Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage: A Pastors Resource

How the Church supports marriages – every step of the way
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Preparing Couples for Marriage and for Life

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The Pastor's Wedding Manual. She is much shorter than her husband. For another couple the issue was that even though they both worked full time, the husband would come home and watch sport on TV whilst leaving his wife to do all the house o k. His assu ptio as that he d look afte the maintenance of the outdoors and garden while his wife did the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning etc. At this time, the couple did not communicate well which caused the conflict to be unresolved, and for a while led to a passive aggressive response to each other.

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Both partners in this marriage had the view, largely shaped by their faith, that marriage is a covenant that lasts forever, so eventually they did sit down, compromise, and negotiate tasks and duties in a way which was fair for both individuals. They were also able to set boundaries which would allow each person to engage in the things they enjoy doing without it being detrimental to them as a married couple. In this case, the husband would watch sport with his friends and his wife ould use that sa e ti e to ha e a gi ls ight out. If the conflict is managed well, this phase can be of great benefit to the marriage as both people become more aware of ea h othe s a ts, fo effe ti e ethods of o u i atio , a d lea how to compromise.

The challenge is to communicate well and manage the conflict in order to enable satisfying resolutions for both people. Rather than their focus remaining the relational bubble created by their marriage, they individually begin to focus on themselves with relation to the outside world. As they do this it assists them to gain a new sense of identity, self-esteem and purpose as individuals who are in a marriage relationship. It is at this stage where the couple develops a balance of separateness and togetherness, and which allows them to maintain their commitment to each other and their children, whilst developing a sense of autonomy.

During the research conducted this stage was made obvious by a very definite shift towards each person taking up a number of pastimes that did not include the other spouse. The husband took up playing squash, woodworking and playing guitar. The wife began going on bush walks with friends and reading.

At this stage of the marriage the couple had children and so often the children would join with one of their parents in their activities. It is important at this point that each person in the relationship recognises the diverse preferences of their spouse, and rather than be threatened by these differences, is happy for them to pursue those things. As a result both spouses tend to identify once again as a couple, however this time in light of their renewed identity as individuals formed in the previous stage.

They become more vulnerable to each other and begin to reach deep levels of intimacy previously not discovered. It is during this stage that they work out the delicate interplay of their identity as individuals and their identity as a couple.

Preparing to Live in Love

Generally, problems between husband and wife are solved much quicker and with much less anxiety, and negotiating resolutions are much easier. However this stage can also pose challenges because set routines may be disrupted. As an example, a couple where the husband was the main income earner and the wife predominately remained ho e, lashed he o f o ted ith ea h othe s routines, practices and habits after the husband retired from work. Therefore, this too can be a period of re- adjustment for the couple.

The identity they find as a couple becomes greater than both their individual identities combined. They are at a stage where all illusions of each other are gone and in this transparent reality they discover their perfection. They have developed a deep and mutual bond and their relationship is based not on a foundation of need, but rather of growth, even though they are aware that many of their needs are being met by each other.

Their commitment is to live and experience the bond of love and intimacy that first brought them together, albeit now at a much more intimate le el gi e that the ose ti ted le s a e go e. Goals, Faith, Family need help moving into their new home, with etc finances, or with basic skills such as cooking Individuals and cleaning etc. Finances with guidance from Depending on their level of financial difficulty friends, and is able to Moving into new either directly assist them by arranging a work out the dynamic of Home financial planner free of charge or referring their new identity as an them to CAP6 individual within the marriage relationship.

Follow up the couple 6 months — 1 year after their wedding to see how they have adjusted. Individual Meet with each individual separately and take time to listen to their struggles adjusting to the marriage.

Listen beyond their words for challenges to identity or present insecurities. Take time to discuss these things. Discern if the individual has a healthy balance of time with each other, and time with friends. Suggest that they find an older married person who they feel comfortable with as a marriage mentor. Identify and Ability to express their individual desires to allow discussion about what is important to Boundaries which their individuality surface, and then reach a each individual.

Create an opportunity for each preserve the satisfactory resolution person to express their ongoing love and integrity of the that benefits the commitment to the other. Assist them to individual and the individual and the couple. Ongoing support, acceptance and involvement Individual with church community..

To be able to express If necessary refer the couple to a relationship themselves as an counsellor. New York: Little, Nashville: Abingdon Press, Assistance with parenting courses at church. Offer tutoring children ie To help the couple programs as part of the church services. Suggest the togetherness. Assist the couple to accept that diversity is just a difference between them and not necessarily something that requires change.

Encourage the couple to commit to praying together as a means of deepening their commitment to each other.

"Bible Keys to a Happy Marriage" - Pastor Doug Batchelor

Suggest the couple commits to a regular weekly time they can spend together without the distraction of children. Suggest marriage counselling if required. Individual Provide avenues within the church family for the individuals to re-gain a sense of own identity — this may be through the establishment of different activity based groups — for example, art, fishing, hiking, cycling, sports teams, crafts, photography etc.

Encourage each person to continue developing their individual spirituality through the means of dis ipli es su h as p aye , editatio o God s Wo d a d the use of alo e ti e si ply to e. Balswick and Judith K.

Demonstrate Rediscover their active love by rejoicing with them in their greater level of identity as a couple moments of joy, and weeping with them vulnerability and intimacy with each other occurs. Pray with Re-establish routines them. Deal ith g ief of Provide resources such as marriage children moving out counsellors or marriage enrichment of home.

Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage: A Pastor's Resource

Provide emotional support for parents ho ay e suffe i g f o e pty est syndrome. Perhaps help them to focus on the opportunities that are open to them.

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Suggest they invest their time mentoring others or engaging as a couple in some form of ministry. Individuals Sit with them as they share past hurts and pains that are now surfacing. Pray with them and gently help them process, head towards acceptance, forgiveness and moving on from their pain. Look for excessive involvement in work, hobbies, sports, and other relationships that continually take big chunks of time away from their partner, and possibly prevent the growth of intimacy. Gently approach the person with these observations, taking them on a journey to discover if there are any unhealthy underlying motivations for doing so.

Suggest counselling if necessary. Be of love and intimacy the couple can actualise with each other appointments, shops, the love and intimacy open to learning from them.

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