8 Week Pre-Marital Counseling Session

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PACO 603

Timothy Rose
July 10, 2011
Introduction and Rationale
The community in which I reside is a very rural setting. It has not ascribed to the marriage covenant movement per say, however, the state has mandated that all marriage license fees be reduced by $32.50 if the couple completes marriage counseling sessions of at least four hours. This counseling must have taken place no sooner than one year prior to the date on the marriage license application.[1]

The church I am presently on staff at requires all couples requesting to be married by any staff member go through marriage counseling. This can be done in as little as 3 or 4 sessions which last between 90 minutes and 2 hours. These counseling sessions cover a packet we have put together that covers a variety of issues. We will be discussing some of these within this paper as well as some we will look at adding to the agenda.

Personally I believe marriage is an institution ordained by God and the marriage ceremony should be viewed as a worship service. Psalm 127:1 states, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (NKJV) We also see in Genesis 2:18-24 Adam receives his wife from God and that marriage is meant to be permanent in God’s eyes. With this in mind I believe it is very important to counsel couples seeking to be joined together with Scripture in order for them to realize the covenant relationship they are entering into with their spouse as well as with God. Curriculum

The following eight week counseling sessions will help the couple navigate through the waters of wedding planning and help prepare them for their marriage. As soon as the couple contacts the church about a potential wedding date the church secretary looks at the pastor’s calendar to see if the date is open for him. She then mails the couple a church wedding packet which includes guidelines about the pastor’s wedding policies, including an agreement for the couple and pastor to sign so each part understands what is expected. This packet also includes information concerning the scheduling of the wedding, an overview of pre-marital session with the pastor, the areas in which the wedding are able to be held on the church property and what is allowed during the ceremonies, flower and decoration stipulations, stipulations the wedding party are expected to follow, and some information concerning the use of music and sound equipment. There is also a wedding ceremony worksheet given in this packet so the couple can begin making plans for their big day. The couple is provided with the list of wedding if these are necessary. For our particular church we do not require fees for members or family of members getting married however, if someone who is not a member desires to have a wedding in our facilities there will be a charge for cleaning, sound and musicians. Finally, the couple is given a Pre-Marital Interview that each will fill out (See Appendix A). This helps the pastor have a better understanding of the couple. After the couple has returned this packet back to the church secretary she sets up the eight week pre-marital sessions.

Week one of the pre-marital sessions consists of confirming the date and time of the ceremony as well as the rehearsal. The pastor will go over the wedding guidelines to make sure the couple does not have any questions. The pastor will sign the pastor covenant with the couple agreeing to perform their ceremony. The couple will be assigned homework consisting of taking a spiritual gifts test. This test can be taken online at www.elmertowns.com/spiritual_gifts_test or a hard copy will be given to them if they do not have computer access. This test is to be taken before the next session...
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