Pre-Marital Counseling Recommendations

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My wife and I will be leading a couple through pre-marital counseling this Spring. I'd love to know what resources others would recommend; books, lectures, sermon series, etc.

Keller meaning of marriage

Gary Thomas:
Sacred search
Sacred marriage
9 must have conversations for a doubt free wedding day
I think Ken Sande's The Peacemaker has probably the most important practical thing: a way to solve disagreements and problems when they come up in such a way that short accounts are the rule of the day. If both are Christians, then they can commit to keeping short accounts, working through issues, and prevention of long lists of faults being used as weapons to throw at each other. As some wisecracker said, "When my wife gets mad at me, she doesn't get hysterical, she gets historical." Prevention of this and of the "You always" and "You never" traps are fairly key to a healthy marriage. I spend more time on this in marriage counseling because it seems to be the hardest thing for couples to work out.
Larry Crabb takes some shade on the PB but wife and I found “Marriage Builder” helpful from our premarital days and as a refresher a year ago.
Best advice I got was from my accountant. 'If money can fix it and you can afford it, it's an expense, not an issue.' Example being, don't fight over what toothpaste to buy. Buy two tubes.

My advice to the pastor would be to be aware of age and stage. One size will not fit all.
Best marriage advice I ever got was simply “be a Christian”
So simple yet true. If both are pursuing selfless love, it's going to work and be great. Sure, we all should seek marriage wisdom, and situations arise that education helps with, but just being a genuine Christian is the heart of it all.
I have zero recommendations for pre-marital material as that is not all in my wheelhouse.

However, I comment here because I imagine you would recommend devotions together as well as the counseling session.

If so, then I come here only to suggest that if read through Song of Songs as a couple, it could only further cement your counseling.

And if you do go that route, I don't see how there could be a better commentary than Dr. Duguid's Song of Songs in the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

My wife and I struggled through the Song until I picked up this commentary and read through it. Not only does it thoroughly go through what the book means and how it fits in the Bible, also how the book instructs us in our man-woman relationships, but every chapter has a higher dimension as well to directly speak into our relationship with Christ - both individually and as a couple - each level of relationship addressed fully and all together in one seamless threaded tapestry of wisdom, it is well written and easy to digest for anyone that just wants plain practical guidance.

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My favorite book I went through with my wife was Preparing for Marriage God's Way: A Step-by-Step Guide for Marriage Success Before and After the Wedding by Wayne Mack. It has a series of a quizzes to do together and discuss. It was very helpful and hits on a lot of practical issues from a Christian perspective.
Here are the books I work with during premarital counseling for our church (a six month process once a month usually, most recently with my eldest daughter now married more than half a year):
  • What the Bible Teaches About Marriage -- Anthony Selvaggio
  • Marriage: The Mystery of Christ and the Church -- David Engelsma
  • Money Before Marriage: A Financial Workbook for Engaged Couples -- Larry Burkett (Feedback most recently was it might be good to find something similar but more updated to the times in some regards)
  • Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage -- Ed and Gaye Wheat
  • Preparing for Dating and Marriage: A 31-Day Family Devotional -- Cory Griess
The last one is my favorite and I have considered simplifying to only this book on the main topic of marriage (though the feedback most recently was that Engelsma's was very helpful in ways the other books didn't touch on quite as much). Thus, here's my book review of the devotional by Cory Griess:

PS: here's the wedding of my daughter last summer (audio and video of the service):
-- they wanted a decent length of a sermon (pastor's daughter).

For fun, here's a YouTube short of my flub at the end that thankfully they were gracious about ;-):
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My wife and I benefitted from Paul Tripp’s marriage book. It hasn’t been mentioned yet, so I’m a bit worried there may be something wrong with it:think:
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