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It is certainly natural for a marital counselor to talk about spiritual intimacy. In book, The Five Love Needs of Men and Women, Christian marital experts Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg explain how there are two kinds of intimacy in marriage, physical and spiritual. Differences in religion could lead to a lack of understanding and different values. But not everything is religion.
Counselor Grisel López of El Sendero de la Cruz Christian Church in Puerto Rico explains that even in case that couple is of same religion, some couples do not have compatibility of ministries. For example, if both are church leaders, and one sings in altar and other preaches, they are compatible. But if one is training to be a foreign missionary and other is a pastor of a local church, then one of two will have to give up his or her dreams for success of other, because they can not make both dreams come true and live together happily at same time.
She adds that even church leaders, who know Bible in general, still need pre-marital counseling. Some churches do not require pre-marital counseling for church leaders because leaders know Christianity well, yet divorce rate for Christians is about same as for non-Christian marriages.
According to Dr. Wayne A. Mack, some of things covered in pre-marital counseling are relations with in-laws, making a budget together, comparing differences in way each one expresses love, good communication (a factor in most marital problems), and conflict resolution. It is important to plan ahead how you will approach problem solving, not waiting for problems to begin and then start by seeking marital therapy. This is because there will be problems anyway so reducing their volatility will prevent bad memories that are hard to forget later.
Dr. Mack’s workbook, Preparing for Marriage God’s Way, can be used both in addition to marital therapy, (or independently, for those persons who live in areas where there is little availability of Christian pre-marital therapy). Two copies of workbook are used. Each member of couple reads and fills out answers individually. Then couple meet and discus their answers together. Mack suggests they can make note of significant differences and seek therapy for those issues as well.
Pre-marital counseling can be fun also. You get to take personality tests with your betrothed, learning more about each other in process. Or it could lead to more deeper and interesting conversations to talk with your loved one. Some people think they already know each other well. But even people who have been married twenty years face surprises.
You should also find out some of your betrothed’s faults in process. There may be faults that you understand about, this is called unconditional love. But there could also be faults that you do not tolerate. Some things are not negotiable like giving little importance to fidelity. Others might not matter to one husband, for example, that his future wife likes a relaxed style of housekeeping, as long as she is a business woman, but it could matter a lot to another man. Counselor Grisel López teaches that best way to find your ideal love is to tell truth about how you are so you can find someone who will be happy with you instead of turned off. If you do not reveal your faults you will not know if it is safe to relax your guard with your betrothed and find joy of being loved as you are.
Joshua Harris’ book, Boy meets Girl; Dr. Wayne Mack’s workbook, Preparing for Marriage God’s Way; and Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg’s book, The Five Love Needs of Men and Women; are available in English at author’s Christian Bookstore link: http://www.family-moment.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi/wm246863/storeframe.html
Wilma Melendez has been a born again Christian for 18 years. She attends El Sendero de La Cruz Christian Church in Puerto Rico and is a counseling student of their Theological Seminary. She studies the Bible auto didactically using books from her online Christian bookstore: http://www.family-moment.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi/wm246863/storeframe.html Her home page is at http://www.webspawner.com/users/howtopray/