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 and my congregation 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!
We 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).
We will marry only couples who strive to remain sexually pure until their wedding day.
Since we are working with couples who are interested in following God’s plans for marriage, we 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, we will expect you to obey the Lord by repenting of your sin, finding separate living arrangements and remaining pure until your wedding day.
We 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. We 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.
We 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. The policies and instructions of Hope Church are set forth in this way to help make your wedding a worshipful experience.