pre-marital counselling and taking our own advice

One of my favourite things about being in church leadership is the privilege of doing pre-marital counselling with our many engaged couples at Église du Plateau. An urban church is a young church, no matter what other demographics fall into place. There are risks and weaknesses to being predominantly young of which we are acutely aware, but oh there are blessings. Particularly the walking examples of gospel-reflecting marriage all around us. Do we have more than a handful of married couples over the age of 35? No. But is there grace in the thick of deciding to marry, leaving behind a life focused primarily on self, rummaging through the debris after the dust of the first year of marriage settles and deciding it's still worth it? Indeed. And we see that often.

In the next five months, our church will see five young couples married. Sweet joy and hot damn! It's an exciting time, and one of increased leadership for the three elders and their wives as we've been given the happy burden of pre-marital counselling for these couples. It is no small thing to be invited into the doubts, fears, struggles, excitement, stress, tears, joy, and love that a young engaged couple experiences. We count it a real privilege to walk beside these couples as they prepare for their marriages*, and the lessons they learn are not lost on us.

Brad and I are approaching seven years of marriage in the Fall. Not too long, even including three kids and a church plant. But God has given our people humility to learn from a few youngsters only a few years ahead of them, and I'm thankful. Firstly, because we can always learn from others. Secondly, because marriage is a refining fire and a sanctifier like no other, even one year of experience is incredible and there is wisdom to be passed along. And thirdly, because even though we are not a perfect couple, God has done amazing things in and through us as a married couple. Every time we sit down with an engaged couple, we can't help but marvel that we've come a long way from that spot across the living room.

We are often in a place of realizing that we need to take our own advice, and that is a great thing. Not often does this involve disobedience, just the casual forgetting of things we said we valued, that become habits. Praying together before bed. Reading the Bible together. Prioritizing time away from the kids. These things are so foundational for a married couple who loves Jesus, but are easy to let slide, especially once kids come along. So this weekend, we're taking our own advice. Fittingly, leaving town to celebrate the marriage of one of the couples we've counselled. Full circle, can't wait.

Our dear friends (who already have three kids of their own!) have volunteered to watch our three for the whole weekend. I know, I can't believe it either! We'll be away for two nights, one night will be the wedding, and the other will just be for us. We have both spent time away from the kids separately, but it's been almost TWO YEARS since we got away for more than a few hours as a couple. It's time!

While I have your attention on the topic of marriage, I've been looking for an excuse to share this cool video and this seems as good a time as any. The video features a young engaged couple who are made up by makeup artists to look 50, 70, and 90. You know, just to make sure they still want to marry this person when they start to decay! It's MTV, but it's incredibly touching and not at all shallow.

*If you're interested in resources, we are currently using the book When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey and strongly recommend The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller.

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