This is part of the ministry resources on Pastoral Care and Christian Counselingg, with a focus on Premarital Counseling. It is part of the site archive that is not updated past 2012. Please see the list at the bottom for related ministry resources.
Comprehensive Guides to PreMarital Counseling (in suggested order)
- H. Norman Wright, Premarital Counseling Handbook — Still the most comprehensive guide to premarital counseling for ministers. Designed to be used alongside H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts, Before You Say I Do.
- Robert F. Stahman and William J. Heibert, Premarital and Remarital Counseling: The Professional’s Handbook, 3rd Revised Edition — Recognized by marriage and family professionals as a theoretically sound and practically useful text on the full range of issues in premarital counseling.
- Les C. Wicker, Editor, Preparing Couples for Marriage: A Guide for Pastors and Counseling — A team project of an ecumenical panel of ministers, offering seasoned insight and ready-made tools for either a four- or seven-session premarital counseling process. Includes several bonus resource sections.
- Theodore K. Pitt, Premarital Counseling Handbook — A good supplement to Wright, Stahman, or Wicker.
- David and Lisa Frisbie, Right from the Start: A Pastor’s Guide to Premarital Counseling — Though not as comprehensive as Wright and Stahman above, the authors do a good job with the subjects of money, sex, power and control, spirituality, and family patterns.
Assessment Resources for Premarital Counseling (in suggested order)
- Prepare/Enrich – Prepare stands for Premarital Personal And Relationship Evaluation. It is the most reliable and comprehensive tool for assessing strengths and weaknesses in the premarital relationship. It also simplifies the premarital counseling process. One must certify to use it. See more information at Prepare/Enrich.
- DISC Personal Profile System – An excellent tool for helping engaged couples understand their relational tendencies. See my suggestions at DISC Resources for Adults.
- FOCCUS Pre-Marriage Inventory, published by FOCCUS, Inc., by B. Markey, Ph.D., M. Micheletto, M.A. and A. Becker, A.C.S.W. – FOCCUS stands for Facilitate Open, Caring Communication, Understanding and Study. The profile has been used by over 500,000 couples. It is not as widely used as PREPARE, but is preferred by some. One must certify to use it. See more information at FOCCUSInc.com.
Relationship-Building Resources for Premarital Counseling (in suggested order)
- William F. Harley, Jr. His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage; and Five Steps to Romantic Love: A Workbook for Readers of Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs.
- Family Dynamics Institute conducts many training programs based on Dr. William Harley’s research with additional insights from FDI Director, Joe Beam, for use in local churches and communities. Dr. Carl Brecheen, retired Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Abilene Christian University, says, “The Dynamic Marriage Course is a ‘stroke of genius.’ It is the strongest medicine for marriages that I have ever seen…I wish every church in the world would couples for training to do the program. I believe it is the nearest thing available to a solution to the divorce rate.”
- Dale and Susan Mathis, Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage – Designed by Focus on the Family to help premarital couples who do not have access to premarital counseling. The material may also be used in conjunction with counseling. Covers all areas of marital preparation.
- Dennis Rainey, David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Shulte, and Lloyd Shardrach, Preparing for Marriage: A Complete Guide to Help You Discover God’s Plan for a Lifetime of Love;and Preparing for Marriage: Leader’s Guide.
- Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need to Know in the Early Years to Make It Last a Lifetime.
- Philip J. Swihart and Wilford Wooten, The First Five Years of Marriage: Launching a Lifelong Successful Relationship – An extensive guide from the counselors of Focus on the Family arranged in a helpful question-and-answer format on all areas related to success in the early years of marriage.
Communication Resources for Premarital Counseling
- Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L.Blumberg, Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love. See also the Christian guide to the same information, A Lasting Promise: A Christian Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage. Part of the PREP program, which stands for Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program. It is based on one of the largest studies ever conducted on what makes marriages work, and is probably the most comprehensive guide on effective marital communication. Ministers may train to use their resources. Contact PREP, Inc.
Financial Resources for Premarital Counseling
- Larry Burkett and Michael Taylor. Money Before Marriage: A Financial Workbook for Engaged Couples. See also the Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples: A Lifetime Approach to Spending, Saving and Investing. Get more information at Crown Financial Ministries.
- Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace Revisited. See also the video/discussion course, Financial Peace University. Get more information at DaveRamsey.com.
Sexual Resources for Premarital Counseling
- Dr. Joseph and Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus, Intimacy Ignited, Conversations Couple to Couple: Fire Up Your Sex Life with the Song of Solomon. NavPress, 2004.
- Dr. Louis and Melissa McBurney, Real Questions, Real Answers About Sex: The Complete Guide to Intimacy as God Intended. Zondervan, 2004.
- Dr. Kevin Leman, Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. Tyndale House, 2003.
- Clifford and Joyce Penner, The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment. Thomas Nelson, 2003.
- Douglas E. Rosenau, A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy. Thomas Nelson, 2002.
- Deborah C. Neel, Douglas Rosenau, and W. Ellen Fox, A Celebration of Sex Guidebook. Xulon Press, 2007.
- Douglas E. Rosenau, A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds. Thomas Nelson, 2005.
- Dr. Ed and Gaye Wheat, Intended for Pleasure. Third Edition. Baker, 1997.
Related Ministry Resources
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