We are pastors whose ministries include preparation for and care of marriages. In order to establish and nurture healthy marriages, we will endeavor to adequately prepare those who come to us seeking to be married. We will invest our best skills and resources so that we and they may discern their readiness and ability to enter and continue this sacred relationship.
Those intending to be married need and deserve a time to earnestly reflect upon and examine their intention. We take seriously our responsibility to provide ample opportunity for such preparation. We recognize that each pastor’s style of offering the time for examination and reflection will vary. We recognize further that pastors have responsibility before God to make conscientious choices about how this policy should apply to a particular case.
By signing this policy, we do not imply that we agree on doctrine. In fact, we have many profound differences. However, we have consulted together and have agreed to strongly recommend that the following elements be included in marital preparation:
At least a four-month preparation period between contacting the pastor and the wedding.
Participation in a preparation process to include one or more of the following: mentoring by a seasoned couple; a minimum of five hours of premarital consultation, or attendance at a premarital course or Engaged Encounter. Topics covered in this process would include spirituality, communication, conflict resolution, sex, finances, parenting, recreation, in-laws, roles, and responsibilities, etc.
Completion of at least one personality and relationship assessment, such as PREPARE, FOCCUS, TJTA, or Myers-Briggs.
Participation in a faith community during the process of preparation for marriage, and continued participation after the wedding for spiritual nurturing.
Agreement to continue to cultivate the marriage by attending marriage retreats or enrichment classes, conferring with a pastor or qualified counselor, or being mentored by a mature married couple.
We stand ready to continue to help marriages grow after the wedding. We will seek to develop new resources and publicize existing resources dedicated to preparing for and strengthening marriage.
By God’s grace, we commit ourselves to implement this policy and to continue to work together, in order to do our part to support marriages in our community.