Marriage counseling is usually the responsibility of the pastor or leader of a local church or congregation. Some pastors will not agree to join couples except both parties are engaged in a series of Marriage counseling sessions. Pastors know the current rate of divorce, even in some so-called Christian marriages, and they are very optimistic that the couples they join in marriage have the best chance to stay married till death do them part. They see marriage counseling as an important part of getting a young couple started on the right path.
Apostle Paul’s pastoral instructions to Titus compel him to equip others who will later teach the younger generation (Titus 2:1–6). Marriage counseling is the type that has an in-depth teaching of biblical doctrines, standards, truth and absolutes in one’s relationship with others. Marriage counseling is very important especially in a premarital situation. It is impossible to use what we do not know, and adulthood is not a yardstick to measure maturity. The couple who intend to create a union or build a ‘home’ must have instructions on God’s viewpoint as it relates to marriage.
Marriage counseling based on biblical principles spells out the roles of each couple (husband and wife), how they relate with each other and with their soon-to-come children (Ephesians 5:22—6:4; Colossians 3:18–21). Marriage counseling is a tremendous way to explain some misconceptions about marriage, set goals as well as distinguishing between God’s standards and worldly teachings. It is essential that the pastor or elder conducting the marriage counseling MUST be:
• Sound in Christian doctrines
• Able to manage in his own marriage
• Cares about his family relationships (1 Timothy 3:4–5; Titus 1:7), and
• Living in obedience to God’s Word
Any Pastor or an elder that has the qualities mentioned above is qualified to conduct a Marriage Counseling Session; he will be able to equip prospective couples and as well being able to impact God’s viewpoint clearly to the couples without any fear of favor or bias mind.
Marriage counseling is also a superb avenue to raise issues the couple may not have thought about, such as, how they intend managing their finances, how they might share household chores, how they can plan and manage their holidays, how to chastise the children, and so on. The counselor can also guide the couple on how to identify what they saw in their parents’ marriages and what they should imitate or incorporate into their own marriage.
Having solid biblical marriage counseling may be the difference between a couple who knows how to handle their problems successfully and the other who only struggles with human viewpoints and worldly principles to guide them. A prospective bride and groom should commit to marriage counseling in an effort to make their marriage a replica of God’s Heart.