Three reasons engaged couples should seek counseling

When I was brand new in the ministry and beginning to officiate weddings, I really wrestled to identify my role as a pastor in the process. The Bible clearly states that God is the one who joins a husband and a wife together, but it contains no instructions for how a pastor should go about his task of officiating weddings. 

After an intense and prayerful struggle. I settled on this answer: My role as a pastor is to prepare the couple for their life together. It as an opportunity to help them prepare. Before I agree to officiate the wedding, I always ask them to submit to at least four hours of pre-marital counseling (at no charge). 
 
I have officiated about two dozen weddings, and I have never had a couple turn down the counseling. Also, I have never had a couple say that those counseling sessions were less than beneficial. Here is why:
 
 
1. Planning for marriage is more important than planning a wedding. Families spend many hours (and $) picking out a dress, selecting a maid of honor, choosing flowers, hiring a photographer, putting up decorations, and reserving a venue. All of this is preparation for one day. 
 
While I acknowledge the importance of memorializing the day of your wedding, it is infinitely more important to prepare for the days that follow. By the time you reach your golden anniversary, you will have spent 18,250 days together. Pre-marital counseling prepares you not just for the one day but for the 18,000+ days… the good ones, the bad ones, the tragic ones, and the glorious ones. 
 
If something goes wrong on the day of the wedding, it will become something that makes the day more memorable. (My wife and I still laugh about her shoe coming off while we walked down the aisle.) However, if things consistently go wrong in the days after the wedding, then it can spell disaster for your relationship and for the lives of your children. Pre-marital counseling helps build a foundation to prevent such a disaster.
 
 
2. You will better understand what you are getting into. My wife and I married young. I was 21 and she was 19. Neither of us really understood what we were getting ourselves into. No one bothered to tell us. If someone had told us, then we would have still gotten married, but we would have at least had some idea of the pitfalls that laid ahead of us. 
 
Only when I became a pastor and had to wrestle through these questions did I come to understand anything about my marriage. What is God’s view of my marriage? What is my role as a husband? What is her role as a wife? Why do couples get divorced? What are some ways to head off potential problems?
 
Many couples think they already know the answers to these questions. I thought I knew the answers. I didn’t. And even if I had been less ignorant, I would have benefited from someone sitting down with me and my bride to be, and showing me how the Bible answers these questions. 
 
Look, marriage is a covenant relationship. Before you enter into a covenant relationship, you need to know what that covenant entails. Romantic love is blinding, but that is no excuse for failing to prepare.
 
 
3. Pre-marital counseling gives you an opportunity to deal with problems while they are still small. All marriages, the ones that last 50 years as well as the ones that last 6 months, begin with two people who are madly in love. The ones that last are the ones that can work through their issues. The time to start dealing with issues is at the very beginning.
 
You’ve heard it said, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” Well, in marriages, molehills have a way of becoming mountains over time. Couples have a bad habit of not dealing with their issues until they become mountains. By then, it is often too late. There are too many complications, too many emotions, too much heartbreak, to get it all sorted out. This is why it is easier to head off problems in premarital counseling rather than trying to fix them on the back end in marriage counseling.
 
 
Bottom line, pre-marital counseling only helps. If you have a good pastor, then all it will cost you is a little time and effort. If you do not have a pastor, then contact me at (bro.robby@gmail.com) and I will be happy to help you.