GNC Marriage Guidelines
Guidelines to regulate courtships, marriage contracts and the celebration of marriages in the Goodnews Chapel, Benue State University, Makurdi and other ancillary thereto.
These Guidelines may be referred to as ‘The Marriage Guidelines’
WHEREAS marriage is a God-ordained institution and is central to God’s plan for the human race;
AND WHEREAS marriage is a major factor in determining the strength and unity of the Church because if the home is Christ centered, then the Church would be Christ centered;
AND WHEREAS proper and adequate counseling is crucial for every intending couple in the interest and general well being of the Church;
AND WHEREAS the desire to marry is legitimate, proper and scriptural: marriage being honorable in all and the bed undefiled (Heb 13:4)
These guidelines therefore are designed to help the church guide prospective marriage couple with the scriptures as the final authority.
2.0 MARRIAGE COMMITEE
There shall be a Marriage Committee in the Chapel appointed by the Chapel Council for tenure of three (3) years and subject to renewal.
The Marriage Committee shall comprise seven members as follows:
- Chairman (Appointed)
- Men’s Rep.
- Women’s Rep
- Students’ Rep
- Medical Doctor
A 2/3 majority of members shall form the quorum for any meeting
- Shall prayerfully give counsel to the youths and intending couple in line with the scriptures.
- Shall assist the prospective in their marriage project.
- Shall supervise the wedding arrangements in the Chapel to ensure that all things are done in accordance with the scriptures.
- Shall assist the Council in handling marital issues in the Chapel by visiting families with problems with the aim of resolving such and restoring their homes.
- Shall recommend marriage policy to Chapel Council and coordinate marriage programmes of the Chapel.
3.0 FINDING A PARTNER
3.1 Brethren are expected to personally pray to God for guidance and direction.
3.2 They are however encouraged to seek godly counsel from the Chaplain and or older and matured brethren before making or accepting a marriage proposal.
3.3 After they are convinced under God, they should make their intention known in writing to the Chapel Marriage Committee through the Chaplain.
3.4 The Chapel Marriage Committee will then commence preliminary counseling session to ascertain the suitability or otherwise of the intending couple.
3.5 Detailed counseling commences only after the Marriage Committee has ascertained the conviction and the suitability of the intending couple.
3.6 The prospective couple must present a written consent from both parents to the Marriage Committee. Where parents are not in agreement, the Chapel leadership should be duly informed for necessary intervention.
4.1 The courtship period is a time of praying, planning and preparing together of the intending couple of their future home. The intending couple is therefore expected to develop their relationship by involving themselves in healthy Christian conducts. They must conduct themselves in holiness and wi8th a high sense of responsibility and chastity.
4.2 Intending couple is advised not to allow the courtship period to exceed one year but should not less than six months unless there are good reasons to justify the exclusion of this rule.
4.3 The intending couple must not:
- be living together or
- engage in premarital sex and any other activity.
5.0 WEDDING IN THE CHAPEL
5.1 Eligibility: at least one of the prospective couple and/or their parents must have been a consistent and committed member of the Chapel for a period not less than one (1) year. Provided that non-Chapel members may apply to be wedded in the Chapel. Where such application is made, it may be approved by the Council upon receipt of a letter of good standing from their Church or ministry head and a favorable recommendation from the Chapel Marriage Committee after careful counseling of the intending couple. if such is given by Council, the wedding can take place in the Chapel.
5.2 The prospective couple must be physically, emotionally matured. they must have grown to an age that they can think and plan independently. They must be able to make decisions and be responsible for the consequences of such.
5.3 None of the prospective couple must be under any form of marriage, betrothal or similar commitment with any other person besides the person he/she intends to be married to in the Chapel.
5.4 None of the prospective couple must be a divorcee whose spouse is still living.
5.5 There shall be no lawful or scriptural hindrance between the intending couple.
5.6 The marriage age of the intending couple notwithstanding is acceptable however to the provision of the Marriage Act in this regard. If any of the couple is below the age of 21, then his/her parents should give their consent as provided in paragraph 3.6 above.
5.7 The Goodnews Chapel as a matter of religious doctrine recognizes only marriage(s) between man and woman (one wife, one husband) to the exclusion of all others.
5.8 The conversion experience of both intending couple should not be doubt; they must be born again.
6.0 MARRIAGE COUNSELING
6.1 The intending couple shall submit themselves for counseling by the Marriage committee. They shall attend marriage counseling sessions for a period as many be prescribed by the Marriage Committee.
6.2 After the marriage committee completes its counseling sessions with the intending couple the committee shall request for approval from the council. Provided that the committee may not approve a wedding after recommendation of the Marriage Committee if the relationship suffers a scriptural disability.
6.3 The intending couple shall undergo the following tests before wedding:
- blood group
6.4 The intending bride shall in addition to the above undergo a pregnancy test.
6.5 The test shall be conducted by a Chapel-approved physician and the results submitted directly to the Marriage Committee not the intending couple.
6.6 HIV/AIDS and genotype tests shall be conducted before approval is given to the intendi9ng couple to commence courtship while pregnancy test will be two weeks before the wedding date. The intending couple is therefore expected under God, to faithfully follow the guidelines with utmost honesty in the submission of specimens of the Laboratory Departments.
6.7 Submissions of the specimens must be timely represent the person they are meant to represent. Council shall not condone misrepresentation of specimens, dishonesty or fraud in any guise regarding submission of specimens. To avoid the last minutes disappointment therefore, the intending couple is advised to follow stipulations with diligence.
6.8 Where the laboratory results are of such the marriage between the two is not advisable, Council may so advice, and in fact shall have no legal obligation to conduct the marriage.
6.9 In special circumstances (like in HIV/AIDS or sickle cell of severe degree) where the couple strongly insist in getting wedded and are of strong Christian faith, the church may wed if it is satisfied that the intending couple understand the implication of the contract they are about to enter into, and then wedding will be done after they have signed an Informed Consent Form with the Chapel’s approval physician.
6.10 where laboratory test indicate pre-marital pregnancy, the chapel shall not conduct the marriage.
7.0 ANNOUNCEMENT OF WEDDING
7.1 The wedding shall be announced on three consecutive Sundays during Sunday Services before the wedding day; persons with genuine objections against the wedding should present them to the Marriage Committee during these announcements.
7.2 Wedding dates should not be fixed until the Council approves the wedding
7.3 The intending couple or their parents may communicate suggested wedding dates to the Marriage Committee not later than six (6) months to such intended dates. Such dates however shall be subject to the approval of the Council.
7.4 It is the Marriage Committee in conjunction with the Chaplain/Officiating Minister and the intending couple that shall fixe the final and acceptable wedding date for the Chapel.
7.5 No intending couple or their parents shall impose a wedding date on the Chapel.
7.6 Notwithstanding anything contained in these guidelines. The Council and the Marriage Committee may choose a particular date in a month, quarter, or year to conduct weddings, in which case two or more couple may be joined on the same day and at the same time. Intending couple would therefore prepare their hearts to accept such arrangements.
8.0 THE WEDDING SERVICE
8.1 the outline, content and duration of the wedding service programme along with officiating ministers shall be drawn up by the Chaplain and the prospective couple.
8.2 the dress code of the intending couple and bridal train should be modest, not exposing sensitive parts of the body. Long slits at the back are not allowed and the length of the gown should reach the ankle, as well as covering the chest to the neck line.
8.3 Under no circumstances would public spraying of cash be allowed during wedding services in the Chapel.
8.4 Offering received during wedding services is entirely for the Chapel.
8.5 All members of the Chapel are expected to participate fully in Chapel weddings.
9.0 WEDING RECEPTION PROGRAMME
9.1 Every wedding reception programme must be approved by the marriage committee prior to the said date.
9.2 Any reception planned in conjunction with the Chapel or in the premises of the Chapel must not attracts comedians and such traditional entertainers that have not the goal of glorifying Jesus Christ.
9.3 spraying cash is not allowed. Rather, the money should be given to the couple privately for their use or in an envelope and placed in a tray.
9.4 The reception, just like the wedding should be modest.
10.0 TRADITIONAL WEDDING/ENGAGEMENT
10.1 The Chapel shall support prospective couple counseled by the Marriage Committee in kind and presence during the traditional wedding/engagement programmes. However, the Chapel frowns at any unbiblical practices. The marriage committee shall delegate a person to attend the traditional wedding.
10.2 in case where a prospective couple wishes to contract their marriage through native custom or court wedding and where the couple have consummated their marriage after traditional/native or court wedding, the Chapel may only conduct a church blessing for their marriage at their request and after due interview by the marriage committee to ascertain if Biblical principles on marriage were adequately followed by the couple.
10.3 However, the Chapel shall as a matter of policy discourage her members from contracting their marriage outside the church. Traditional and court/registry wedding should only serve as preludes to the church wedding.
11.1 Where any situation arises that is not covered by these guidelines, the Marriage Committee may take such action as shall be consistent with Holy Scriptures, however in consultation with the Council in respect of that situation.
12.0 USE OF THE GUIDELINES
12.1 a copy of these guidelines shall be given to every prospective couple in the Goodnews Chapel as soon as they declare the intention.
12.2 each subgroup in the Chapel shall be in possession of a copy of this guideline which shall be read to the subgroup members from time to time by the leaders.
12.3 This Guidelines acknowledges that the willing submission of the intending couple be counseled after they must have perused the document is assumed that they have consented to the contents of the guidelines.
13.1 intending couple is to take note that although the guidelines imposed by the Council through the Marriage Committee are advisory in nature; the couple is not to treat the Council’s advise with levity.
13.2 The church disclaims and absolves itself from any litigation arising in this matter.
13.3 This guideline is in compliance with the Marriage Act cap 218 Laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990. Section 21 26, with exceptional understanding that the Christian Marriage is a contract under God and divorce is not in contemplation once marriage is concluded.
14.1 This Marriage guidelines are not to be altered or amend by anybody except due process of amendment is followed. a member of Marriage Committee may suggest areas of amendment in writing to the Chapel. the Council after deliberation on the said amendment and found them to be necessary and scriptural may affect such alteration of the Guidelines.
In these Guidelines, unless the context otherwise require;
‘Chapel’ means the Goodnews Chapel, Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi.
‘Marriage Committee’ means the Marriage Committee of The Goodnews Chapel, BSU, Makurdi.
‘Council’ means the church Council of The Goodnews Chapel, Benue State University, (BSU), Makurdi.
‘Chaplain’ means the presiding Pastor/Spiritual head of The Goodnews Chapel, Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi.
‘Born Again’ means to accept Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and living a life that is consistent with the life of Christ.
‘Scriptural Disability’ means legal disqualifier-something that causes somebody to be regarded in law as ineligible to perform a specific transaction which in this case is the Scriptural disability an individual for marriage under Biblical principles.