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The Nearly Wed's Fight Club

"For our next session I'd like you to come with something to fight about. I won' t take sides. I just like to watch people talk, and then I'll offer some feedback."

That usually gets the couple's attention. It makes for lively, interesting premarital counseling. It's also effective.

I have been doing this "come-and-have-a-fight" technique for seven years. It started when I moved to a new pastorate on the coast of Maine. Our picturesque, high-steepled church sits on the village green. It's the focal point of our town. Locals drive by every day, and vacationers pass by on their way to the beach. Through the years many young women have apparently said to themselves, "When I get married, I want it to be in that church." So, we do a lot of weddings, 40 to 70 each year.

I don't want to be a pastor-for-hire. It's important that I minister to each couple before performing their wedding ceremony. In my last parish, a small country church, I did far fewer weddings, four to eight a year. I would meet ...

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