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Building a Solid Foundation... the Premarital Ministry
By Deena Escobar

Ladies, suppose you've been dating someone for a while. You get butterflies just thinking about him. You spend all your time with him. Your family adores him. You start to wonder, "Is he my soul mate?"

Guys, you've been courting your girlfriend for some time now. Your heart stops when you see her. She makes you laugh like no one else can. You think, "Is she the one?"

Well, now what?

Before you decide to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, keep reading.

Before You Take the Plunge…

So you've met that special someone, what are you gonna do about it?
So you've met that special someone, what are you gonna do about it?

In this present day and age, there's a belief that marriage is not something you prepare for. People often make the decision to get married lightly. They base their decision on feelings rather than facts, diving right into marriage and hoping for the best. They fall in love and cling to the illusion that marriage will be just like dating.

What many couples soon come to realize is that marriage is not what they had expected.

When hard times or conflicts arise, the unprepared married couple doesn't know how to deal with them. They argue, try to ignore the problems, or worse-they give up. Unfortunately, people in our society are quick to hit the road when times get tough. Divorce is often the quick fix for marriages in trouble, the easy answer.

As Christians, we know that divorce is not God's answer. So, what is the solution?

The Rock's Premarital Ministry is designed to help couples figure that out.

God's Secrets to Marital Success

Before these problems and issues arise-before you're even engaged-the Premarital Ministry encourages you to sign up for their classes to help you determine whether or not your relationship and, ultimately, marriage is God's plan for the two of you.

Mark and Karen Stevens are one of the married couples that minister to those considering marriage through the premarital classes they teach. Using the workbook, "Preparing for Marriage," along with guidance and mentoring, they offer each couple an opportunity to explore their dating relationship and future marriage with God at the center.

Karen says that the ministry and the book help couples "get a lot of issues out in the open and dealt with before marriage so that there are no surprises after marriage."

Karen and her husband have been teaching the premarital course for over two years now.

"Teaching the class has kept us even more in prayer for our own marriage," she says. "Just because we've been married almost 29 years doesn't mean that Satan wouldn't love to come in and try to destroy it and ruin our influence over these younger couples."

Jon and Rebecca Heinrichs is just such a couple. They were married in September of 2003. They took Mark and Karen's class while they were engaged.

"We went to the class not really knowing what to expect," says Jon. "By the end, we really learned what it means to become one."

Becky echoes her husband's sentiments. "When you are talking about choosing a life-long partner, you want to take every possible step to ensure you are making a godly, wise decision. I strongly believe that going through a premarital counseling course is one of those key steps."

"Preparing for Marriage deals with all aspects of marriage from finances, to parenting, to understanding how childhood experiences shape your expectations of your future spouse. The book's author asks a lot of tough questions that couples usually never think to discuss with their partners. When the questions are answered honestly and openly, couples really learn about each other and are able to communicate on more realistic, deeper levels.

Matt and Tami Schindler, married almost two years now, also took Mark and Karen's premarital class.

Matt recalls, "By openly discussing many issues, the class helped us determine that marriage was definitely the direction we should be heading into. It helped strengthen our relationship and gave us tools to help us as upcoming newlyweds."

Looking to the Word of God

Show them you really care by signing up for the 6-week premartal course
Show them you really care by signing up for the 6-week premartal course

By going deep into God's word, the class and the book help couples understand God's purpose and design for marriage.

In Genesis 2:18 God says, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.

By exploring the meaning of this passage, as well as other related passages, the class seeks to give couples an understanding of and appreciation for God's plan for marriage.

Matt points out, "I began to understand my upcoming role with greater clarity."

How to Get Involved

If you are in a relationship with someone and are wondering if this is the person that God intends for you to spend the rest of your life with, the Premarital Ministry can help you seek out God's will and His plans for your lives.

When a marriage is lived as God intended, it can be used as one of the Lord's most powerful tools to do His work. And, as many happily married couples living out God's plan for their lives can tell you, it can be a whole lot of fun, too!

As Rebecca Heinrich puts it, "The premarital class is the perfect beginning and a good foundation for having a blessed marriage."

The premarital classes are offered three times each year. For more information about upcoming classes, to sign up for a premarital class, or, if you are a married couple that would like to apply to teach the course, please contact Cari Blanchard in the Care and Concern department at the Rock Offices at 619.226.7625 x233.

For more information about the Premarital Ministry, click here »