Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to lead a Christian pre-marriage counseling session. As pastors, we knew it was important for us to have questions prepared in advance.
As a pastor, we had gone through premarital counseling when we were preparing for our marriage. However at this point, we have not yet taken someone through the program. So we looked into research, read books and finally compiled these 78 questions that pastors need to effectively conduct a premarital counseling session.
Are you in a hurry check out these three books that we highly recommend:
- Preparing for Marriage Couples Guide
- Preparing for Marriage Leaders Guide
- The Meaning of Marriage-Timothy Keller
- Devotions for Engaged Couples- Gary Thomas
First of all, we found the process both refreshing and reflective when going through passages from the Bible, reading pre-marriage books and blogs online. We also took this opportunity to equip ourselves for ministry but it was primarily for strengthening our own marriage. Pastors who are premarital counselors can have one goal and that is providing advice as well as modeling in their own marriage.
After several days and many hours of research, we compiled this list as a resource for pastors who are running a premarital counseling program in their church. Should you charge for premarital counseling?
Premarital Counseling Questions For Pastors
Christian marriage counseling questions should offer hope and point participants to Christ by revealing what God’s design for marriage is.
As pastors we should pose constructive questions that provoke hope and encourage reflection on the biblical model of marital love. If we arm people with the right information, they have a better chance of saving their marriages.
These are questions that will help you get to know the couple and understand more about their backstory.
- Why do you want to get married, what’s the purpose?
- How did you meet?
- What attracted you to your partner?
- Had you been in a relationship before?
- Why did you leave the other relationship?
- What lessons did you learn that is helping you now?
- How did you know that this is it for you?
- What makes your partner special?
- Would you wish you met earlier? If yes why and if no why not?
- Do you understand each other’s personalities?
- What boundaries have you put in place?
These are the questions that help you understand where the individual is coming from. In our previous post on premarital counseling questions, we talked about background and family history as they both impact a person’s worldview.
As you take the couple through this question, let them know that their background will help their spouse understand better how to handle them in marriage. Some people have been raised in broken or abusive families and might be getting into marriage with wounds and scars
- What’s your best memory about family?
- Describe your family using [ L- who do you say is the leader, Q- who do you say was the quieter- LL-Who was the loudest-]
- What have you learned from observing your own parents?
- Do you consider your family a perfect family?
- Did you grow up alone or with siblings?
- Are there things you hate about your part home experience?
- What triggers those bad memories now?
- How can your spouse help you navigate those dark moments?
- Is there past experience that you might still be struggling with?
- How is your relationship with your family members?
It is important for couples to be aligned in their faith and understand where one another stands before making lifelong commitments. Although it’s personal, as the pastor you must make clear that marriage will require communication with those who are not like-minded. Challenges of marrying someone of a different faith is series check this.
- Do you both go to church?
- What do you do in church?
- How are you going to help each other grow in your faith?
- How serious is your relationship with Jesus?
- Did you grow up going to church or at what point did you start?
- Is faith a deal-breaker for you?
- How does putting God first look like for you?
Previous post Should Pastors Charge For Premarital Counseling
And now it’s time to address some questions about the future that may not have crossed your minds. Getting married is one thing, but staying married is another story—because living in wedlock requires intentionality.
As Christians, we should be aware of the choices we make here both today and in the future. What I do now will have an effect on me for eternity, so please choose wisely.
- What makes a godly marriage?
- What do you think is God’s design for marriage?
- What comes first you or your partner?
- Who meets your needs?
- What does the Bible say about husbands?
- What does the bible say about wives?
- For how long should you be married according to the Bible?
- Do you think God understands your situation?
- Is submission only for women?
- Is there something that is unforgivable in marriage?
- At what point should you leave your partner if things are not working?
- Does God really heal marriages?
- IS getting married a must for Christians?
- How will I know if my partner will be faithful?
- What makes love so powerful?
- Why is it important to have the same faith?
- If God tells you to wait will you wait?
- How long would you wait for your partner to be ready if right now they figure that they are not?
Sex and intimacy questions
Christian couples who have undergone premarital counseling report that churchgoers are hesitant to ask direct and open questions about sex.
The premarital counseling session should be the most honest conversation that a couple can have before they are married. If difficulties preventing this conversation happen, it might lead to marriage partners with unrealistic expectations which would in turn affect their future happiness together.
- How active are you sexually?
- Is sex a big thing for you?
- As an engaged couple, how are you preventing sexual activities?
- Is there “wrong sex”?
- What sexual expectations do you have?
- Should you wait until you get married to have sex?
- As a Christian what do you think God expects you to do in this area before you say I do?
- Is this topic uncomfortable for you?
- What soul ties do you have?
- Do you think flirting is a sin?
- Do you consider yourself faithful?
- Do you masturbate?
- Have you or are you watching pornography material?
Financial issues can have a major impact on the success of an individual’s marriage, but it is important that pastors address these issues in couples counseling. Counseling on finances is one of the most important premarital counseling sessions, and it should never be taken lightly.
- Who do you think should provide for the family?
- Is money a big deal for you?
- Is financial stability a deal-breaker?
- What lifestyle are we going to have?
- How much do you earn and how are you spending it?
- Is there someone you are supporting and how will that change once we start our marriage life/
- Are you in debt?
- What’s your money personality?
- How can we engage our money together?
- Are we going to have one account or separate accounts?
- What does the Bible say about money?
- Is the way I handle my money bother you?
- What financial state do you want before you say I do?
Marriage is an agreement between two people, some of which aren’t expressly spoken. As Christians, we must learn to communicate what our expectations are so that our partner knows them. This is a problem that I’m sure every Christian couple has struggled with at some point in their marriage
- What duties do you expect me to do?
- Is there a way you want your things in the house?
- Are there things you want me to do that am not doing?
- What marriage expectations are you coming with?
- Has your parents model something that you expect me to be?
- As your spouse what is the one thing you might want me to do that will make you happy in the marriage?
The Goal of the premarital counseling pastor
Christian pre-marital counseling should not be taken lightly and the pastor assigned to the program must understand his role. People have warned us that most Christian marriage counseling is not professional.
Your role as a pastor or as a pre-marriage counselor is to help the couple not only process the questions but also point them to Christ through God’s word.
Your role as a counselor is to act as a guide, a friend, a leader, a father/mother, and an advisor.
How to be effective as a premarital counseling pastor
- Prepare way in advance
- Don’t just advice but be a model
- Ask open-ended questions [ questions that spark a discussion rather than a yes or no]
- Do the counseling with your spouse as it gives you credibility
- Learn from other pre-marriage counselors in your neighborhood.
- Take time to understand before you respond.
- Don’t try to force a verse where it doesn’t apply.
- Read wide on the area of premarital, you can find premarital counseling books online.
How to prepare for the session
- Take time to pray for the couple
- Take time to interact with the couple
- Find relevant scripture to use.
- Ask the couple to send in question they might have way in advance
What does the Bible say about premarital counseling
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
God gave Adam an opportunity to find someone suitable for Him, but He couldn’t find it until God saw his loneliness and gave him a partner.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.
31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
……..for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
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