Why Christian Pre-marital Counseling?
“Love is long suffering, and is kind; love has no envy, love is not boastful, love does not behave itself inappropriately, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in injustice, but rejoices in truth; love bears all things, believes everything, endures everything”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
These beautiful words hold us to a high standard. That is why it has been said that before marriage one ought to open our eyes wide, but afterwards keep them half closed. In order to hold up this standard, so necessary for a marriage to work, we need to choose wisely. To decide if you are ready for marriage, you need to choose someone you can trust, because distrust erodes a relationship, and so does undeserved trust. You also need to know what your responsibilities to marriage partner are so that you can evaluate yourself realistically. These two things can be done with help of pre-marital therapy.
Why do you need Christian pre-marital therapy? The quote above is from Bible. The greatest book of love is Bible. The book of Luke is considered by many to be most beautiful book ever written. The book of Luke, as well as gospels of Mathew, Mark, and John, tells how Jesus died to save us - believers and now church- from our sins. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved church, giving himself up for it”. Ephesians 5:25. God is expert, par excellence, on love.
There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist, a social worker, a professional counselor, or a psychiatrist for pre-marital and marital therapy. In fact I would encourage you because churches sometimes give only six sessions of pre-marital couple therapy, or group pre-marital therapy with non professional married couples as group leaders and this is barely just enough. Many couples who have received pre-marital therapy say that it helped them but that they wish they had received more therapy. There is so much need in church for marital, family, addiction, and other kinds of counseling, that there is not enough pre-marital therapy. I would recommend supplementing church’s pre-marital therapy with other pre-marital counseling.
However, Christian pre-marital counseling adds a dimension that secular therapies do not usually have. For example, Christian counselor advises couples not to have sex before marriage. In his book on dating, Boy Meets Girl, Pastor Joshua Harris explains how a manager of a hotel for honeymooners would run out of activities for newly married to do. This was because now bored couples had pre-marital sex. Whereas, Joshua and his wife, who did not have sex prior to marriage, hardly left their room!
In city where I live there is a saying among non-believers. They say that marriage kills sex. But it is not marriage that kills sex, but pre-marital sex that kills marriage. I knew of one couple that lived together and had sex everyday before to marriage. After marriage, wife confided, they had sex once a month. It is not worth it to ruin twenty five or more years of marital sex for one year or even less of pre-marital sex.
If you are contemplating marriage and you are living together, you must move apart and stop having sex for a time until you get married under guidance of pastor or Christian counselor. Physical intimacy is like a battery. It becomes charged with non sexual activities and gives off energy with sex. Do not skip that pre-marriage charging time. When thinking about what pre-marital therapy is, people have different points of view. One woman tells how she was looking forward to marital therapy thirty years ago. “I thought that we would receive counseling courses about marital responsibility, but entire time, courses, which were called ‘marital counseling’, were about catechism.” She was disappointed as were many people in course.
Decades later, now divorced, she expects that marital counseling should be about what marriage is, what people expect it to be, and what it will really be like. Dr. Wayne Mack makes a point that partners differ in expectations and should not wait until marriage to discuss these differences.
Dr. Nancy Alvarez, secular psychologist and sexologist says that some men want marriage with weekends off. That means they spend weekends drinking with their male friends as if they were single, instead of being with their wife. Obviously, that does not work out. Couples should also discuss why they are in love with one another. It has been observed that some people become happy when they hear why their betrothed wants to marry them, others become angry.