Due to our society's deteriorated values of the
sacredness of marriage, an increasing number of ministers require premarital
counseling with couples before they will perform a marriage ceremony. Years
past, when divorce was less frequent and children had better family role
models, such counseling was not as common. Counseling will usually establish
a scriptural foundation for marriage and try to prepare them for the
inevitable challenges ahead.
A minister generally feels that he has been given a sacred trust by God to perform a marriage, and will be reluctant to discharge such functions for a couple who are obviously unprepared. Many ministers may refuse to perform a marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever, between persons who have been previously divorced without scriptural grounds, or for other reasons of conscience.