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Welcome to a practical pastoral counseling site of Dr. Harold L. White

 Every pastor can be a valued and competent counselor.

Premarriage Counseling

Suggestions for Premarriage Counselors

Examine a couple's degree of commitment to God and to each other.
To realize that problems must be dealt with together rather than fearing rejection
by divorce is to have a mentally healthy marriage.
Decisions need to be made on the basis of commitment, not emotions.

Commitment to each other means being willing to accept the other just as he/she is
even if he/she never changes, recognizing that neither mate is perfect.
Such commitment is not built on physical attraction or even tender affection (Greek, phileo).
That kind of love comes from God Himself (Greek, agapao).

Such love seeks the welfare of the mate, works no heel toward the mate,
and seeks opportunities to do good for the mate.
It expresses the loving interest of God toward unworthy objects, producing
a responsive love him them to God.
That kind of commitment expressed by an individual to his or her mate in a marriage
is an extremely powerful force.

Help couples contemplating marriage to learn good techniques for communication.

To listen to each other during conflicts, to acknowledge a degree of truth
in complaints against them, and to state one's own case in an adult, tactful manner
can be learned for marriage.

Give couples a good foundation in the Bible.

Spiritual maturity produces stable marriages and the Bible gives a couple
a common basis for decision-making.
It can serve as a "higher court" when disagreements do arise.
Good materials are available for Bible studies on topics such as "Before You Mary."

Provide information on sexual matters.

Many couples need to be educated regarding male and female sexual physiology,
birth control methods, and good sex techniques in marriage.

Few realize that satisfying sexual contact starts hours before intercourse itself
with a good attitude.
Men may need to be reminded of the importance of such simple things
as being clean and clean-shaven, women may need to know about artificial lubricants.

It may be helpful to warm a couple of some of the common sexual problems in marriage,
such as premature ejaculation, impotence, or orgiastic dysfunction.

Excellent resources can be found from a Christian perspective.

Preventive marriage counseling starts with considering whom to marry.

The counselor trained in transactional analysis would advise an individual to marry a mature,
logical, loving "adult."

A person in the "adult" mode a large part of the time would not be overly biased, critical,
or just mental like a person in the "parent" mode.
Likewise, such a person would not live life by fickle feelings like a person in the "child" mode.

A reality therapist would counsel an individual to marry someone with common life goals.
According to reality therapy, people tend to marry for three reasons.

Be cautious when there is a romantic aura that exists when two people meet.
This is the most unstable and changeable basis for marriage.

A second reason to marry is to attach oneself to someone considered a quality person.
Quality can be related to physical appearance, intellectual ability, or social standing.

The last and best reason for marriage can be termed depth, which leads
to a sharing of common life goals.

Whom Should a Christian Marry?

Christians should consider several major principles in deciding whom to marry.

Marry a growing Christian.
The New Testament warns against being "unequally yoked together"
with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The more mature of Christian one marries the less marital conflicts
can be expected later in the marriage.

Marry someone who treats others with respect.

Observing how person treats the parent of the opposite sex, for example gives
clues of future behavior as a mate.

Marry someone who is not overly critical.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye
and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye,
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see
clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye
." (Matthew 7:3-5).

A person who is overly critical in general is certain to be critical of a mate as well.

Marry someone who has conquered sensual and materialistic drives.

1 Peter 2:11 says, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul
."

Lust wars against the mind, emotions, and will, making us weak psychologically
and not as stable as we would be otherwise.

Another drive that needs to be conquered is a focus on material things.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24: "
No one can serve two masters,
either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted
to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and Money
."

The Christians should marry someone who no longer has sensual
or material objectives as a central focus, but rather a focus on Christ.

Marry someone who agrees with you on biblical husband/wife roles within the marriage.

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