Why Receive Christian Pre-marital Counseling?

Why Christian Pre-marital Counseling? "Love is long suffering, and is kind; love has no envy, love is not boastful, love does not behave itself inappropriately, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in injustice, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes everything, endures everything". 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 These beautiful words hold us to a high standard. That is why it has been said that before marriage one ought to open our eyes wide, but afterwards keep them half closed. In order to hold up this standard, so necessary for a marriage to work, we need to choose wisely. To decide if you are ready for marriage, you need to choose someone you can trust, because distrust erodes a relationship, and so does undeserved trust. You also need to know what your responsibilities to the marriage partner are so that you can evaluate yourself realistically. These two things can be done with the help of pre-marital therapy. Why do you need Christian pre-marital therapy? The quote above is from the Bible. The greatest book of love is the Bible. The book of Luke is considered by many to be the most beautiful book ever written. The book of Luke, as well as the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and John, tells how Jesus died to save us - the believers and now the church- from our sins. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, giving himself up for it". Ephesians 5:25. God is the expert, par excellence, on love. There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist, a social worker, a professional counselor, or a psychiatrist for pre-marital and marital therapy. In fact I would encourage you because churches sometimes give only six sessions of pre-marital couple therapy, or group pre-marital therapy with non professional married couples as group leaders and this is barely just enough. Many couples who have received pre-marital therapy say that it helped them but that they wish they had received more therapy. There is so much need in the church for marital, family, addiction, and other kinds of counseling, that there is not enough pre-marital therapy. I would recommend supplementing the church's pre-marital therapy with other pre-marital counseling. However, Christian pre-marital counseling adds a dimension that secular therapies do not usually have. For example, the Christian counselor advises couples not to have sex before marriage. In his book on dating, Boy Meets Girl, Pastor Joshua Harris explains how a manager of a hotel for honeymooners would run out of activities for the newly married to do. This was because the now bored couples had pre-marital sex. Whereas, Joshua and his wife, who did not have sex prior to marriage, hardly left their room! In the city where I live there is a saying among the non-believers. They say that marriage kills sex. But it is not marriage that kills sex, but pre-marital sex that kills marriage. I knew of one couple that lived together and had sex everyday before to marriage. After marriage, the wife confided, they had sex once a month. It is not worth it to ruin twenty five or more years of marital sex for one year or even less of pre-marital sex. If you are contemplating marriage and you are living together, you must move apart and stop having sex for a time until you get married under the guidance of the pastor or Christian counselor. Physical intimacy is like a battery. It becomes charged with non sexual activities and gives off energy with sex. Do not skip that pre-marriage charging time. When thinking about what pre-marital therapy is, people have different points of view. One woman tells how she was looking forward to marital therapy thirty years ago. "I thought that we would receive counseling courses about marital responsibility, but the entire time, the courses, which were called 'marital counseling', were about catechism." She was disappointed as were many people in the course. Decades later, now divorced, she expects that marital counseling should be about what marriage is, what people expect it to be, and what it will really be like. Dr. Wayne Mack makes a point that partners differ in expectations and should not wait until marriage to discuss these differences. Dr. Nancy Alvarez, secular psychologist and sexologist says that some men want marriage with weekends off. That means they spend weekends drinking with their male friends as if they were single, instead of being with their wife. Obviously, that does not work out. Couples should also discuss why they are in love with one another. It has been observed that some people become happy when they hear why their betrothed wants to marry them, others become angry. It is certainly natural for a marital counselor to talk about spiritual intimacy. In the book, The Five Love Needs of Men and Women, Christian marital experts Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg explain how there are two kinds of intimacy in marriage, physical and spiritual. Differences in religion could lead to a lack of understanding and different values. But not everything is religion. Counselor Grisel L