by: Topher Wiles
How many of you were like us? I thought that we would tie the proverbial knot, carry Ashley over the threshold, and as the fair tales say, “live happily ever after?” We dated for two years, were engaged for one, and had a beautiful wedding. Now after 17 years of marital ups and downs, we discovered that a good marriage is so much more than a loving feeling, a lavish ceremony, and having a lot in common. I wish we had gone through some sort of organized premarital counseling.
If we’re being truthful with ourselves, that whole “till death do us part” in the marriage vows is increasingly ironic. According to Les & Leslie Parrot (authors of “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts”) things are changing. In the 1930s, one out of seven marriages ended in divorce. In the 1960s, it was one out of four. On survivedivorce.com, that figure is now around 40 percent of marriages today ending in divorce. That tells us that so many couples toss the bouquet, return the tuxedos, and assume they’re heading for marital bliss while their ship is really sailing toward wedded disaster.
We believe God has more in store for your family forte than what our current culture provides.
Here at Central Church of Christ, we believe God has set the standard on what a loving relationship is and we are preparing ourselves to help members in the community get ready for the best marital relationship possible. That’s why I and others at our church have gotten certified to offer pre-marital counseling through the SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) system to our community. This 30 minute pre-marital assessment tool and five accompanying counseling sessions are designed to give couples the following: healthy expectations of marriage, a realistic concept of love, a positive attitude and outlook toward married life, a better way to communicate feelings, an understanding of gender differences, the ability to make decisions and settle arguments, a common spiritual foundation, and a deep and abiding commitment to the bonds of marriage together. This is the broader concept of what invincible love looks like day-in and day-out in a marriage.
Tennessee understands the value of pre-marital counseling as our state offers a $60 discount (from $97.50 to $37.50 in White County) on marriage licenses to couples who obtain pre-marital counseling within a year before the marriage. For couples choosing pre-marital counseling with us here at Central, we ask that the couple cover the $35 assessment fee, and we will provide 5 free counseling sessions directed by the findings of the assessment. All told, you’ll come out of this saving $25 in Tennessee and saving your marriage before it starts!
Marriage doesn’t have to be a gamble. Your lifelong partner is better than a roll of the dice. Your marriage can be better prepared to weather the storms that will come. You can enjoy “invincible love.” We’re here to help.
Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out. – Song of Songs 8:6-7