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'The Design of Marriage' (Session #1) helps direct a couple in premarital counseling to think seriously about what God wants for their marriage and make some commitment to pursue that which is pleasing to God.
We start the first session with dinner! Usually each session has 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time.This first session is extended. We obviously totally disagree with the concept that we should separate our ministry from our lives. We talk over dinner, hopefully make the couple more comfortable and informally train them on the family.
We can change appointments, but it is much easier to plan them now especially as the wedding draws near. Meeting every 2-3 weeks seems ideal, but they can be more closely scheduled if necessary. Sometimes a spouse might need to fly in to make an appointment. I do not space the sessions out less than once a month. Continuity is important.
You can download the many forms from this series to get a feel for the materials. We encourage you to order the whole series with the forms or get our BFF Marriage Library which includes the Christian Premarital Counseling materials along with our marriage book, Building a Great Marriage and available marriage videos and powerpoints for just a little more!
Invite them over your house for supper (60')
Casually eat together at home with all the children, learning more about each other. They catch a glimpse how my wife cooks for a large family, how to talk at the table and how the children take turns cleaning up.
Purchase Christian Premarital Counseling now! (download or printed). We now offer epub or pdf downloads with links to all handouts and forms.
Review Premarital Questionnaires with them (10-30')
Often I interweave this time into our conversation before dinner (unfortunately this means Linda will not be there). Acknowledge their time in answering it.
Usually I look for facts to help me understand them and potential trouble points. They help direct future conversations. For example, if they have a poor family background, I need to spend much more time sharing what a biblical family is like.
Handout a paper binder (5')
I give each of them a paper binder (with 3-prongs). If I have time, I make a label with their names on it and the course name. I often print the handout in a different color.
I first go over the overview and introduce the six sessions. I mention that I am willing to help provide resources for any area of need and that I am willing to individually meet with them.
#1 The Design of Marriage
#2 Principles of Godly Communication
#3 Wise Decision-making
#4 Finances & Marriage
#5 Understanding our Differences
#6 Preparations for Intimacy
Marriage is wonderful! I want them to know it and aim for having a great marriage. I show them how a great marriage is tied to having and living by a Biblical perspective of marriage. As we start off, we need to walk by faith. Through this introduction I show them the importance of premarital counseling that helps the couple get a Biblical perspective.
Because of dinner and having them join our family devotions (this time only), I rarely finish the second page on 'The Design of Marriage.' It is partly deliberate. We were busy getting to know each other. I also want to emphasize this section a bit more in the next session.
Quickly read the quotes and make appropriate comments.
I usually have the to-be husband pray first, then his fiance, my wife and then I close. I only ask them to pray for their marriage. This too is training. Usually I ask them to pray for certain matters brought out from our conversation together. For example, "Ask God to give you a beautiful marriage."
- Assign "The Family: God's Weapon for Victory" by Robert Andrews over course of counseling sessions. Can get it cheap on Amazon.com used.
Challenge them to meet together in God's Word and prayer during the week. I will check on them next time. I want them to get in a habit of this.
Next => #2 Principles of Godly Communication.