We believe the gospel transforms every part of our lives, including marriages. A gospel-centered marriage is a great testimony to the grace, love, joy, and power of God for those around us. We hold marriage in great esteem, believing it to be a great picture of God’s love and grace for the world.
We believe that marriage is not about self-gratification and a way to give your life meaning, but rather it is to be a picture of the gospel through sacrificial service and unconditional love. And while marriage can be great and fulfilling, it can become an idol, something we make ultimate instead of making Jesus ultimate.
Because of this, and our desire to grow gospel-centered disciples of Jesus who demonstrate His love to the world, we have put a great deal of time and energy into developing a Pre-Engagement/Pre-Marital process. We encourage you to get involved in this process even before you are engaged, when you are serious about marriage and committing your life to this person. This will help you sort through difficult questions and really explore what it would mean to be married before you commit to marry one another. It will also allow you to focus on marriage preparations instead of wedding preparations!
If you are already married and need some crisis counseling, a tune-up, or would just like to talk to someone about your marriage, please send us an e-mail and we’ll get back in touch with you.
For those of you engaged or considering engagement, read on.
Aspects of the Pre-Engagement/Pre-Marital Process
We want to prepare you with information and skills as well as provide you with accountability.
- Information: Do we understand what the Bible teaches about marriage?
- Skills: Do we know how to put Biblical teaching about communication, conflict resolution, budgeting/stewardship, parenting, sexuality, etc. into practice in everyday life motivated by the gospel?
- Accountability: Do we have close relationships with peers and leaders that provide a context for growth toward maturity during the pre-engagement/pre-marital process and after the wedding?
The Ideal Process
We consider this the “ideal” process, meaning we know very few people will go through all of these things in the order described here. Every couple is different, every story is unique. Still, this represents our process and what we would like to see every couple considering marriage to go through. This isn’t just a bunch of hoops to jump through – we have prayerfully and thoughtfully put this together to help love you well as you prepare for marriage.
The ideal process starts with the couple living in community as part of the Resonate family, in Missional Communities and as covenanted members of Resonate. From there, the couple interested in marriage should complete some Bible study to give them a Biblical foundation and understanding of marriage. After that the couple will be connected with a married couple who will walk them through some discussions and exercises to help them identify strengths and growth points of their relationship. The content of the counseling is virtually identical for couples whether they are already engaged or not – you will not have to go through counseling twice. After the counseling the couple will be recommended by the facilitating couple to get married, or encouraged to wait on marriage. Here are more details on each of the steps:
1. COUPLE LIVING IN COMMUNITY
The couple is an active part of the Resonate Family: Missional Community, serving on a team, Membership.
The couple sends an email to notify us of their desire to begin pre-engagement/pre-marital counseling. They will have an initial meeting of 2-3 hours with a trained pre-engagement/pre-marital facilitator couple where they get to know each other a bit and discuss the Biblical foundations for marriage. They will also discuss how to take the Prepare/Enrich assessment, which will form the foundation for the counseling process.
If the couple is ready to proceed, then they complete 6-8 sessions of counseling, dealing with communication, conflict resolution, financial management, family of origin issues, sex, roles and responsibilities, parenting, etc.
Facilitator Couple will recommend the couple for engagement/marriage. (Or encourage them to wait and work on some things.)
Wedding details arranged with the person conducting the ceremony. Couple can request a specific pastor but it depends on availability/schedule.
The couples will meet with whoever did Pre-Engagement/Pre-Marital counseling 2-4 times within the first year of marriage. This is an essential part of the process!
Gee, is that all?
We know this can seem like a very long, very involved process…and it is! The elders and pastors that perform wedding ceremonies take them very seriously. Marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will make with your life and we want to help you be prepared as you make a commitment to your spouse, God, and your community. A marriage that brings glory to God is a marriage that will bring you lasting joy because that joy is found only in God. This is our hope for you. Imagine a church family with marriages full of messed up people who are formed in the gospel…that’s the kind of thing that could change a neighborhood, or a city, or the world.