Spring has traditionally been the season for weddings. I often tell people that some of the happy parts about being a pastor are weddings and babies. And, some of the sad parts about being a pastor are deaths and divorce.
I have two requirements for doing a wedding – come to church and come to counseling. I encourage each couple to come to church together regularly before their wedding. In many cases, these couples already attend our church. Some actually met their fiancée at our church!
Sometimes I am asked to do a wedding for a couple in the community who do not attend our church. I actually enjoy this opportunity to get to know an engaged couples and I feel honored to lead their wedding ceremony.
When an engaged couple go to church together, they are developing and deepening their relationship with one another and with God. It is a healthy habit to develop early in their relationship and a habit that I hope they will maintain throughout their married life. I also encourage them to make time to pray together for one another and for their future. When a couple prays together, they are revealing their inner thoughts, concerns and dreams.
I also require the engaged couple to commit to spend time with me in premarital counseling. I have used a number of different books and resources over the years to help these couples talk through various topics that will impact their marriage. Topics include communication, finances, expectations, money, intimate relations and more.
We usually meet together 4-5 times before the wedding. Each couple is expected to do a homework assignment on one of the topics listed above and then we discuss their thoughts and ideas together. I always remind them that the more time and effort they invest in this process the more they will benefit from it. Some couples work hard and “do their homework” while other couples only put in the minimum effort required. Some don’t realize the long term benefits that can come from premarital counseling.
We always spend a session planning and discussing the wedding ceremony. I enjoy hearing about what the bride and groom would like to include in their ceremony that makes it unique and special for them. Sometimes I am able to offer a suggestion, too.
I always use the Bible in premarital counseling and in the wedding ceremony itself. I believe that God created the institution of marriage and that the Bible has a lot to say about marriage. In the very first book in the Bible, the author explains that God intended that “a man shall leave his father and mother and embrace his wife and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:25). God’s plan is for the kids to grow up, get married and start a family of their own. It is both sacred and very special.
Weddings can be stressful for everyone involved. There are so many details to attend to and so many decisions that need to be made. But, I always remind these hopeful couples that a wedding is a day of celebration for the lucky couple, their friends and their families. Don’t let the stress and pressure detract for the celebration. You will be glad you did and your family will be too!
Pastor Mark Hopper
Efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM