Premarital Training Offered to Engaged Couples
Love is in the air after a recent weekend of premarital counseling on campus. Led by Professor Alan Parker, 16 engaged couples spent March 20-21 growing together and learning ways to build a successful marriage grounded in biblical principles. Attendees were primarily students, but a handful of university staff and community members also participated in this event co-sponsored by Southern’s School of Religion and Chaplain’s Office.
Parker and Professor Barry Tryon, both from the School of Religion, were joined by their spouses and offered alternating husband/wife perspectives during presentations that covered a series of critical topics, including personality and gender differences, sexuality and affection, and communication and conflict resolution.
A major focus of the weekend was learning to understand connections between holiness and happiness. The Parkers and Tryons taught that when two people are becoming more and more like Jesus—and make ministering to their partner a priority—they will find that a holy marriage is a happy marriage.
"We believe that a marriage with God is so much stronger than one without Him," Parker said.
Along with the personal accounts of married life from these trained professionals, couples also used the online assessment tool Prepare/Enrich (a leading relationship and skill-building program) to help identify their unique strengths and growth areas. Combined with the seminars, it’s a wise investment of both time and emotions. According to Parker, the two-day training can shorten a couple’s premarital counseling by as much as half.
Paul Miller, senior biophysics major, attended the event with his fiancee, Kaitlyn Verrill, senior pastoral care major.
“It was important for us to start our marriage out on the most positive foot possible,” Miller said.
This marked the second year Southern has committed to offering this type of instruction and Parker hopes the success of the project—it was operating at near capacity this year—will bring expansion in the future.