“Pastor, Would You Do Our Wedding?”: 20 Questions to Think About Ahead of Time

At some point every minister will hear this question: “Pastor, would you do our wedding?” And that is not the moment when you should begin to formulate principles and guidelines on the issue of weddings. You should develop convictions on the subject, or at least have an idea of where you land on certain questions, as soon as possible. The context for the following questions is a man and woman wanting you to officiate their wedding. Pastors will not always agree on the answers, but these are the questions you must think through:

(1) Will you do weddings for people who are not members of your church?

(2) Will you make premarital counseling a condition to officiating the wedding?

(3) If “yes” to #3, will you insist on giving the premarital counseling yourself?

(4) If one person professes to be a Christian while the other does not, what will you do next?

(5) If one person is a Christian and the other is not, would you offer premarital counseling but not officiate the wedding?

(6) Would you consider marrying two unbelievers?

(7) If two professing Christians are living together before marriage, do you perform the wedding as soon as possible, or do you ask one of them to move out until the wedding?

(8) Would you insist that the couple read any books together, and would your book choices differ if the couple were unbelievers?

(9) How would you handle a situation where one or both sets of the couple’s parents were against the wedding?

(10) How would you proceed if you discovered that the couple’s relationship began in adultery?

(11) Would you officiate a wedding where one (or both) has a previous spouse still alive who is unmarried?

(12) Would you officiate a wedding where one (or both) has a previous spouse still alive who has remarried?

(13) If you believe there is biblical support for divorce in certain cases, does a biblical divorce in the past of one or both people permit remarriage?

(14) If you believe there is biblical support for divorce and yet a divorce occurred for unbiblical reasons in the past of one or both people, would you officiate the wedding?

(15) How would you proceed if a couple–one a professing Christian and the other not–has had children together?

(16) Could there be any practical issues that might make you reconsider officiating a wedding (such as a couple’s financial instability, lack of steady employment, differing views on manhood and womanhood, differing views on raising children, vast age difference, irreconcilable denominational convictions, etc.)?

(17) How would you proceed if you learned that there had been physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in the relationship?

(18) How would you proceed if you learned that one or both of the persons had a criminal background?

(19) Would you make it a condition that you preach the Gospel at the wedding, no matter if the couple consists of believers or unbelievers?

(20) Have you thoroughly studied passages like Genesis 2:18-25, Ezra 10:18-44, Song of Songs, Ezekiel 16, Malachi 2:10-16, Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:1-10, Mark 10:1-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:1-6, 1 Corinthians 7, 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Peter 3:1-7, Revelation 19:6-9, Revelation 21:1-5?

No couple is exactly alike, so more questions, sub-questions, and follow-up questions may be necessary for you to make a decision. The previous twenty can lead to some pretty tough conversations, so pastors must pray for a heart of humility and words of kindness.


What a delight marriage is! And what a joy these eight years of marriage to Stacie have been. This poem celebrates that.

July 30, 2013

Eight: the number of the years
Since face to face we spoke
The vows that made a covenant
That we will not revoke.

By the goodness of our God
The Two left One for life,
As I became the husband to
The woman now my wife.

For these eight the joy has been
A fountain overflowing,
Full of blessings undeserved,
With love and laughter growing.

The story we have lived for years
Is part of something greater:
A union of the Church and Christ,
The Bride and her Redeemer.

May our daily lives together
Show and tell this Story,
As we await the Wedding Feast
With Christ the Groom in glory.

Article for JBMW: “God’s Judgment on His Blessing: How Genesis 1:28 Informs the Punishments on Adam and Eve”

In the latest installment (18.1) of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (JBMW), I wrote an article on pp. 16-21 about how Genesis 1:28 serves as an important backdrop to the punishments on Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.

The new installment of the journal is now live, and my article is called “God’s Judgment on His Blessing: How Genesis 1:28 Informs the Punishments on Adam and Eve.”

The outline of the article looks like this:
I. Introduction
II. The Creation Commission
III. The Context of the Judgments
IV. Echoes of Genesis 1:28 in 3:16
A. Pain in Childbearing
B. Domination in Marriage
Echoes of Genesis 1:28 in 3:17-19
A. Toilsome Work
B. Death in the Dust
V. Implications for Readers of Genesis
VI. Conclusion


My 5 Favorite Marriage Books

I love being married and always want to have great resources that challenge and exhort me as the husband and head of the home.  In no particular order, here are my 5 favorite marriage books:

(1) What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul Tripp
(2) When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey
(3) This Momentary Marriage by John Piper
(4) The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
(5) Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

If you’re in search of a great marriage book, I hope you enjoy any or all of the above.