We’re excited for your engagement and for all that God will do as you move toward marriage. Thank you for the privilege of assisting you and your fiancée as you seek out pre-marital counseling at Lighthouse. Below is a brief overview to premarital counseling at our church.
What’s required for Premarital Counseling?
- Six-month timeline: Premarital counseling involves at least six sessions with one of our pastoral staff. Each session will last from 45-90min. These sessions will take place over a minimum of six months, so please consider the six-month requirement as you consider when to apply for premarital counseling and when to schedule your wedding day.
- Membership: To receive premarital counseling at least one person must be a member of Lighthouse Community Church.
- Preparation: Before your first session, you’ll receive a copy of the book “Tying the Knot” by Rob Green. In preparation for your first session, read chapter 1 “Jesus Must Be the Center of Your Life,” and answer the discussion questions. After each premarital session, homework will be assigned. If you are unable to complete the homework please contact your counselor to reschedule your meeting.
- Ceremony: There are many elements involved in a wedding ceremony. Lighthouse asks that at least these seven elements be included: Welcome and Invocation, Declaration of Intent, Question to the Parents, Homily, Exchange of Vows, Exchange of Rings, and Pronouncement.
- Non-Sunday Wedding (if possible): When possible please schedule your ceremony for a Saturday to help with pastoral availability on the wedding day. For the pastors, Sundays are filled with ministry, teaching, meetings, and talking with members, regular attendees and visitors, thus making it difficult to officiate a wedding.
What is involved in Premarital Counseling?
Here is our four-fold strategy behind the premarital counseling:
- STUDY: After each session there will be homework that builds upon the previous week’s work and prepares you for the next topic of discussion. You will study Scripture to set a solid, biblical foundation. You will also read through “Tying the Knot” by Rob Green and any other supplementary material your counselor determines to be helpful.
- LISTEN: Each session has application exercises that apply the key ideas to your specific relationship. You will have lots of conversations—with your future spouse, with the pastor, with your parents, and with other couples in the church. These conversations will both prepare you for the wedding day and help you to grow in godliness.
- APPLY: For truth to be truly known it must be lived out in our lives. Throughout the counseling there will be application exercises to help review, expand, and test the truths you are learning throughout the counseling.
- TALK: In addition to the exercises that are given for you to complete as a couple, we highly encourage you both to regularly discuss what God is helping you see about your own heart so you can practice speaking the truth in love to one another and partnering with the Holy Spirit’s work in one another’s lives.
What’s the point of Premarital Counseling?
There are five purposes for premarital counseling.
- First, we want to help you build a solid, biblical foundation as you start your marriage. We will spend a lot of time in Scripture and thinking through biblical ideas as they apply to marriage. Specifically, we will look at how marriage exists to display the gospel revealed through the love of two spouses who seek to display Christ to one another. This gospel shaped love exists between a couple in marriage to sanctify the couple, encourage their worship of Christ, and to be a living testimony of Christ’s covenantal love for the church.
- Second, we want to help you begin a dialogue about your marriage. There are a host of topics (communication, finances, sex, parenting, etc.) that we think are important to consider before you get married. The good news is that the conversation we are beginning is a life-long process. We’ll solve some problems, but many others will be left for you to work though over the course of your entire marriage.
- Third, we will point out areas of concern in your relationship. We are all sinners. No relationship is perfect. Despite all of your premarital bliss, you are going to have problems, conflict, and struggles in your relationship. We want to help you address these difficulties sooner rather than later. So, the more honest you are about your struggles, the more you will facilitate the pastor’s ability to help you in preparation for marriage.
- Fourth, we want you to know your own heart and the idols that pull you from Christ. Because the goal of marriage is to display the love Christ showed us through the gospel, we need to know how Christ tends to be replaced in the individual hearts of the couple. The most vital way for a husband to lead his wife is to know her heart and help her fight sin so she can more faithfully worship Christ. Likewise, the most vital way for a wife to help her husband is to know his heart and help him fight sin so he can faithfully worship Christ and lead the family toward Christ better.
- Fifth, we want to prepare you for the marriage, and not just the wedding day. We often find that couples get caught up in the frantic details of preparing for the wedding day, and don’t spend much time getting ready for the marriage. Premarital counseling is meant to slow you down and help you think about the relationship. The wedding day marks the beginning of your life together, but the marriage will last for the rest of your life. So, it is good for you to take time to prepare for this life- long journey together.
Sample Overview of the Six Sessions
SESSION 1 – “The Goal of Engagement & Marriage”
Goal: How a marriage of unity, understanding and love is rooted in worship
- Share your love story with your counselor
- Discuss the Premarital PDI
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapter 1 (You will read this before your first meeting)
SESSION 2 – “God’s Blueprint for Marriage”
Goal: How to put on love with Jesus at the center
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapter 2
- Discuss “Meaning of Marriage” Chapters 3-4
SESSION 3 – “Problem Solving & Biblical Roles for Marriage”
Goal: To see how the gospel shapes our responses and our roles
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapters 3-4
- Discuss Scriptures that define marriage roles
SESSION 4 – “Effective Communication and Conflict Resolution”
Goal: To see how the gospel shapes conversation and conflict
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapter 5
- Discuss “War of Words” Chapters 7-8
SESSION 5 – “Family Finances and Life in the Body of Christ”
Goal: To see how the gospel shapes our stewardship of finances and life in the church
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapters 6-7
- Discuss marriage license, order of service, and rehearsal details
SESSION 6 – “Marital Intimacy that demonstrates God’s love”
Goal: The goal of this session is to have a biblical understanding of sex within a marriage
- Discuss “Tying the Knot” Chapter 8
- Teaching on Intimacy in Marriage
- Discussion of what to expect on your wedding day and honeymoon
How do we get started?
Both fiancés will fill out individual premarital personal data inventory (PDI) and then send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The purpose of the PDI is to help us know how we can best serve you and to help raise the issues we see as vital to discuss before marriage. We understand that this form will contain highly sensitive information. Once we receive the form it will be kept confidential and shared only with the pastoral staff involved with your premarital counseling. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
- Who will be my counselor? If there is a particular pastor at Lighthouse that you would like to perform your wedding and premarital counseling, you can feel free to contact that pastor directly. Otherwise, once we receive your premarital PDI, our counseling ministry will find an available pastor to provide counsel and to officiate your wedding.
- What if we’ve already booked the venue and do not have six months available for counseling? If you’ve already booked your venue and your wedding date doesn’t allow you to have a minimum of six sessions over the course of six months, then we can still provide premarital counseling, but you will need to find a non-Lighthouse Pastor to perform the ceremony.
- What if my parents do not approve of this wedding? Your wedding day is an important event in the life of your families. While parental disapproval may not prevent our involvement in your wedding, we want to look carefully at the issues raised by your parents and work toward a peaceful resolution.
- Is there any cost to doing premarital counseling at Lighthouse? No. Because we view the counseling at Lighthouse as a vital part of discipleship, all counseling is provided free of charge. However, we highly encourage giving a thank you gift to your counselor and wedding officiant as a token of appreciation for all their hard work.
- Can we have a Lighthouse pastor do our premarital counseling but ask a different person to officiate the ceremony? Yes. You can also have co-officiants if you would like two pastors to perform your wedding (e.g. a pastor from Lighthouse and a pastor from your previous church).
- Can we hold the wedding at Lighthouse? Yes. For more information on booking Lighthouse Community Church please complete the event request form: https://lighthousesouthbay.org/schedule-your-event/
If you have any questions or if your wedding is less than three months away, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before completing the event request.