I’ve always been and will always be a church girl, so ofcourse when it was time for me to get married, I attended my church pre marital counseling.
At that time, it was really good for me to listen to married men and women talk about marriage in person(books have been my largest source of knowledge about marriage).
However, after having been married for 6 years and teaching others about marriage, I can say this: you need more than church pre marital counseling (especially the one done in groups) to adequately prepare for marriage.
Here are 3 reasons why:
1) Your relationship with your church marriage counselor typically ends after you say “I do”.
This is usually because they have a lot of people to cater to (if you attend a large church like I did), other church duties to fulfill, and therefore they sincerely cannot have the time to build the kind of relationship with you, where you will feel free to hit them up for a chat after your marriage.
Marriage is a lifetime adventure, you cannot expect that what you learnt in a few sessions, amongst a group of people, will help you navigate a lifetime of marriage. No.
You need a counselor that can build a relationship with you, so you both can be free to talk anytime after marriage, about the issues that confront you (this could range from adjusting to sex especially if you’re a virgin to disagreements with In-laws).
UPDATE ADDED 10/31/2022 : Like most people, you are probably also going through your church premarital counseling because it is a prerequisite to be wedded there. To truly learn, you have to be more than willing, you have to be intentional. And nothing encourages that intentionality like paying for the knowledge you seek!
2) Your church marriage counselor may have a relationship with members of your family or spouse’s family, and that may hinder you from fully expressing your concerns.
I know this, because it happened to me. He asked me if there was anything I was concerned about, and I said no, simply because, my husband had told me that he (our counselor) had a familial relationship with my In laws.
And honestly, I wish I could have opened up about my concerns, because I really needed advice that may have prevented or equipped me to face some of the situations I’ve encountered in my In law relationships.
When you choose to get private premarital counsel, you can choose someone with no family bias so you can have a safe space to air all your concerns and be sure that you are both being equally held accountable to the truth.
3) Church marriage counseling do not have the time to go in depth.
They simply don’t have that time because marriage counseling is not all they do. In every church, there are probably more people in need of healing, deliverance, breakthrough, children etc. than there are trying to get married.
All these needs have to be met, so the church cannot give 100% to marriage counseling. And that is simply normal.
My church counseling taught me the basics, but they could not help me set up systems that I have now put in place (and taught my clients) to make marriage function smoothly and beautifully.
For example, we were asked to write out a vision for our marriage, which we did, but there was no time to guide us through why we needed a vision for our marriage, how to write this vision, what it should entail, how to set goals to achieve the vision etc.
These are the things I now guide my clients through, because I have learnt by experience that without a clear vision that you both can continue to work towards, the responsibilities of married life can pull you apart.
The lack of a common vision for marriage and family, is why most couples become live in partners rather than lifetime lovers. They just split bills, split duties and there is really nothing, besides the kids, keeping them together. It’s only a matter of time before they realize they have grown apart.
In a nutshell
I truly believe that you will save yourself some unnecessary heartache and be more prepared for a lifetime of love, if you choose to get private premarital counsel (in addition to the one provided by your church).
I have been married for 6 years now and while my husband and I are still very much in love with each other, we have had issues that only counsel from others helped us resolve.
I know the heartache that comes from being in love but having issues that are hard to discuss, talk less resolve on your own.
And I have seen the difference that opening up to counsel makes
- The solution becomes clear.
- My peace and joy gets restored.
- I am more hopeful and excited about our future together.
Best of all, our love gets even stronger as we keep addressing every issue that confronts us.
Without access to counsel, it’s unlikely you’d be able to stay as passionately in love with your partner as you do now (see all those who were so in love but are now divorced).
To learn more, save your seat in our free coaching session!
In this session, you will learn:
An important principle about marriage that improves your relationship immediately.
3 things you both can begin to do, in order to be a better partner.
You will also have the opportunity to receive godly unbiased counsel about any issue you are currently concerned about.
Are you ready to intentionally prepare for a lifetime of love?
Excited to meet you.