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Pre-marital counseling–times two faiths!

Something I haven’t shared yet on this website–which I can’t believe I didn’t think of before–is the pre-marital counseling we’re doing. We’re actually doing counseling with the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel and the minister at Alliance United Methodist Church. The counseling with the rabbi thus far has been pretty traditional pre-marital counseling–communication skills, conflict resolution techniques, talking about families of origin and how they affect our relationship today. Our next sessions will delve more into the dual faith aspect of our relationship. The counseling we’re doing with the minister is a little more focused on the interfaith aspects of our relationship.

We initially set up to do premarital counseling with the rabbi even before we found anyone to co-officiate the wedding. After talking with him the very first time, we were immediately comfortable with him and knew we wanted him to do our counseling, even though he respectfully declined to co-officiate the ceremony. The minister definitely wanted us to do premarital counseling (she requires it of all couples she marries), and was satisfied when we told her what we already had set up with rabbi. However, when we talked more with her, we realized that we really could benefit from some sessions with her, too.

(As an aside, this arrangement made my family very happy also. They didn’t have any problem with us doing counseling with the Rabbi, but voiced strong opinion that it would be beneficial to have help/input from clergy of both faiths.)

We had our fifth session with Rabbi Tuesday afternoon. Due to scheduling conflicts on both sides, we just had our first session with the minister Wednesday morning. All the sessions (with both rabbi and reverend) have gone really well.

For anyone planning a wedding, I HIGHLY recommend pre-marital counseling. For interfaith couples, it might take a little searching at first, but it is possible to find a rabbi and a minister (or whatever clergy you need) willing to really work with you. Both our rabbi and our minister are very committed to helping us build a strong interfaith relationship, and no one is trying to convert us to either faith. Both have really emphasized to us that they’re here to provide any support and guidance that we’ll need as we build our interfaith family.

Julie Daneman