Studies are consistently showing that the institution of marriage is no longer valued in our society like it once was. The Globe and Mail reported that “there are more common-law families, more childless couples, more people living alone and a greater number of single-parent households than ever before” (Globe and Mail, “Canada’s Changing Family,” September 12, 2007). The number of same-sex marriages and relationships are on the rise, and the number of divorces in Canada each year is steadily increasing. The nature of these few statistics alone is cause for legitimate concern.
We believe that God’s passion for the family reaches all the way back to creation. In Genesis 2, we read:
“And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:22-25, ESV).
In light of God’s priorities for this covenant relationship and the growing list of reasons that are contributing to marital breakdown, we believe it is increasingly important for those entering the marriage covenant to be well prepared for this most important of human relationships. The goal of our marriage preparation ministry includes many facets, such as:
* preparing engaged couples for their new life together as husband and wife;
* helping couples understand some key issues that will contribute to a life-long marriage that will honour God;
* to encourage discussion–both in our sessions and for the couple later on, in private–that will clarify roles, responsibilities, and expectations in important areas, such as Biblical manhood and womanhood, the love of a husband and wife, communication and conflict resolution, guarding your heart from the influences of the world, having children and raising them, and honouring God in your home every day;
* to help establish positive habits that prevent destructive tendencies.
At Orchard Park, we believe it is vitally important to explore these personal, emotional, relational, and spiritual questions that are most significant in a healthy marriage and family life. Though our pastors are not clinically licensed marriage counsellors, they give high priority to upholding the biblical view of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, and have consequently developed their teaching to communicate those principles.
Each couple that requests to be married by one of our pastors must arrange to be part of our Marriage Preparation Ministry. We move forward in this with the understanding that, though the engaged couple may have a wedding date in mind, our pastors do not generally commit to perform a wedding prior to the completion of the marriage preparation sessions. We desire to work with the couple toward that day, but above all, it is our desire to shepherd couples through this important passage-way so we can confidently endorse their upcoming marriage in light of clear biblical standards.
If you are getting married or are considering marriage soon, please contact the church office to arrange marriage preparation sessions with one of our pastors.