Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Invest in your future! Pastor says pre-marital counselling should be mandatory for couples

Published:Saturday | November 7, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5 vs 22 - 24.

The happiest day of a person's life can actually turn out to be the first step to their nightmare. A number of couples walk down the aisle without properly arming themselves with the necessary tools for their marriage to survive.

When two persons' lives merge and become one, it is inevitable that conflicts will arise - no amount of loving is going to bypass that route.

Being properly prepared is the best way to give that marriage a fighting chance and keep the relationship from heading to 'splitsville' with the first sign of trouble on the horizon.

Bishop Antonio Mitchell, pastor of the Papine New Testament Church of God, shared some insights on the best recipe for giving the marriage a fighting chance. His advice to future couples is to make the investment in premarital counselling - which is educational sessions and sometimes role playing, presenting possible conflicts that might occur in a marriage.

"It is very important ... it is a preparation and enrichment process to enhance a lifelong experience between a man and woman in the holy estate of marriage," he said.

The reverend said couples should not bypass this route as it is geared towards preparing and fortifying partners for future pitfalls, "hence allowing marriages to be durable and fulfilling".

Many prospective couples make the decision to bypass premarital counselling, citing the excuse that others have gone without it and are still living happily ever after.

According to Mitchell, those couples might not have enjoyed formal counselling sessions, but must have got advice indirectly along the way.

"But why settle for good when there is great. Mistakes made would have be prevented if there was thorough preparation," he shared.

Mitchell shared that couples who received premarital counselling testifies later that it afforded them the opportunity to enter into the marriage with an adequate understanding of what it would be like.

On the other hand, those who didn't, had situations catching them off guard and being totally thrown off and unprepared to deal with them.

"More respondents who received premarital counselling describe their marriage as fulfilled and continuing than did the respondent who didn't receive counselling," he said.

For the pastor, marriage officers should make the process mandatory, citing a verse from the Bible in Hosea 4:6 - "My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge, because thou have rejected knowledge... Knowledge is power."

Mitchell also shared that divorcees getting married again, or the person marrying the divorcee should approach this union with "understanding and integrity".

"Divorcees about to be married have a greater need for preparation than when they got married for the first time. They should discuss money, in-laws, ex spouses, and so on," are sage words coming from the pastor.

Getting married to a divorcee already requires certain questions to be answered: "What have you learned about yourself since your divorce? Realistic expectations - of himself or herself, as well as his or partner, are a few. And there is even more need for instructional dialogue before 'sealing' the relationship," Mitchell points out.

He said for those who will soon tie the knot or are already in the union, "honour your marriage vows, know each other's expectations, practice effective affirmation - allowing the other to know they are appreciated, spend quality time together and plan, pray and play".

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com