vision, ensures a smooth operation of tasks, and prevents misunderstandings and conflicts. Therefore, we should strive to be honest and transparent when discussing expectations and roles in our relationships, as this will lead to more fruitful and successful interactions. Ultimately, by following the guidance from the Scriptures and clearly understanding expectations and roles, we can foster better and more harmonious relationships in all aspects of life.


In-Laws

Regarding marriage, in-laws are an integral part of the equation. Unfortunately, while many in-laws are a source of support and comfort, they can also be the driving force behind a couple's separation. Studies have shown that in-law issues are one of the leading causes of divorce.


One of the primary reasons in-laws can cause divorce is meddling. In-laws who interfere with a couple's decisions, whether offering unsolicited advice or trying to control every aspect of their lives, can strain the relationship immensely. It can lead to resentment, lack of trust, and a loss of respect for one another, ultimately driving the couple apart.


Another significant factor is differences in lifestyles and values. When in-laws have vastly different beliefs and perspectives from the child's spouse, it can lead to tension and conflict. This can manifest in disagreements over everything from financial decisions to parenting styles, causing significant stress and strain on the couple's relationship.


Moreover, overbearing in-laws can cause significant stress in a relationship. Some in-laws may feel entitled to criticize and judge their child's spouse and their family, even going as far as to put down their partner's values and beliefs. This can create an unwelcoming atmosphere, making the spouse uncomfortable and resentful.


Furthermore, in-laws who refuse to accept their child's partner's child's spouse can also affect a couple's relationship and lead to divorce. Disapproval from in-laws can make it difficult for the couple to create a strong bond, ultimately leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.


Finally, competitive attitudes can also contribute to a couple's separation. For example, some in-laws may see their child's spouse as a threat, competing for their child's attention and affection. This can lead to a barrage of unreasonable requests, unfair demands, and aggressive behavior, ultimately tearing the couple apart.


In conclusion, while in-laws can be a valuable source of support, they can also cause significant strain on a couple's relationship, leading to divorce. However, by recognizing the warning signs and tackling conflicts head-on, couples can work together to build a strong, supportive, and loving relationship, even in the face of challenging relationships with in-laws.


To summarize, I encourage you to embrace pre-marital counseling as a valuable tool for preparing for the journey. Marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires sacrifice, understanding, patience, and love. Addressing critical issues during your counseling sessions and applying biblical principles to your marriage, you will be well-positioned to build a lasting and fulfilling relationship. May God bless your union and guide you every step of the way!


Sincerely,


Pastor Terry

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