We’re Engaged! Now What?
Welcome to Kensington’s Marriage Preparation page! We’re honored that you’ve considered us as you begin to make plans for your life together. This season of preparation and expectation is an exciting one. We want to share our heartfelt congratulations with each newly engaged couple;but we’re especially focused on the many seasons to come. As beautiful as your wedding day will be, it’s your 10th, 20th, or 50th anniversaries that are absolutely stunning. Whether you choose to complete your marriage preparation with us or elsewhere, we encourage you to invest in your future by preparing now.
What Does Kensington Offer?
We want you to experience a strong marriage that lasts a lifetime. The best way to prepare is to learn about God’s design for marriage, seek wise advice, and discover any underlying expectations. Kensington is here to encourage and equip you to grow in a relationship that honors God and one another.We consider the individual needs of each couple, but generally our process looks like this:
Phase 1 – Introduction – you fill out an online profile, then meet with a staff member or marriage mentor so we can get to know you and your story.
Phase 2 – Introspection – you will complete on online personality inventory that will help you (and us) better understand your relationship dynamics, your strength areas and your opportunities for growth.
Phase 3 – Relationship – You will schedule regular meetings with a marriage mentor couple or counselor for six or more sessions. You will be in relationship with your mentors or counselor as you learn more about yourself, your fiancé and the building blocks of a strong marriage.
We’re So Happy – Why Bother With All of This?
Some may think talking through expectations and potential issues at this stage will rob them of joy, but we know that the opposite is true. Laying a strong foundation of communication and faith can deepen your love, heighten your joy, and especially give you tools to help you deal with whatever comes in the future. Marriage Preparation at Kensington is not merely a checklist. We meet with you in person, spend time getting to know you as a couple, and help guide you through the process. If you’re interested in partnering with Kensington as you prepare for marriage, click NEXT to read more.
Marriage Preparation: Partnering with Kensington
We take the role of supporting couples very seriously because God Himself came up with the beautiful idea of marriage (Gen. 2:24). That’s why we’re intentional about the way we partner with couples during Marriage Preparation.
Each individual’s wholehearted participation is important to the process. Here are some things to consider to help determine if Kensington’s Marriage Preparation is a good fit for you as a couple. If you have questions or concerns regarding any of these, please don’t hesitate to contact Stephanie Valentine.
Do you call Kensington Church “home?”
Our Marriage Preparation is intended to support Kensington Church members and those who have been attending regularly for six months or more. It is only in the context of authentic community that we can truly support you during this premarital stage and on into your marriage. We want our community to be a place where you are known and where your marriage can thrive –and your regular engagement with us is the first step in making that happen.
Do you have a shared commitment to spiritual growth?
We believe your marriage will only realize its full potential when you are both actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus. However, we realize that individuals are at different points in their spiritual journeys –and that’s something to openly discuss together during Marriage Preparation.
Have you been dating for at least a year?
While a set dating period is not a Biblical mandate, we believe it wise to invest at least a year in learning about one another and marriage. (One common thought is to see each other through “four seasons and a crisis”). In light of the permanent nature of a marriage relationship, we encourage at least one year of dating. There is no shortcut to building intimacy, trust, and communication.
Are you setting aside a time of preparation before you marry?
Moving from a dating relationship to a marriage covenant takes time. We want you to get the most out of this experience, so please invite us in before you begin reserving venues and choosing flowers. We have found it most helpful when couples set aside six months or so. If you have extenuating circumstances, we would be happy to talk it through with you and help determine what’s best.
Are you both willing to meet regularly with a premarital mentor or counselor?
The more you, as a couple, put into this process, the more you will get out of it. We believe sitting down with a mentoring couple can be a valuable resource and encouragement to you. Your mentors will be selected based on your particular needs and circumstances.
If you’re remarrying after a divorce, have you had a lengthy season of intentional personal healing prior to reentering the dating scene?
We understand the pain divorce can cause. We also know that the Father is a God of redemption, healing, and grace. So, before you consider remarriage, we ask that at least one year has passed since the time of your finalized divorce and that you have engaged in the critical time of personal healing. This will help you recover, process your loss and pain, and explore God’s direction for your life. We also strongly recommend that you attend a Divorce Recovery program which can facilitate that healing.
Are you open to surrendering sexual intimacy during your engagement?
Today’s culture views living together and sexual intimacy as natural and even necessary; but God calls for a different and ultimately healthier choice in the Bible. Your engagement is a critical time of preparation and clarity, and nothing gets in the way of it more than sex before you are married.
For that and many other reasons, wechallenge couples to practice abstinence throughout the Marriage Preparation process and until their wedding date. Situations differ, but we most often ask engaged couples to live in separate residences for the duration of the engagement.
We know this can be a sensitive issue. If you find these challenges difficult because of your circumstances, we encourage you to request a meeting with our Director of Care Initiatives before making your final decision about partnering with Kensington for Marriage Preparation.
Marriage Preparation: Getting Started
We’re so glad you’ve decided to pursue partnering with Kensington to prepare for your marriage! Here are your next steps:
NOTE: THIS PROCESS TAKES APPROXIMATELY 6 MONTHS
1. Contact Stephanie Valentine to begin the Marriage Preparation process.
2. Complete Online Couple Profile: Each member of the couple will be sent a link to complete an individual profile.
3. Schedule Initial Meeting: Once the Couple Profile has been completed, we will contact you to set up a meeting with a mentor or staff member.
4. Contact Chapel Director: If you are interested in usingthe Troy Campus Chapel or having a Kensington pastor officiate your wedding, contact the Chapel Director at Debbie.Popchock@kensingtonchurch.org.
5. Complete Preparation Questionnaire: Each member of the couple will completeaPreparation Questionnaireto help us understand you better as a couple and to prepare you well to work through potential challenges in the relationship. A link will be sent to both of you after your initial meeting.
6. Review Meeting: Once the Preparation Questionnaire is completed, we will contact you to set up an appointment to review the results and make a recommendation for mentorship or counseling for the remaining weeks of your Marriage Preparation.
7. Meet With Your Mentor/Counselor Regularly: For approximately six sessions, you’ll sit down with your mentor or counselor for honest, encouraging dialogue about your future together as a married couple.
If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Valentine, Marriage Coordinator at Stephanie.Valentine@kensingtonchurch.org.