Question: "Why is premarital counseling important?"
Answer: Premarital counseling usually falls under the office of the pastor or leader of a local congregation. In some congregations, the pastor will not undertake to perform a marriage ceremony unless the engaged couple submits to a series of counseling sessions. Pastors are aware of the divorce rate, even in "Christian" marriages, and they are concerned that those they join in marriage have the best chance of remaining "married." They see premarital counseling as an important part of getting a young couple off on the right foot.
The Apostle Paul in his pastoral instructions to Titus tells him to equip others to teach the younger generation (Titus 2:1-6). This is counseling which has at its core the idea of teaching biblical truth, standards or absolutes in oneís relationship to others. This is especially important in a premarital situation because we cannot use what we do not know, and adulthood is not a guarantee of maturity. It is therefore important that the couple who intend to form a union making them one in Godís eyes (Genesis 2:23-24; Mark 10:6-8) be instructed in Godís viewpoint concerning marriage.
Premarital counseling based upon sound biblical principles outlines the roles of the husband and wife as they relate to each other and to their prospective children (Ephesians 5:22Ė6:4; Colossians 3:18-21). Pastoral counseling should be in addition to the nurturing and godly wisdom the couple has (hopefully) received from their own parents. Parents are responsible before God to prepare children for adulthood, and that includes marriage. Premarital counseling is an excellent way to clear the misconceptions about the roles we are to play in marriage and distinguish between Godís standards and those of the world. Therefore, it is crucial that the pastor or elder doing the premarital counseling be doctrinally solid, secure in his own marriage and family relationships (1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 1:7), and in obedience to Godís Word so that he is equipped to impart Godís viewpoint clearly and without equivocation.
Solid, biblical premarital counseling may very well be the difference between a couple that seeks to put Godís principles first in their marriage and a marriage based on human viewpoints and worldly standards that put relationships in jeopardy. Serious consideration on the part of the prospective bride and groom to commit to a time of spiritual premarital counselingóand their agreement to model their marriage after Godís orderówill bring clarity to how each views the other in their ďonenessĒ in the eyes of God.
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