Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat happens at the premarital interview?
The bride and groom will meet with a member of the ministerial staff to discuss wedding plans and details of the questionnaires. An overview of the counseling program is discussed. Premarital couples also receive their program materials (workbooks, tapes, etc.) at the time of the premarital interview. Specific requirements to be married at Saddleback Church or by a Saddleback pastor are also discussed. (See question #2)
Following the interview, the couple will be asked to complete an Inventory and Personality Test. These tests help to to alert the premarital counselors to areas that need specific attention. They also help to identify areas of strength in the relationship. The premarital counseling experience is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each couple.
What are the specific requirements to be married at Saddleback Church or by a Saddleback pastor?
All premarital couples must complete our six-week counseling program. In addition, the pastors of Saddleback Church have determined the following qualifications, based on Biblical truths:
1) Bride and groom must individually confess a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Saddleback Church will not marry unbelievers, or join an unbeliever to a believer in marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). God´s Word is clear about spiritual compatability between marriage partners.
2) Bride and groom must abstain from physical intimacy or living together. Sex is a gift from God. He is the one who created it! Therefore, we must follow God´s directions alone regarding our sexuality. The Bible gives us clear instructions for sex within the parameters of the marriage relationship (2 Corinthians 6:3) God´s Word also gives us clear warnings and consequences when sex is used outside of the marriage. "What the Bible Says About Sex" is an audio tape by Pastors Rick Warren and Tom Holladay which helps to explain this important subject. Copies of this message are available upon request.
While many of those who come to Saddleback Church are honoring God through abstaining from sexual intimacy, there are many that do not fall into this category. Couples who are physically intimate or are living together are asked to move apart and covenant with Saddleback Church to abstain from their sexual relationship until their wedding day. We would like the opportunity to encourage you to make this commitment with us, understanding that this is God´s best for your marriage relationship. To read a copy of this covenant, click here.
What is the cost of the Saddleback Church premarital counseling program? The cost for members of Saddleback Church (all those who have attended Class 101 and have been baptized) is $150. The cost to non-members is $250. This cost covers workbooks, tapes and other counseling materials. It also pays for the administration and scoring of the Daybreak Premarital Counseling inventory Report. Our premarital counselors are not paid, they have chosen premarital counseling as a special ministry opportunity.
Scholarships for the cost of this program are available upon request.
Who does the premarital counseling? Your premarital counseling will be done with a married couple who has received special premarital training. These couples have been married for at least ten years and exemplify Christ-centered marriages. They are open and honest about sharing their experiences in their own marriage.
You will work with the same counselors for the full duration of your premarital counseling. Although these counselors are specifically trained in the area of premarital counseling, they are not professional, licensed counselors. They have chosen premarital counseling as their ministry at Saddleback Church. One of the goals of the ministry is to provide all premarital couples an opportunity to establish a mentoring relationship with their counseling couple, thus encouraging their present and future connection to their Saddleback Church family.
What do we talk about at the counseling sessions? You will discuss many subjects throughout your time together. These subjects include marital roles and responsibilities; skills for communicating and resolving conflicts; realistic management of finances; your sexual relationship; your family of origin; and much more! Your relationship strengths will be discussed, as well as areas that need growth.
Although the program is designed to cover certain topics, your counselors will design your time together to fit your individual needs. Details of the six sessions are discussed during your premarital interview. Homework assignments are given prior to each session to enhance your understanding (and promote discussion) of the material.
Are there any additional activities involved in premarital counseling? Individual financial counseling is available upon request.
Couples who are involved in step-parenting issues are highly encouraged to attend Saddleback Church "Step-Family Ministry" meetings.
It is also strongly recommended that those involved in remarriages attend a divorce recovery program prior to entering into a new marriage. Click here for a current schedule of our Divorce Care meetings at Saddleback Church.
What should I expect from the premarital counseling experience? You should expect to be challenged, strengthened, educated, and better prepared for your upcoming marriage. You will probably experience some laughs, some tears, and some pleasant surprises!
You should leave your premarital counseling with some problem areas identified, some new marital skills learned, and most importantly - a more realistic expection of what marriage will be like!
May God richly bless you individually, and as a couple, as you embark on this exciting journey together!
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate." Mark 10:7-9 (NIV)