In your ministry you will have couples dating, sometimes to each other and sometimes outside the church. Although you can’t always have control of who they date, their maturity, what they are doing while they are dating, etc., you can have some control when comes time to marry them (or see them get married).
In today’s culture we are seeing more and more co-habitating couples, single parents, and those divorced multiple times. Trying to help couples make the right decision for marriage (first and second or more) has become more complex than ever. Now your church may already have some guidelines when it comes to marrying couples such as pre-marriage counseling but let me also suggest that you have your couples (while they are still dating prior to their engagement) read/conduct a bible study together such as “Before You Say I Do” workbook by H. Norman Wright.
The reason I suggest this is that most couples once engaged their brains leave their bodies. You can counsel to the cows come home and even if you suggest they wait, they won’t wait. They will just find another church. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some that will wait, if that is your suggestion (depends on their maturity of the couple). But most pre-marital counseling to me is almost a waste. By the time they are engaged they are in the “feel good love phase” and not really thinking seriously about what they are doing.
I have given out more “Before You Say I Do” workbooks to couples than I can count. What is so great is that some will bring the workbook back to me in a week and say, “we found out we aren’t ready.” Some will get half-way through and then tell me that one or the other left the relationship due to finding out they were compatible or that they were at two separate places in regard to the Lord. But some have actually finished the workbook and felt the Lord leading towards the next step of engagement and then marriage.
I say all this as my own way of saving the marriage of the future. The more we can do on this end as leaders and pastors of singles, the higher the chance the marriage they will stay together for a life-time. We can help them to set the foundation now for the future.
Note: In the last church I was on staff I had a couple that like to counsel singles that wanted to date but were not in a relationship. Yet again, another step towards helping singles become the right person before they find the right person.
Kris Swiatocho, Director
FromHisHands.com (Silent Shopper, Greeting, First Impression Ministry)
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The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come to give life to its fullest. John 10:10