50% divorce rate, living together going rampant, and people waiting longer to get married, what is a church to do?
Most of the time, we as a church try to make things very, very difficult. We imagine up some elaborate program involving mentors, retreats, pre-marital counseling, etc, and we search for 20-30 people to volunteer their time to get it done. By the end of it, you need a full-time pastor just to do marriage stuff. With the economy the way it is, who can afford that?
We start with something very simple: Scripture. We emphasize the great passages concerning marriage: Genesis 2:18-24, Ephesians 5:22-33, I John 4, etc. We set it up to give the couple a glimpse of a Christ-centered marriage and let the conversations flow from there. Can we proceed to personality tests, questionaires, and retreats? Sure! I would even argue that each couple is required to watch the movie Fireproof before getting married. But let's start with a simple, Christ-focused study on God's design for marriage. It actually would only take 2-3 times meeting to go through all of Scripture. Of course, this is assuming that we actually still depend on God's Word to do the work! :-). Next post: What ways do we fail to uplift marriage in our churches?