Pre-Marital Counseling for 2d and Subsequent Marriages: A New Guide for Clergy

   One of the more interesting challenges that face clergy is when an older adult couple presents themselves to discuss marriage.

Are there different questions that need to be asked? Is the nature of the pre-marital counseling experience different from when a clergy person works with a young couple in their initial marriage? Experience tells us that the answer is yes.

   There are several tools that have been developed to help clergy work with couples. The emphasis of most of them have been on people being married for the first time.

But when someone in their 50s. or 60s or 70s or beyond comes to us; they bring a different set of concerns. Is one or both of the individuals widowed or divorced? Are estates settled? What is the role and place of adult children in this new marriage? Is there a need for a pre-nuptial arrangement? We know that the rise in divorce in this country is statistically more relevant among Baby Boomers. With longevity has come a new need for an expanded approach to pre-marital discussions and counseling.

   It is to this reality that we have will focus the August 12 SEEKERS OF MEANING podcast/tv on this subject. Rabbinic Pastor Carl Viniar will discuss his completed project for his ordination from the seminary on developing a comprehensive guide to pre-marital counseling for second and subsequent marriages, emphasizing older adults. The Guide for this is posted now on On our web site is the complete Guide and a handy brief 2-page summary of key questions that need to be looked at. To access the Guide go to the web site. Click on RESOURCES at the top of the site, scroll down to STUDY GUIDES and click on Reb Carl Viniar’s Manual for Clergy Engagaged in Pre-Marital Counseling With Older Adults.

   Carl is developing a more comprehensive web site of his own but is available for consultation at  If you are clergy or an officiant that works with this community of elders, we invite you to connect with this new guide. For a further discussion on this guide please join Carl as he discusses this project on this week’s edition of our SEEKERS IN MEANING podcast/tv. Carl’s podcast will post Friday August 12 and remain “live” for a week and then will be archived on our web site. To listen go to


Rabbi Richard F Address

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