Christian Pre-Marital Counseling
If you are a couple about to get married and you are Christians, congratulations! God has brought you two together, you have fallen in love, and are engaged to be married. Since you are both Christian, you want to receive Christian pre-marital counseling. You may have already scheduled with a church for your wedding day, and often times the Pastor at the church will conduct or even require pre-marital counseling. A lot of what is usually discussed in pre marital counseling is part of christian pre marital counseling. Depending on who is doing the counseling, you may discuss different topics together in therapy.
Many Christian couples meet with their pastor when going through pre-marital counseling. Most pastors are trained to complete pastoral pre-marital counseling. The pastor may discuss different topics such as:
Areas of discussion would be: talking about your long term career plans together, whether or not to stay in the same company/job or even career field. If you would stay, do you have an idea of how long you would like to work for, or around what age you would like to retire? These are important questions to ask because one spouse may have a career plan ideal that may be different from the other. Many would like to work until the traditional age of 65 and then fully retire, some may want to work until 65 and then have a small part time job after their career retirement, and some want to retire early and travel the world.
Depending on what your ideal is, it may hurt or help your overall career plan, so it is helpful to plan accordingly. Pray togethers about what God has planned for your lives, and live them out together. Career plans are a major life decision to make, and to help ensure a successful future for you and your future spouse, agreeing to your plans together will help you get there that much more.
What are your money plans or goals? Do both of you want to work or just one of you? If you have children, will one of you stay home with the child, hire someone to take care of them, or have family or friends take care of the child? Either way, it will cost time and money. Think about if you see yourselves moving up in your career to make more, or if you want to change careers in order to make more money.
Also, discuss with each other about any debt you are bringing into the marriage. When two become one in marriage, you share everything; and that includes your finances. If there is any debt like student loans, car payments, old credit card bills, etc., that should be discussed about how you want to resolve that together. You are stewards of God’s money, he has blessed you to take good care of the money you have. Money fights and money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce, and you are going to want to agree on how you will manage your money together.
Are you the spender or saver in your relationship?
Where to Live?
When planning for marriage, think about where you are going to live. You may consider these questions:
- What is your living situation going to look like for you?
- Do you all want to live in an apartment to start?
- Are you going to stay with one of your parents, there can be pros and cons to that living situation.
- Let’s say for example, you are engaged to marry and live separately. If you live long distance, such as in a different state or over an hour away from each other, how will you decide where to live? If you live in the same town, will you stay near by or leave? There are many scenarios to think of as far as where you are going to live.
If you love your city and want to stay, then great; start looking for your home together. Perhaps you want to get out of the city, or move to a new one. If you live in San Francisco and the cost of living is too high, you may want to move out of the city to save on cost of living. Deciding where to live together may not be as easy as you think. If you live separately now, make a decision together where you are going to live once you get married.
Thoughts on Having Children and How to Parent
A huge decision to make that is life changing and should not be taken lightly is: Do you want to have children. It is surprising that many couples have not told each other if they want to have children or not. To better set yourself up for success, talk together in pre marital counseling about if you want to have children and how many; or even if you want to adopt. Once this decision is firmly established between both of you, you can move on to how you will raise your little humans into functioning adults.
Together as a Christian couple, how are you going to work together to parent your children effectively?
Your Pastor may ask you how will you raise up your child in the faith as a Christian. Discussion of filling God in your home should take place. You may even discuss bringing your child to a church and having them baptized/christened. As a Christian couple, it will be very important for you to bring up your child knowing God. Next, it is imperative that you both are on the same page for the sake of consistency and congruency when parenting your child(ren). The consistency is vital so your kids know the rules of the house, what they can or cannot do, what the positive or negative consequences may be for their actions, and what their routines are.
If your child asks “Can I have popcorn for dinner?” and Dad says “sure!” and Mom says “No!” there is going to be a problem. When your child(ren) see that both Mom AND Dad are doing and saying the same thing, there will likely be more order and common understanding in your house.
How to Deal with Parents and In-Laws
It is important to discuss in Christian pre-marital counseling your views of each other’s parents, and to be open and vulnerable. If you do not like your fiancee’s mother or father, lay it all out there. It is better for your spouse to know then not know. Know that you cannot change the person, but you can change your actions and the situation at hand. For the sake of your relationship with your spouse and marriage, do not complain about their parent(s). Make a promise to each other that you will not complain about each other’s parents, no matter how you feel about them. You can create healthy boundaries of how often you see your parents or in laws. Lay out this agenda together in pre marital counseling to keep a solid relationship with your spouse and a healthy relationship with each other’s parents.
Your pastor may provide pastoral type of advice of giving grace and being Christlike to your in laws. In Christian pre-marital counseling, “being Christ” such as giving unconditional love, loving your neighbor as yourself, do unto those as you would have them do to you, and giving grace and mercy are values that everyone should strive for. These Christ like attitudes are likely to be discussed in your pre-marital counseling and can be applied to your parents, in laws, and to everyone for that matter!
Keeping God in the Center
Above all else in Christian pre martial counseling, you should learn to keep God in the center of your marriage. Your pastor or counselor in pre marital counseling should emphasize in whatever you do, whatever you plan for in your future together, to keep God as your focus.
Part of having God as your focus is praying together and lifting all aspects of your lives to him. As a Christian couple, relying on God as your Father is freeing and gives you hope that He will provide. You can also strengthen your relationship together and with God by going to a church together. Going to a church and serving together brings you closer together in your relationship and also to the God that you love and serve.
In your lives together you will experience life events, hardships, and bumps in the road. Relying on God and coming to him can help you two get through any part of life together. God has a plan for you two together, and living for Him can help you to live your most abundant life.