What’s covered in Pre-Marital Counseling?

 
And here are some verses and thoughts to consider.
 
Genesis 2:21-25 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast (cleave in King James Version) to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
 
The “leave & cleave” principle is repeated & emphasized throughout the New Testament by Jesus Christ (Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7) and St. Paul (1 Corinthians 6:16, 7:10-11, Ephesians 5:31). This is what marriage is all about! You have become a new “family unit”. While you still “honor father and mother” according to the 5th commandment, you no longer honor them in precisely the same way. You now honor them by leaving their rule, cleaving to one another, and intentionally and deliberately submitting your marriage & household to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 
 
Proverbs 5 & 31 – read them regularly – “Rejoice in the wife of your youth…” Proverbs 5:18 & Proverbs 31:10 & 29 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels…Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
 
The world chases fame & fortune only to find how empty both are. God provides everyone with family. Enjoy one another. See each other as gifts which are far more valuable than any money or material possession. Insist on seeing each other this way, and, in time, you will extend the same sort of delight to your children.
 
Genesis 1:27-28 “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
 
Man and woman are equally made in God’s image. Man is not inferior to woman; woman is not inferior to man. Love this about Jesus & the Bible! Neither gender is 2nd class, despite what various cultures have said. When you read the gospels, look at how much time Jesus spends with women and how respectful He is of them. And remember, in His wisdom, God made man & woman to compliment one another. Man is no good alone! Those are God’s words, not mine. In Genesis 1, we read over and over how “good” everything is. Then God says, “no good”! Why? Because Adam didn’t yet have Eve. Man and woman are equally made in God’s image – and equally share in the responsibility to “multiply” and “subdue” the earth. That equality is put into action by complimenting one another with their differences and various roles & responsibilities. Delight in knowing and considering that God knew what He was doing when He made us male & female!
 
Ephesians 5:22-33 especially 5:24-25 “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…
 
Everyone, male and female, must submit. All are under authority. Pray over & work to keep this simple order: 1) Love Jesus Christ Most (Have no other gods before God) 2) Then Love One Another 3) Then Love your Children 4) then everyone else. This preserves you from idolatry and ensures you’re both submitting to King Jesus all the time. And when a husband always seeks to love his wife as Christ’s loves the church, it becomes a delight for the wife to submit to him.  
 
1 Corinthians 7:2-4 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
 
One of Satan’s best tactics is to persuade us into thinking God is a prude. He’s not. He invented sex. He is thrilled with sexuality when it is pure and not perverted. All loving parents set parameters around what is good in order to ensure safety & joy. This is the reason for fences around backyards. God only says “no” to declare a far better “yes.” “Thou shalt not commit adultery” & every warning against lust is, simultaneously, a restriction against perversion and a divine endorsement of holy sexuality. Enjoy marriage; enjoy one another; Glorify & enjoy God through your intimacy with each other. 
 
Ephesians 4:15 Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ….
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
 
The three most important ingredients to a healthy marriage are 1)Communication, 2)Communication, and 3) (as you may have guest) Communication! Delight in one another by talking to one another. Remember: talking isn’t always discussing and hearing isn’t always listening. Discuss things with each other. Listen to one another. Feed on one anthers’ words. Be “in tune” with each other. That, too, is intimacy. Speaking truth is not enough. Do so in Love (God sent Jesus to earth – He didn’t just send truth from Heaven – but Grace & Truth in the Flesh – truth in love is essential. Never divorce truth from love). 
 
Finally, remember that the thing you ought to work at most is your marriage. Work at it all the time. It will be the most rewarding thing you ever work at. Here are my top 5 excellent books on marriage. Let me know if you come across any others!
Christian Living in the Home by Jay Adams (we read this during pre-marital counseling)
 
1. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
2. What Did you Expect? Paul Tripp
3. When Sinners Say I Do  by Dave Harvey
4. His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
5. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
 
Bonus: Strengthening Your Marriage by  Wayne Mack