As ministers and ministry leaders in Tippecanoe County we are joining together to agree to the guidelines listed below in preparing people for marriage, as well as ministry with married couples. We do so as a witness of our commitment to help build strong marriages, reduce the incidence of divorce and thus reinforce the quality of community life in our county.
We are seeking to prepare couples not simply for a wedding, but for a lifelong covenant of marriage:
- Since marriage is a solemn covenant, it is in the best interest of engaged couples to approach that covenant deliberately and prayerfully. Therefore we will encourage a minimum of four months to a year for marriage preparation.
- Our preparation of each couple will include Scriptural study and the use of a premarital assessment which reinforces the Biblical design for marriage. We recommend a minimum of four counseling sessions. Application of Scripture and the use of such an assessment is a great assistance in premarital counseling; and can help identify couples who should seriously rethink their intention to be married.
- We will train mature, married couples to serve as mentors to work with engaged couples, newlyweds, or those experiencing marital difficulties.
In addition to preparing couples for marriage, we will support already married couples by…
- offering two post-marital counseling sessions with a minister or a mentor couple within the first year of marriage.
- customizing a support system of couples whose marriages have successfully weathered life’s challenges to assist with troubled marriages.
- seeking to establish support systems for blended families.
- encouraging retreats, classes, and marriage enrichment opportunities designed to build and strengthen marriages.
- cooperating with other congregations and organizations to share resources and to create a positive climate to help marriages succeed.
- setting an example as pastors by attending couple’s retreats and being involved in other relationship enrichment activities.
- taking this covenant back to our church to be ratified by the appropriate church leadership.
With a graceful attitude, I commit to seek the endorsement of these minimum standards by my congregation, seek to implement them as quickly and as completely as possible, and to encourage our church members to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage for the glory of God and the good of our whole community.