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Why Receive Christian
By: Wilma Melendez
Love is long suffering, and is kind; love has no envy, love is not
boastful, love does not behave itself inappropriately, seeks not its
own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in
injustice, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes
everything, endures everything (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
These beautiful words hold us to a high standard. That is why it has
been said that before marriage one ought to open our eyes wide, but
afterwards keep them half closed. In order to hold up this standard,
so necessary for a marriage to work, we need to choose wisely. To
decide if you are ready for marriage, you need to choose someone you
can trust, because distrust erodes a relationship, and so does
undeserved trust. You also need to know what your responsibilities to
the marriage partner are so that you can evaluate yourself
realistically. These two things can be done with the help of
Why do you need Christian pre-marital therapy? The quote above is from
the Bible. The greatest book of love is the Bible. The book of Luke is
considered by many to be the most beautiful book ever written. The
book of Luke, as well as the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and John, tells
how Jesus died to save us – the believers and now the church- from our
sins. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
church, giving himself up for it (Ephesians 5:25). God is the expert,
par excellence, on love.
There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist, a social worker,
a professional counselor, or a psychiatrist for pre-marital and
marital therapy. In fact I would encourage you because churches
sometimes give only six sessions of pre-marital couple therapy, or
group pre-marital therapy with non professional married couples as
group leaders and this is barely just enough. Many couples who have
received pre-marital therapy say that it helped them but that they
wish they had received more therapy. There is so much need in the
church for marital, family, addiction, and other kinds of counseling,
that there is not enough pre-marital therapy. I would recommend
supplementing the churchs pre-marital therapy with other pre-marital
However, Christian pre-marital counseling adds a dimension that
secular therapies do not usually have. For example, the Christian
counselor advises couples not to have sex before marriage. In his book
on dating, Boy Meets Girl, Pastor Joshua Harris explains how a manager
of a hotel for honeymooners would run out of activities for the newly
married to do. This was because the now bored couples had pre-marital
sex. Whereas, Joshua and his wife, who did not have sex prior to
marriage, hardly left their room!
In the city where I live there is a saying among the non-believers.
They say that marriage kills sex. But it is not marriage that kills
sex, but pre-marital sex that kills marriage. I knew of one couple
that lived together and had sex everyday before to marriage. After
marriage, the wife confided, they had sex once a month. It is not
worth it to ruin twenty five or more years of marital sex for one year
or even less of pre-marital sex.
If you are contemplating marriage and you are living together, you
must move apart and stop having sex for a time until you get married
under the guidance of the pastor or Christian counselor. Physical
intimacy is like a battery. It becomes charged with non sexual
activities and gives off energy with sex. Do not skip that
pre-marriage charging time.
When thinking about what pre-marital therapy is, people have different
points of view. One woman tells how she was looking forward to marital
therapy thirty years ago. I thought that we would receive counseling
courses about marital responsibility, but the entire time, the
courses, which were called marital counseling, were about
catechism. She was disappointed as were many people in the course.
Decades later, now divorced, she expects that marital counseling
should be about what marriage is, what people expect it to be, and
what it will really be like. Dr. Wayne Mack makes a point that
partners differ in expectations and should not wait until marriage to
discuss these differences.
Dr. Nancy Alvarez, secular psychologist and sexologist says that some
men want marriage with weekends off. That means they spend weekends
drinking with their male friends as if they were single, instead of
being with their wife. Obviously, that does not work out. Couples
should also discuss why they are in love with one another. It has been
observed that some people become happy when they hear why their
betrothed wants to marry them, others become angry.
It is certainly natural for a marital counselor to talk about
spiritual intimacy. In the book, “The Five Love Needs of Men and
Women”, Christian marital experts Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg explain
how there are two kinds of intimacy in marriage, physical and
spiritual. Differences in religion could lead to a lack of
understanding and different values. But not everything is religion.
Counselor Grisel López of El Sendero de la Cruz Christian Church in
Puerto Rico explains that even in the case that the couple is of the
same religion, some couples do not have compatibility of ministries.
For example, if both are church leaders, and one sings in the altar
and the other preaches, they are compatible. But if one is training to
be a foreign missionary and the other is a pastor of a local church,
then one of the two will have to give up his or her dreams for the
success of the other, because they can not make both dreams come true
and live together happily at the same time.
She adds that even church leaders, who know the Bible in general,
still need pre-marital counseling. Some churches do not require
pre-marital counseling for church leaders because the leaders know
Christianity well, yet the divorce rate for Christians is about the
same as for non-Christian marriages.
According to Dr. Wayne A. Mack, some of the things covered in
pre-marital counseling are relations with in-laws, making a budget
together, comparing differences in the way each one expresses love,
good communication (a factor in most marital problems), and conflict
resolution. It is important to plan ahead how you will approach
problem solving, not waiting for the problems to begin and then start
by seeking marital therapy. This is because there will be problems
anyway so reducing their volatility will prevent bad memories that are
hard to forget later.
Dr. Macks workbook, “Preparing for Marriage Gods Way”, can be used
both in addition to marital therapy, (or independently, for those
persons who live in areas where there is little availability of
Christian pre-marital therapy). Two copies of the workbook are used.
Each member of the couple reads and fills out the answers
individually. Then the couple meet and discus their answers together.
Mack suggests they can make note of significant differences and seek
therapy for those issues as well.
Pre-marital counseling can be fun also. You get to take personality
tests with your betrothed, learning more about each other in the
process. Or it could lead to more deeper and interesting conversations
to talk with your loved one. Some people think they already know each
other well. But even people who have been married twenty years face
You should also find out some of your betrotheds faults in the
process. There may be faults that you understand about, this is called
unconditional love. But there could also be faults that you do not
tolerate. Some things are not negotiable like giving little importance
to fidelity. Others might not matter to one husband, for example, that
his future wife likes a relaxed style of housekeeping, as long as she
is a business woman, but it could matter a lot to another man.
Counselor Grisel López teaches that the best way to find your ideal
love is to tell the truth about how you are so you can find someone
who will be happy with you instead of turned off. If you do not reveal
your faults you will not know if it is safe to relax your guard with
your betrothed and find the joy of being loved as you are.
About the author: The Author’s home page is at http://www.webspawner.com/users/howtopray
The books “Boy meets Girl”, “Preparing for Marriage Gods Way” and
“The Five Love Needs of Men and Women” are available at the author’s
Book store link. Get yourself a book at: http://www.bookschristian.com/index.html?&affcode=wm_amiga
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