A Narrative-Based Premarital Preparation Resource for Pastors and Couples

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Many engaged couples spend considerable time and money on wedding planning, but much less on marriage relationship preparation. Additionally, many married couples are living in unhappy marriages or getting divorced, and many are choosing to cohabitate instead. Pastors of Christian churches have access to Christian and non-Christian couples who ask them to officiate their wedding, and can offer or require premarital preparation as part of the process. Pastors usually have little formal training in relationships, marriage and family education, or life span development, but do have access to a plethora of premarital resources of varying quality and theoretical underpinnings. Pastors need resources intended to strengthen couples’ future marriages based on sound psychological, developmental, and premarital educational principles. In recent decades, narrative ideology and methodology has emerged as a topic of interest in the field of theology, which suggests the importance of a narrative perspective for pastoral work, and in the field of psychology, which highlights the importance of life stories in human development and meaning making. Despite the usefulness narrative has shown in both fields, as of yet, there have been no narratively-oriented premarital resources developed for the use of pastors. Narrative methods would be valuable for helping couples to navigate the changes two individuals go through in their life transition to marriage. This dissertation details the development of a narrative-based premarital preparation resource for pastors, with the resource itself attached as appendices with instructions for pastors and handouts for couples.

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Lee, Cameron

Document Type





Clergy, Pastoral counseling, Marriage counselors, Church work with unmarried couples


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


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