Every soon-to-be Christian husband or wife desires to build a strong and successful marriage that would last a lifetime. What they may not realize, however, is that marriage requires a great deal of preparation—not only for the wedding ceremony, but also for the actual struggles and pitfalls they might face in their journey.
Most married Christian couples would agree that marriage is walked in a path where there are blind spots and bombshells hiding along the way. These surprises could actually cause troubles between spouses when dealt with ineffectively. Considering that fact, Christian men and women who wish to marry are advised to undergo premarital counseling to have a grasp of what marriage looks like.
Christian premarital counseling allows men and women to plan and prepare for their marriage ahead. Although there is no sure way of knowing what’s waiting following their exchange of “I Do,” marriage counselors shall be able to help them start off on the right foot. With premarital counseling, couples may learn how to deal with the primary difficulties that newlyweds commonly welcome in the first few years of being together.
But before you spend your hard-earned dollars on any institution that offers Christian premarital counseling, you first need to know what to expect from their services.
Here Are 5 Christian Premarital Counseling Essential Topics
The spiritual foundation of soon-to-be married couples is critical in building a marriage centered on Christian faith. As believers in God, both of them must understand each other’s sincerity in following Christian values in their daily lives.
It is also crucial to know how much their Christian faith impacts their decisions and plans. They should discuss how it influences their interaction with other people and, most importantly, how it affects their marriage.
In some couples, the level of spiritual maturity differs between the man and a woman. It could possibly be because of one’s newness in the Christian faith or lack of enough time and willingness to spend time with the Lord.
But whatever it is that causes one’s low level of spiritual maturity, men and women who are soon to marry should make sure to talk about their differences and work it out. In marriage, two become one flesh. It is highly likely for couples to achieve their spiritual goals if they share a good equivalence in spiritual maturity. And to reach a higher level of spiritual maturity together, couples must not only learn the core elements of their Christian faith, but also make sure to followup by living those elements in marriage.
Financial Management and Expectation
It is no secret that most marriages are blowing apart due to financial problems. A report by CNBC even claimed that money is the leading cause of friction among struggling marriages.
Given this circumstance, premarital counselors must always include the topic of financial management and expectation in one of their counseling sessions. Some questions couples may expect are:
- Are you open to the idea of making financial decisions together?
- Is one of you saving up for retirement?
- How much tithe are you willing to offer to the church?
Speaking of tithe, the bible has spoken of it in a number of passages, including Leviticus: 27:30-34. “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must add a fifth of the value to it. Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord. No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed. These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.”
Under the Christian faith, all are taught to give to God first. Therefore, God should be part of the financial priority.
Christian followers are advised to share 10 percent of their income with the church. However, not all men and women cannot comply with this,especially when it’s getting harder to make ends meet. With that having been said, financial management and expectations should be discussed by couples also that they can plan how to adjust their finances properly and have an idea about financial changes after marriage.
Couples, even after being together for long years, cannot read each other’s minds perfectly. Knowing this, they need to learn and improve their communication skills before tying the knot.
A good premarital counselor can help couples discover the power of communication in marriage. He/she can teach the pair to speak their minds to avoid possible conflicts. With that having been said, premarital counseling should cover issues of communication between the soon-to-be husband and wife.
It is important to note that some couples ditch premarital counseling, thinking that there is really no need for it because they are so happy together. They can talk about anything under the sun. They think they can read each other’s minds, for they literally can finish their partner’s sentences.
Whilst it is possible for couples to look and feel so good together, there is still potential for them to miss the needs and wants of the other. Apparently, this “mind-reading” ability fades off at a four-year critical mark. That is why it is still best to always communicate and avoid banking on the idea that your partner knows what you need.
If there’s one thing that’s common in all married couples, it is conflict. There will always be arguments, big or small, between the husband and the wife. The only difference they can make is in how they manage and resolve them.
All couples, before they marry, must learn different styles of conflict resolution and identify what works for different arguments. This is an integral part of marriage counseling.
Some known conflict resolution styles are avoiding the conflict, giving in, standing your ground, and compromising. These approaches can be useful in different situations.
However, couples must know when and how to execute the proper conflict resolution style in diffusing anger or hate. Avoiding the conflict, for one, is a slippery slope.
Your partner might accept your withdrawal negatively when all you want is for the tension to ease. He/she may think that you just don’t care, which can lead to more problems in the future.
Therefore, your premarital counselor should be able to discuss the pros and cons of each conflict resolution style. He/she can also teach the best approaches known to resolve each kinds of conflicts.
It may sound awkward to discuss sexual purity in front of a marriage expert. But it is a must for a counselor to let couples open up to this topic. Sexual intimacy and other concerns about sexuality (such as sexual abuse and pornography) may be discussed during Christian premarital counseling.
The bible teaches the followers of the Lord to be free from any sexual immorality. Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
But what is sexual immorality? Sexual immorality is anything that violates sexual purity and any sexual expression that’s morally objectionable.
Being involved in sexual intimacy is a form of sexual immorality for Christians. The leaders of the church disapprove of premarital sex and anything related to physical intimacy.
On that note, it may not be surprising to know that your partner has been physically involved with someone else before your relationship. And though it is uncomfortable to ease to the unrevealed secrets of your partner’s sexual relationships, it is best that you discuss it during premarital counseling.
It is really a painful truth to bear. But it is better to learn it beforehand than be caught in an unpretty surprise on your first honeymoon night.
Marriage is a sacred bond, a covenant instituted by God. It is right to cherish and nourish it with love and respect. And couples are more likely to be guided on how to nurture this union if they seek help or assistance from experts through Christian premarital counseling.
Fortunately, looking for premarital counseling services today is like a walk in the park. You can easily book an appointment online and pick a schedule that works best for you.
Some marriage counselors even offer free consultation online. So don’t hesitate to give it a try. Just because you think you’re happy and perfect in your current relationship doesn’t mean you’ll be spared from the challenges of marriage.