Updated: September 28th, 2016
Tonight, around 150 seriously dating and engaged couples will show up for Night 1 of the Fall Merge premarital class at Watermark Community Church. Earlier this week we started our first ever 8-week class at our Fort Worth campus. Each time we start a new class, I get both ridiculously excited (think Christmas morning as a kid) and heavy-hearted/overwhelmed at the decision each couple faces.
Too often the church has fallen short in preparing couples for marriage. We either assume they don’t need it, or we let them slide by with weak and surface-level counsel. We miss the mark by not challenging them on the significance of the decision in front of them. After they say “I do,” the church stands by as couples collapse all around us or silently watches them fall into routines – they are married on paper but live as if they are roommates with occasional and sporadic benefits.
Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, recently shared the following about the role the church can and should play in preparing couples for marriage and the prevention of divorce:The data seems to suggest that the role of the local church is vitally important in preventing divorce—in terms of rates of attendance, proximity to pastoral authority and oversight, discipleship, and access to mentorships with older, more experienced couples. Bottom line: the function the church plays in preparing couples for marriage is a very important factor in marital success. That marriage preparation and nurturement, best done in the context of a local congregation, is a focal point that pastors should consider when examining whether their churches are fostering healthy marriage cultures. (You can read the whole article here). Premarriage prep allows us, as the church, to play really good offense – to help prepare couples before they get married instead of fixing things down the road after they say “I do”. There will be couples that break-up along the way. However, the money they spend to sign up for the class will be the best money they spend if it helps prevent them from a divorce or miserable marriage down the road.
The post and request today is simple – I ask that you pray for the participating couples coming this week, the leaders who will lead their small groups and for our staff and leadership team.
To get more info or to sign up for Merge, visit dfwmarriage.org.
Your Turn: What counsel would you give a couple who is thinking about getting engaged? Married?