As a pastor, I have the great honor of being part of some of the most significant events in the lives of people. One of these is when a couple is joined together in Christian marriage.
Premarital appointments with a couple are crucial as they create the opportunity to:
- Get to know each other
- Plan a service of Christian marriage that makes sense for them
- Offer coaching or help around areas of concern for the couple
- Share guidance from marrying and counseling couples
I am in my ninth year as an appointed pastor in the United Methodist Church and during that time I have officiated at thirty-seven services of Christian marriage and currently have four scheduled in the next twelve months. I have developed this template for four premarital appointments. While I will continue to develop it, I wanted to share my current version with you.
Feel free to use and adapt in whatever ways are helpful for you. I hope that this is helpful for you in ministry.
What have you found to be effective and helpful in meeting with a couple before they are married?
I recently read an update from The Methodist Church of Great Britain in which it reports: “The Methodist Church will look at cohabitation, at the urging of the Youth Assembly. The annual report from the Youth Assembly, which was received by the Conference, requires the Methodist Council to work with young Methodists to produce advice on cohabitation “in a 21st century context”.”
So the youth of Great Britain are looking for guidance on cohabitation in a 21st century context…
Last week I listened to, Kids First, Marriage Later — If Ever, a story on NPR summed up as: “Federal data from 2007 says 40 percent of births in America are to unwed mothers, a trend experts say is especially common in middle-class America. In one St. Louis community, the notion of getting married and having children — in that order — seems quaint.”
I found the story to be fascinating and commend it to you…
Here is my simple guidance for all you couples out there:
- Do not live together before you get married.
- If you are living together before you are married, do not have sex.
- If you are engaged and having sex, I challenge you to abstain until your marriage night as a way of setting aside the time for preparation.
It is pretty simple.
In a couple weeks, I will be officiating at the wedding of a couple who have recently moved to Texas. I met with them in person several months ago for our initial pre marital appointment. They were not able to travel to Kansas to be present again before the week of their wedding and asked if we could meet online for their next appointment. Despite being Pastor of Resurrection, this was my first premarital appointment online.
It was a great experience.
Like other online interactions I have experienced, it was helpful to have met them in person before. I would definitely do it again, as needed. What kinds of pastoral interactions have you had online?