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Christian Weddings

Premarriage Counseling Concerns

We just had a meeting with our Pastor to start our 6 premarriage counseling sessions. I come from a Catholic family and him a Luthern. We both grew up attending church, stopped going in HS/College and we reintroduced to our faith a year ago. We found a Christian church we love and can both relate to, especially since we don't have to choose to go Catholic or Luthern. That being said, we live together and bought a house together last fall. Neither one of us are virgins. We got an email from our Paster today with an Agreement we have to sign and return before we start our sessions. Mostly everything is ok with the execption of 2: We have to remain abstinent until we are married and 2 we have to agree to tithe to the Church. FI and I are in the grey on these...We are in a loving commited relationship and don't necessarly agree with abstinance, especially considering we aren't virgins anyways. We see it as we are 2 responsible, adults who aren't doing it for the wrong reasons and use it as a way to communicate or love for each other. As far as the titheing goes our Church defines that as 10% of our income. While we do attend Church weekly and give back every week, we don't make very much to begin with and we are trying to save as much as possible right now to pay for our wedding...10% for both of us is a little steep.

We need to send this back, I'm just not sure how to respond...I don't want to be unthruthful, but it's really important to us that we do get married in this Church by our Pastor.

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Re: Premarriage Counseling Concerns

  • You may need to just have a conversation with your pastor.

    It's possible that there is some leeway in these two issues.  Probably not for the sexual activity one, simply because I cannot imagine your pastor saying it's fine.  But for the tithing, your pastor may understand if you can only give a little bit because of your income.  You really should tithe SOMETHING, just because the church survives off the care of its parishioners.  But if you can't do 10%, your pastor will probably understand.  Just talk to him.

    As for the sex thing, I'm not going to try and convince you of the immorality of pre-marital sex, but I do think you should consider committing to abstinence for the sake of your commitment to this church and because it can be really helpful for some couples before marriage.  Sex can cloud our feelings and minds sometimes, so I know it's hard, but abstaining for this time before the wedding, may help you in your marriage preparation and build up the parts of your relationship not based on sex.  Sex is important for a marriage, but there may be times where you cannot have sex for a long period of time, so it's good to practice the virtue of abstinence now.  And if it's important to your pastor and church, it seems like a relatively small sacrifice to make.

    Either way, just talk to your pastor and be honest about your feelings.  And keep an open heart and mind to what he has to say.  Hope it goes well!

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  • Hey, I'd sign an agreement like that over what my Pastor is demanding any day.  But enough about me... 

    Will they let you serve in lew of tithing?  I know that the elders in my church say that if you can't give 10% of your money, then give your time.  


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  • I agree with PP's comments. Your pastor, and possibly other mentors in the church can help support you if you choose to abstain. There will be times in your marriage where you go months without sex, like the end of pregnancy and after labor. You aren't the first couple this pastor has met who have had sex, trust him that he knows what he's doing.

    My SO and I are non denominational and we were both asked if we were living together or were sexual at all. Most pastors and churches require this. 

    I know it sounds really difficult but it's totally doable! 
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  • I agree with PP that you should talk with your pastor.  IMO, if you and your FI honestly don't see anything wrong with being sexually active before marriage, then it doesnt make sense for you to sign something saying you won't engage in those activities.  If you're willing to try to abstain, that's one thing.  I guess what I'm trying to say is: don't sign knowing full well that you don't intend to even try to fulfill the agreement.

    As far as tithing, as PP said, giving time in addion to a small amount of money may be ok.  I don't think it's uncommon for young couple to be unable to give 10% - I know DH and I can't.
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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_premarriage-counseling-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:166a41ea-d36e-44b8-bdd8-d293a306725bPost:39606e1f-cd8d-4fc0-a04d-39bbfd400c68">Re: Premarriage Counseling Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]I agree with PP that you should talk with your pastor.  IMO, if you and your FI honestly don't see anything wrong with being sexually active before marriage, then it doesnt make sense for you to sign something saying you won't engage in those activities.  If you're willing to try to abstain, that's one thing.  I guess what I'm trying to say is: don't sign knowing full well that you don't intend to even try to fulfill the agreement. As far as tithing, as PP said, giving time in addion to a small amount of money may be ok.  I don't think it's uncommon for young couple to be unable to give 10% - I know DH and I can't.
    Posted by ochemjenn[/QUOTE]
    I agreee with Ochemjenn.  Don't sign something you don't plan on doing. I would call your paster and talk to him. 
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • We are more concerned with the titheing...I know I'm probably looking too much into it, I'm just worried he's going to come back in a month say we haven't been giving a complete 10% and that he won't marry us anymore.

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  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Our pastor never made us sign anything. And he never asked us about sex during the sessions either. In all honesty, if a pastor wanted us to sign something like that, I would side eye it and probably would go elsewhere for counseling. And you have to tithe 10?? What if you change churches in the near future? I think that requirement is very strange.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_premarriage-counseling-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:166a41ea-d36e-44b8-bdd8-d293a306725bPost:39876292-b306-40c6-9623-bf72b4907f7c">Re: Premarriage Counseling Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are more concerned with the titheing...I know I'm probably looking too much into it, I'm just worried he's going to come back in a month say we haven't been giving a complete 10% and that he won't marry us anymore.
    Posted by rel1988[/QUOTE]
    <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:8.5pt;">I would ask him then.  Churches shouldn't be forcing anyone to thithe a certain amount.  Not everyone can afford 10%</span>  </p>
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • I've found if you give the 10% (even when you can't afford it) God will still provide your needs.
    And if you don't give it then God will somehow get it from you anyways. For instance, one time my Dad didn't give the full amount because we couldn't afford it, well, that very week we had 4 flat tires on the car. If I am not mistaken he figured it out and it came to the exact amount he decided not to give. 

    Can I explain something? According to the Bible, tithes are not an option. Whereas offerings are. 
    I am not trying to debate anybody, just share my beliefs. :-)
    Read Malachi 3:8 

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_christian-weddings_premarriage-counseling-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:464687ae-7bc1-4360-9aea-999e11f1e1adDiscussion:166a41ea-d36e-44b8-bdd8-d293a306725bPost:4adb49e1-37c1-409b-9aa2-b42c1dcface0">Re: Premarriage Counseling Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've found if you give the 10% (even when you can't afford it) God will still provide your needs. And if you don't give it then God will somehow get it from you anyways. For instance, one time my Dad didn't give the full amount because we couldn't afford it, well, that very week we had 4 flat tires on the car. If I am not mistaken he figured it out and it came to the exact amount he decided not to give.  Can I explain something? According to the Bible, tithes are not an option. Whereas offerings are.  I am not trying to debate anybody, just share my beliefs. :-) Read Malachi 3:8 
    Posted by znd13[/QUOTE]

    <div>I've found this to be true as well. There was a year that I had no income but every month money somehow came in and even though it was scary I tithed out of it. I always got that money back. One time I really struggled to give $50 dollars. I knew logically I should save it for next months bills. I gave it and found $130 randomly in my room. Exactly what my bills were. </div><div>
    </div><div>God asks us to tithe not because He needs the money, but to give us an opportunity to be blessed and see how He provides. It helps build trust so that when financial hard things come up you have peace that He will take care of you as He always has.</div><div>
    </div><div>
    </div>
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  • I LOVE stories like these!! Thank you for sharing :)  I know it's scary sometimes, but I guess you just have to keep the faith and trust that He will provide.
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