The Value of Premarriage Counseling

I have been a pastor for 25 years and I have always tried to require at least six sessions of premarital counseling before the wedding. When I look to see how many of the couples I worked with in the past are still married, I find that most of the ones that took the time for the pre-marriage counseling I offered are still together. Many of those “you’ve got to marry us right now – no time for counseling” weddings have ended in divorce. Years ago when I was a pastor of a church with a large beautiful building where everyone wanted to get married I did pre-marriage counseling with around 10 couples a year and I found that about 80% of the couples actually went through with getting married and the other 20% found reasons not to marry that person.

Oddly enough many couples are willing to pay hundreds (or over a thousand) dollars for the wedding pictures but they don’t want to shell out $55 so they can each get a pre-marriage counseling book (Preparing for Marriage by Dennis Rainey) and the Prepare Enrich Premarital Assessment. I’ve had some parents and even a grandparent send a check to cover the costs with a note that said they wanted to make sure the couple they cared about had the tools to help them prepare for a lifelong marriage.

I am only equipped to offer Bible based counseling for a Biblical marriage between a man and a woman. The six sessions cover:

  1. Why God created marriage
  2. How to decide who to marry
  3. Communication in marriage
  4. Sharing roles and responsibilities in marriage
  5. Finances and goals in marriage
  6. How to prepare for a memorable wedding day

A lot of couples put off getting married because they think they can’t afford it so I help them find ways to lower the cost so they can get married sooner. The State of Minnesota offers a discount on the marriage license fee for those who receive at least 12 hours of pre-marriage instruction and my method totals over 12 hours between the required book reading, video watching and meeting time.

The first long distance pre-marriage counseling sessions I ever did was for a couple where one was overseas in the military and the other was traveling the country racing motorcycles. Now it is a lot easier to do long distance but in person is even better. Please take the time for pre-marriage counseling before marriage.

Photo by Jeremy Wong on