Christian Pre-Marital Counseling, Asian-American Style

(The following was originally posted on The Good Book Blog in four parts by Dr. Benjamin Shin. It is presented here in its entirety with minor edits for flow.) Unique Cultural Needs of an Asian-American Couple Recently, a friend contacted me and asked for a resource in pre-marital counseling that would be specific to some of the unique cultural needs of an Asian-American couple. I thought about this for a while and realized that I was not familiar with such a curriculum. I explained to him that I typically use material by Family Life’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey and add my own insights on some of the challenges for Asian-Americans in preparing to get married. Simply put, the biggest difference in counseling an Asian-American couple in pre-marital counseling boils down to issues related to family relationships, especially in regards to parents and in-laws. This will be examined in light of some well-known passages that address this topic. Typically, this begins with the passage in Genesis 2:24 which states, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” This idea has been termed by Christians as the concept of “leaving and cleaving.” In other words, the newly married couple leaves the comforts, financial support, and authority of his/her respective parents and then cleaves to one another as they start a brand new family entity. This allows for growth, maturity, responsibility, independence, and a future lineage to begin. In light of this biblical idea, there is a difference of interpretation between Western and Eastern interpreters, not necessarily on the...