Premarital Preparation

Family Ministries of the North American Division and Life Innovations, Inc., have developed a partnership.  The Adventist Edition of the Couple’s Workbook to go along with the PREPARE/ENRICH Inventories employed in pre-marital counseling/education, is a part of this partnership.  We encourage every Adventist pastor to become certified to administer the PREPARE/ENRICH Inventories in order to be prepared to do an effective job in the process of premarital counseling/education.  For information on how to become certified and/or where to access a certification event, please e-mail us at family@nad.adventist.org or logon to www.prepare-enrich.com.

Marriage as an institution is weakening, however, as a society, especially communities of faith, we always have hope. A marriage education movement is emerging in North America. Family Ministries has the opportunity to join this movement by ensuring that churches establish premarital counseling standards and practices for engaged couples. Following is the Premarital Guidance Policy that was voted by the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in November, 1999.

Premarital Guidance Policy:

  • For Couples Requesting to be Married - Premarital guidance should be provided to couples requesting to be married by Seventh-day Adventist ministers. Where possible, this pre-marriage preparation of the couples should consist of several counseling sessions conducted by the minister or by another qualified individual.
  • Objectives of Premarital Preparation - This process should be undertaken at a minimum of four to six months before the wedding with the following objectives:
    • To strengthen the couple's commitment to each other based on biblical principles undergirding Christian marriage, among which are agape love, lifelong covenant faithfulness, and mutual submission.
    • To prepare the couple for transition to married life, providing opportunity for them to anticipate predictable changes and to reach agreement on their expectations of each other in marriage.
    • To enhance the couple's relational skills of communication, processing anger, problem solving, resolving conflicts in mutually acceptable ways, and giving and receiving affection.
    • To assist the couple to evaluate their decision to marry by looking realistically at their reasons and readiness for marriage.
  • Use of Most Effective Methods - Approaches found to be most effective in generating higher levels of marital satisfaction should be used. Effective approaches provide objective assessment through use of testing instruments, help the couple to understand themselves and each other through dialog on a wide spectrum of marital issues, and to build relational skills.
  • Education of Youth - Ideally, preparation for marriage begins at home with parental modeling of healthy marital relationships during child rearing. Parental education programs can enhance the effectiveness of this responsibility. Efforts should be put forth to supplement home training by age-appropriate instruction in the church school and Sabbath School programs.

Rutgers University Study: The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America, 2005
Feature Essay: Marriage & Family: What Does the Scandinavian Experience Tell Us? Comparison of family trends & child wellbeing in the US and Sweden. Includes updated indices of marriage, divorce, cohabitation, loss of child centeredness, fragile families, and teen attitudes.

** NOTE: To obtain a copy, contact the National Marriage Project via e-mail or visit them online at http://marriage.rutgers.edu/.