Many pastors, including me, have wrestled with what standards to uphold when deciding whether to marry a couple. Below are the standards that I feel the Lord is leading me to affirm. I understand He may be leading you differently. Above all, may we stand on the truth of God’s Word when it comes to marriage!
I will marry only couples who desire to follow God’s will for marriage and life.
Anyone can get married, whether they follow Jesus or not. But a pastor, in good conscience, cannot stand before God and ask Him to bless a marriage, knowing the couple has no interest in the Lord or surrendering their lives to Him.
If one of you is a Christian and the other is not, we urge you to obey the word of God which states, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
I will marry only couples who strive to remain sexually pure until their wedding day.
Since I am working with couples who are interested in following God’s plans for marriage, I expect couples to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). God has reserved sex for marriage. If you are living together and are sexually active, I will expect you to obey the Lord by repenting of your sin, finding separate living arrangements and remaining pure until your wedding day.
I will marry only couples who have received marriage training and instruction.
Since marriage is a life-long commitment, we must not enter into it lightly. I require a minimum of four counseling sessions with a pastor or church representative to discuss various aspects of marriage and life together. We use the Bible and the Prepare/Enrich assessment tool in our counseling sessions.
I will marry only couples who wish to glorify the Lord in the wedding ceremony.
This is a joyful time for you and your fiancé. It is a time for commitment, not only to each other, but also to God. Since you are committing your lives to each other in the presence of God, it should be a ceremony that is fitting and honoring to the Lord.