People of all backgrounds and beliefs understand the importance of investing in what matters most. And most all would agree that staying connected in your marriage is vitally important! Yet, for Christian couples, premarital counseling serves a distinct purpose. You’re entering a covenant with your spouse, and together, you’re also entering a covenant with God. Premarital counseling for Christians is designed to lay out a biblical foundation of marriage while preparing you for the exciting and humbling responsibility of being husband and wife. Let’s walk through four important ways premarital counseling lays this foundation.
Premarital Counseling provides a healthy, biblical view of marriage.
Understanding what the Bible says about marriage will be foundational to your relationship. How does the Bible define marriage? How should marriage reflect the relationship between Christ and the church? What is the purpose of marriage? (Hint: It’s not self-gratification or even your own happiness!) How do we apply the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 to our daily lives? The Bible provides direction and guidelines for marriage that, when understood and honored, will help your relationship be what God designed it to be. In premarital counseling, you have time to process and uniquely apply these scriptural principles to your marriage.
Premarital Counseling helps you process and express your understanding of your unique roles as husband and wife.
God commands all Christians, male or female, to do certain things – like love your neighbor, honor your father and mother, and so on. But, God also instructs men, women, husbands, and wives with unique descriptions of how we show his love to others. For example, the Bible speaks about the importance of husbands being leaders, protectors and priests for the family. All Christians likely agree that women and men are equal in dignity and worth. Yet Christian couples may have different understandings about how husbands and wives function together. Scripture refers to women as an “ezer,” a Hebrew word meaning “essential counterpart” (often translated as “helper” in many English versions ). How do you and your spouse make sense of this biblical paradigm for your relationship? Scripture gives many directions and examples for husbands, wives, men and women, and premarital counseling allows you to opportunity process, share and strengthen your views.
Premarital Counseling provides a safe environment for working through any current or past relational issues.
Our prior relationships usually impact our current one. Both our family-of-origin experiences and past romantic relationships influence how we handle our emotions and connections. Premarital counseling allows each person to learn and share about how former relationships have shaped one’s present reality. This usually means couples will talk about expectations they have internalized, issues related to sexual experience, and any significant traumas or wounds. Identifying and sharing about any prior significant events and present struggles actually gives the couple more power over the past. Premarital counseling may begin the process of sharing insecurities and healing from any previous guilt or shame. As you invest now in this process, couples can expect to see dividends paid in their future marriage.
Premarital Counseling lets couples define and work through their expectations of marriage.
Marriage joins together two broken, sinful people. Nobody’s perfect! I don’t think anyone would ever say, “I expect my spouse to be perfect.” But, our actions sometimes reflect that we do have a mindset of “I’m better” in certain areas. Our expectations for marriage stem from a variety of sources. We may expect our future spouse to do certain chores or act a certain way, based on our parents’ relationship. We see seemingly-perfect marriages on Instagram and hope our marriage will be conflict-free. We watch movies that romanticize relationships, and then when our own relationship gets hard, we wonder where we’ve gone wrong.
Having realistic expectations of marriage is very important. Unmet expectations are the root of a variety of marital problems. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any expectations. In fact, it’s great to have realistic expectations! Use premarital counseling to set expectations for how you communicate with each other, resolve conflict, spend money, and even how you’ll use your vacation and holiday time. (Do you have family out of town that expects you to visit? Do you want to reserve one week each year for a vacation with just the two of you?) Talking through your expectations now will help you be better prepared for situations when they arise. You can also practice some conflict resolution skills as you decipher your expectations!
Begin Premarital Counseling in Greenville, SC
Ultimately, for Christian couples, it all boils down to this: Premarital counseling is important because it helps us understand how to have a fulfilling marriage that glorifies God. Your relationship can start off strong with the help of a skilled marriage therapist. If you and your fiance are ready to begin premarital counseling, contact us today to learn about our services at our Greenville SC counseling practice. We would love to be a part of your journey! Continue reading to know what to expect in premarital counseling.