What Does the Community Agree To?
Sample Community Marriage Policies
So, What Are the Typical Results of Starting a CMP?
Hardin County KY Marriage Policy [PDF]
Some 50 pastors signed a "Wilmington Community Marriage Policy" in March, 1997.
Although each city's policy varies, this is typical of many, and is presented
below in its entirety:
Wilmington Community Marriage Policy
Our concern as area clergy is to promote lasting marriages under God and to
establish spiritually healthy families. Since almost 75 percent of marriages are
performed by clergy, we are in a unique position to dramatically affect the
marriages and families in our community. We are deeply troubled by our country's
epidemic of marital instability and divorce and feel it must be directly
addressed by the faith community. Our purpose is to enrich marriages and to
significantly reduce the divorce rate in Wilmington area congregations.
We accept, as clergy, the responsibility to raise the level of commitment in
those we marry and those married couples who look to us for spiritual
instruction. We believe that couples who seriously participate in premarital
testing and counseling will have a better understanding of what marriage
involves. We also believe that an increased commitment to marriage preparation
will result in the reduction of failed and failing marriages.
Therefore, as agents of God, acting on His behalf, we believe it is our
responsibility to encourage couples to set aside time for marriage preparation.
We acknowledge that a wedding is but a day, while a marriage is for a lifetime.
What God has joined together, let the faith community of Wilmington seek to hold
- We will normally require a minimum of four months marriage preparation.
- We will require a minimum of four counseling sessions, utilizing both the
Scripture and a premarital inventory.
- We will train mature, married couples to serve as mentors to work with engaged
couples, newlyweds, or those experiencing marital difficulties.
- We will offer two post-marital counseling sessions with clergy or a Mentor
Couple within the first year of marriage.
- We will create a support system of couples whose marriages have successfully
weathered life's challenges to assist with troubled marriages.
- We will seek to establish support systems for blended families.
- We will cooperate with other congregations and organizations to share resources
and create a positive climate in which marriages are helped to succeed.
I commit to seek the endorsement of these minimum standards by my congregation
and to encourage others to do so, for the Glory of God and the good of our whole
Name________________________ Date ___________
The following Tallahassee policy was signed by 64 pastors on January 15, 1999,
and was praised as a "model for Florida" by newly-elected Governor Jeb Bush.
Tallahassee Community Marriage Policy*
- That God has established in scripture the sanctity and companionship of
- That God intends the marriage bond between husband and wife to last a lifetime;
- That as church leaders we have a responsibility to provide premarital
preparation to every engaged couple. This will improve their understanding of
marriage and deepen their mutual commitment;
- That as clergy we have a responsibility to provide ongoing support to strengthen
and nourish existing marriages.
Therefore We Will:
- Encourage a courtship of at least one year;
- Expect a minimum of five counseling sessions for engaged couples, preferably
over a 3-4 month period, with one session devoted to taking a premarital test or
inventory (FOCCUS, Prepare); one devoted to insuring a biblical understanding of
morality, marriage, and divorce; and one devoted to a post-marriage follow-up;
- Train mature married couples to serve as mentors to those who are engaged, newly
married, experiencing marriage difficulties, or remarried;
- Encourage retreats, classes, and marriage enrichment opportunities designed to
build and strengthen marriages;
- Develop and implement programs for troubled marriages using counseling,
retreats, and mentoring by couples (including those whose own marriages were
once in trouble);
- Promote sexual abstinence outside of marriage
- Promote faithful marital relationships
- Set an example as pastors by attending couples' retreats and being involved in
other relationship enrichment activities;
- Take this covenant back to our church to be ratified by the appropriate church