Ministers Try To Limit Runaway Brides

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

May 2, 2005

Brides-to-be have a million things on their minds.

"The guest list, seating, trying to make sure everyone that needs to be on the list is on the list. Lately, that's been the big problem," said bride-to-be Lauren Watts.

What is not a big problem for Watts is the decision of 'forever.'

"I am certain he is the one since the minute he asked me," she gushed.

Part of her certainty comes from premarital counseling Watts and her fiancé decided to do before they tied the knot.

"After dating for several years, we thought we had covered all the bases, but it is kind of nice to make sure that we sit down and plan it out before it is really a forever commitment," she said.

Premarital counseling was required by their minister, and increasingly more churches are doing the same, including pastor and counselor Greg Briehl.

Briehl said he asks questions couples do not think about or do not want to ask. Often times these sessions inject into couples the reality that marriage is no easy task.

"It's not about love," said Briehl of Firestone Counseling and Peace Lutheran Church. "It's about knowing each other. It's about commitment. It's about the maturity required to make this kind of life changing decision."

Wedding planner Joyce Howard from Raise the Veil thinks premarital counseling is especially useful for younger couples.

"It would help them think about things that they might not think about that is involved in a marriage, over the years," said Howard. "Such as the financial situation, the working together, living together, the partnership."

Sometimes premarital counseling can expose a marriage destined for divorce.

Briehl shared an experience about a couple who asked him to tell them they should not get married. "So I said, 'you shouldn't get married,' and they thanked me, paid the bill and left," he said.

Other times the counseling exposes a marriage destined for success.

"I knew him like a book, and he knew me just as well," discovered Watts.

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