Oops Freudian slip there- I mean counseling.
Are there particular resources you guys like over others?
My Dad uses the Prepare/Enrich assessment (which requires training and, I think, has a new name now). I think that works pretty well as an initial assessment - he generally uses it to find the areas where the actual counseling should focus.
I've not done extensive counseling and generally had pretty solid relationships with people ahead of time. I've used more discussion based processes - usually involving the books Real Sex by Lauren Winner and Sex God by Rob Bell. I've found those are great starting points for looking at Christian marriage, especially for younger couples.
I'm still looking for a study that shows the success rates of people who had
1) No premarital counseling
2) Clergy led premarital counseling
3) Professional Christian premarital counseling
4) Professional Non-Christian premarital counseling
I'd be really interested to know if there is a quantifiable difference in divorce rates...
If there is pre-marital concealing, we will also need resources for marital counseling.
On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
I have been using the Prepare / Enrich material for a couple of years now and have found it the better than anything I've used in my previous 30 years of pastoring. My daughter is a licensed Counselor/Therapist and speaks highly of it also. The websight for it is www.prepare-enrich.com
Maybe the successes of premarital counseling could be best measured by the number of couple who decide not to get married at the end of it.
Overall I believe it does more good than harm, and most couples take it very seriously.
Although I have not done a wedding yet, I took the Prepare-Enrich course. My pastor recommended it. I hope to use it at some point.
I am the Lone Locust of the Apocalypse! Think of me when you look to the night sky!
I use an approach that has evolved over the years. It begins with a Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis and then goes on to address the issues the TJTA brings forward. Couples I've used it with have seemed to found it beneficial.
Loving God . . . Loving others.
I too use Prepare/Enrich. The Air Force makes sure every chaplain goes through the training and can facilitate premarital counseling with it. In my experience, it is one of the most thorough resources out there. Each person takes an inventory and then both their answers are scored and placed in a report. The report displays areas where the couple has relationship strengths, possible strengths, possible growth areas, and growth areas. They cover topics like communication, conflict resolution, family & friends, spiritual beliefs, and more. From the report, I can then guide the couple through a workbook and sessions that are tied to their responses for counseling.
Ideally, with Prepare/Enrich you would meet with the couple for 6-8 weeks. Prepare is more for premarital and enrich focuses on already married. The only differences are some of the questions in the survey. Personally, I usually find that I do premarital for about four sessions. I find the full report more useful for enrich (or couples that are devitalized).
I have also worked out a very simple premarital document with some other military chaplains (1 page) that I will use for those instances when time is of the essence. For example, last summer we had a window of 72 hours where a soldier was back on R&R and his girlfriend, who lived in a different state, would be at the base so they could be married before he deployed again overseas. We also knew that the soldier had been talking with a chaplain down-range and his fiance was working with her local pastor as well. But I usually default to Prepare/Enrich.
I have the couple pay for the survey themselves. They do it online when they take the survey. In the weddings I have done, couples were more amenable to paying and taking the survey than reading a book.
I was certified to use Prepare/Enrich as part of my MA studies at ONU. It is also what my wife and I went through in our premarital counseling this spring. It was very helpful to us as we saw the areas of strength in our relationship and discovered some areas that need particular attention. It will likely be the program that I default to using throughout my ministry, unless something better is made available to me.
It would be interesting to see that one page document though.
Just recalled a conversation with a colleague in Pittsburgh. When a couple asks him to marry them, he gives them three certificates they must get signed and return to him before he'll proceed any further.
1) A certificate of completion from a professional, licensed counsellor
2) A certificate of completion from a Dave Ramsey FinancialPeace course
3) A certificate of completion from an ALPHA course
Until they've done those things, he won't even consider it. As much as I like it, it would never work around here, 2 of the 3 are not available nearby that I am aware of.
Well... I just sent in a check and registration form for a P/E training session next month. I confess that I've been a bit scattershot with premarital enrichment... and this may at least provide a bit more structure for me. As the local "funeral guy," weddings are just not as much my cup of tea.
Did I mention "Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts" by Parrott and Parrott. Problem is not too many couples wait to start their marriage before pre marriage counseling. By the time of the wedding they are already married and there is really no surprises. SO we now go on to the Parrott's second book, "Saving your Second Marriage Before it Starts" but once again not too many couples wait to start their second marriage before the wedding.
Then I started using a book by Family Life. I forget the title. It was good, except for the chapter on roles in marriage, which took a pretty strong complementarian view.
My Dad used to use Foccus for the couples questionnaire/inventory portion and seemed to really like it. I used it with a couple of couples... and it wasn't especially helpful. Seemed like if there weren't any big red flags, it didn't have much to offer... but that failing might have been mine, not the instrument's.
Now I'm going to find and sign up for a Prepare/Enrich training. I need a tool to use, and this sounds like a good one.
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
~ Stella Adler ~
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It takes a great deal of maturity to accept that trying to eliminate all risk eliminates life.
~ Susan Lapin ~