At Existence Church, we believe it is important to invest in future marriages. It is one thing to plan for your wedding day and another thing to plan for your marriage. We have a vision to walk with engaged couples empowering them with helpful tools to have a God honoring, gospel centered, Kingdom driven marriage. It is with this in mind that we offer a six-session premarital counseling program in which engaged couples journey together with a member of our premarital team.
HOW TO SIGN UP AND COST
Our premarital counseling sessions are free to anyone who calls Existence home. We do recommend that you honor the person leading your through the session by giving them some sort of gift, etc at the end. For further information or to reserve your spot, contact Shawn Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org
To complement the six sessions, we highly recommend that you purchase a couple of books. It is important to continue learning together not just through your premarital counseling sessions, but throughout your lifetime. These books are meant to be read as supplement and will be referred to throughout the sessions.
+ Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Dr. Parrott
+ Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
+ Sheet Music by Dr. Lehman
+ Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
+ Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll
Healthy communication is an essential part of any successful God honoring marriage. Healthy communication eliminates unrealistic and unhealthy expectations while adjusting your focus to be on the same page as your partner.
FOUR KEYS TO HEALTHY COMMUNICATION
#1: Learn to listen well. Listeners take 100 percent responsibility for any conversation they enter into with another person. Listening is proving to the other person that you heard them.
#2: Learn to ask for forgiveness, extend forgiveness and receive forgiveness. Forgiven people forgive people. The opposite of forgiveness is bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness is choosing not to hold another person’s sin against them.
#3: Privately and publicly affirm one another. Do not let anyone speak more highly of your spouse than you do. Making your goal to consistently encourage one another through affirmation. What gets rewarded, gets repeated.
#4: Ask God for guidance and help. God created marriage and desires for you to glorify Him with your marriage. Go to God early, often and with each other.
You have a unique story as a couple and God has a unique plan for you as a couple. Don’t make the mistake of competing or comparing, let God complete you and cast vision for your marriage.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK
+ Write a list of 15 things you appreciate about your future spouse and be prepared to share that with them at the beginning of next session.
+ Discuss and come up with a way you ask and receive forgiveness as a couple.
You may want to consider the book Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
A healthy marriage has healthy roles and values. In this session you will envision a normal week in your home together. You will discuss “pink jobs” and “blue jobs.” These roles may change in the future, but it is important to have a plan in place and eliminate any unhealthy expectations. Then you will turn your attention toward values. Values drive the vision of your marriage and protect your relationships.
A value is something you mutually agree on and currently do as a couple. If one person does it and the other person does not, then it is not a value as a couple, it is just a value individually. It is important to get on the same page with your values.
ENVISIONING YOUR HOME
What excites you about being in your home together?
Do you foresee any future struggles over your roles?
If you have kids will you both work or will someone stay at home?
Take time to answer who does what in the context of your home.
+ Decorates + Oversees Finances + Cooks
+ Grocery Shops + Cleans the House + Takes care of the Cars
+ Takes out the Trash + Does the Dishes + Takes care of the Pet
What do you think are the current values you have as a couple?
Which value are you most proud of having as a couple?
+ Go on a date as a couple and come up with 10-15 values for your family. Ask and answer the question, how are we going to uniquely display these in our home. Think creatively.
In this session, we are going to unpack and understand further your unique family differences. Understanding differences in your families will empower you to handle conflict and better understand each other.
YOUR FAMILY: A CLOSER LOOK
Describe your parents in three words
Describe your future spouse’s parents in three words
How did your parents handle the following issues…
+ Finances + Conflict + Parenting
+ Vacations + Spiritual Life + Romance
In what ways would you like to be like your parents? How would you like to be different?
+ Contact your parents and ask them what piece of marriage advice they
would give you. Afterwards, take a moment to thank them for their investment in your life.
+ Go on a date and prepare for the upcoming week, by sitting down together and making a budget. Pretend you are two months into your marriage. It is normal to feel awkward, but work through it. Talk about any debt you are bringing into the marriage and any savings you are bringing into the marriage. Bring your budget to the next session.
In this session, we are going to take a closer look at a healthy biblical perspective of finances and come up with a practical plan for your finances. God has entrusted you with resources and it is our role to steward them well.
BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE OF MONEY
#1: Money is a Gift from God
“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.” Ecc. 5:19
(Further passages to consider: Deuteronomy 8:17-18, Exodus 19:5, Job 41:11, Psalm 50:10, Haggai 2:8)
#2: We are Stewards, not Owners
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” Proverbs 3:9 (Further passages to consider: Malachi 3: 8-10, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Proverbs 22:7)
*Remember the phrase, “mind your own business.” God has entrusted you with resources, a business, for a limited time. Don’t compete against others or compare yourself in unhealthy ways. Mind your own business.
THREE WAYS WE USE MONEY
When it comes to money, there are really only three things you do with money. They are as follows: #1 Save Money #2: Spend Money #3 Invest/Give Money
GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE
+ What do you believe about debt?
+ What do you believe about tithing?
+ What potential struggles do you think you will face when it comes to money?
+ What excites you about your financial future?
+ What financial goals do you have for the future?
HAVING A PLAN
We will go over your budget and then share with you some practical ways to talk about finances together as a couple. Couples that fail to plan, plan to fail when it comes to money. *** Make sure to read Total Money Makeover.
Finish reading “Sheet Music” and discuss in preparation for week 5. What did you learn? Write down any questions you might have?
In this session we will talk about a God-honoring understanding of intimacy. Sex is God’s idea and intimacy is a gift to be cherished and cultivated.
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE OF INTIMACY
+ Intimacy is God’s Idea. (Genesis 1-2)
+ Sex is about unity, delight and trust.
*For further resources check out Mars Hill Church. They did a wonderful series on the Song of Solomon.
+ Men are like light switches, women are like ovens.
+ Timing is everything.
+ Be intentional.
GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE
+ What did you learn from Sheet Music?
+ How has your perspective on intimacy been shaped by God?
+ What do you think will be an important key to a lifelong relationship of loving each other well?
Go on a long walk together and talk about your spiritual lives as a couple? How would you describe your own life and then how would you describe your spiritual climate as a couple?
In this last session, we are going to talk about what it means to be a gospel centered Kingdom driven couple. It is one thing to have Jesus as a part of your marriage and another to have Jesus at the center of your marriage.
THE GOSPEL. YOUR MARRIAGE. THE GLORY OF GOD
**Read Ephesians 5 together
Marriage from a biblical perspective is not just a contract that you enter into, it is much deeper. Marriage in God’s eyes is a covenant between one man and one woman for one life.
It is with this reality that we come to understand the purpose of marriage is more than just our happiness, although that is part of it, it is also the arena in which you will have the privilege and responsibility of expressing God’s glory.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Corinthians 10:31
Marriage is about our happiness, our holiness, and our wholeness–but it is supremely about the glory of God. When marriage is entered into rightly, when marriage vows are kept with purity, when all the goods of marriage are enjoyed in their proper place–God is glorified. (Albert Mohler)
+ How does understanding the purpose of your marriage impact the way you function as a married couple?
+ How does understanding the gospel greater as a couple impact how you treat each other in marriage?
GROWING AS A COUPLE
When it comes to growing as a couple spiritually it can be extremely difficult. We wrestle not just against our tendencies and pride, but also spiritual opposition. Here are some practical thoughts to help you along the way.
+ Start Small
+ Start Slow
+ Start Soon
(Further Resources: The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, Gospel Centered Marriage by Tim Chester, Momentary Marriage by John Piper)