2.2 million couples marry each year in the United States.[i] The divorce rate is greater than 50%. The National Directory of Marriage and Counseling reports that premarital counseling can reduce the divorce rate by up to 30%.[ii] This statistic includes all types of premarital counseling. Premarital counseling that focuses on training couples in biblical principles on marriage and relationships should prove even more effective. However, because effective premarital counseling is so time consuming and requires coordinating the schedules of three different people, the majority of churches do not provide premarital counseling. If a church does offer some counseling, the sessions are often limited to one to two sessions that cannot begin to cover the issues that need to be addressed. Pastors continually request material for premarital counseling because they realize their preparation time and resources are limited and therefore they are unable to provide adequate training in this area. The couples themselves also deal with time and geographical restraints that prevent them from pursuing premarital counseling.
The Lord has tremendously burdened Family Fortress Ministries to provide couples and churches with a comprehensive yet, cost-effective and convenient solution to this dilemma that will impact the Kingdom of God by strengthening the core unit of society before it is birthed on its wedding day. To our knowledge, there are no other interactive premarital assessments or training programs that are offered as an online program.
Preparing for Partnership is an interactive online program that will offer biblical training and assessment for couples who are engaged or contemplating marriage. Since the program is online, couples can overcome geographical limitations and time restraints because they can individually take the lessons at their own computer as it fits their personal schedule. A pastor can be assured that the couples from his church are being biblically and comprehensively trained in the major marriage principles. Progress reports generated by the program will allow the pastor to be involved while substantially decreasing the amount of time required for conventional counseling.
The program consists of different lessons that biblically train couples in a wide range of marriage issues. As each session unpacks passages that teach biblical principles for marriage, the participants are asked to respond to personal questions that are direct applications of what is being taught. The program analyzes the responses and generates an email report indicating readiness for marriage, suggestions for further preparation, topics for discussion, potential problem areas, warnings, and links to suggested resources. Once the partner has completed that lesson, another email analysis is generated that compares the responses as a couple. Lesson topics include:
- Biblical Compatibility
- Responsibilities and Roles
- Resolving conflict
- Sexual intimacy
The program is designed so that if a couple desires, a progress report can be emailed to the pastor. The pastor’s report will not disclose personal information but will indicate readiness and general concerns.
Even though the course is designed using Christian principles, both Christians and non-Christians will greatly benefit from the principles shared. Several of the lessons will offer an opportunity to link to a salvation module when a participant acknowledges the need.
A completion certificate will be generated that can be presented when applying for a marriage license in states that offer discounts for premarital counseling.