Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 71–88 | Cite as

You must leave before you can cleave: A family systems approach to premarital pastoral work

  • Kenneth R. Mitchell
  • Herbert Anderson


We advocate the use of a family systems approach to premarital pastoral work, involving exploration of the families of origin of the intended spouses. Family systems theory argues that a marriage is like a merger of two corporations, each having its own stockholders; thus, adequate preparation for marriage involves coming to terms with the realities of one's family of origin and that of one's intended spouse. Exploratory techniques include genograms, house tours, family photo albums, and discussions of the rules and rituals in the respective families. Leaving father and mother is the central prerequisite to marriage.


System Theory Cross Cultural Psychology Family System Pastoral Work Exploratory Technique 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth R. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Herbert Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Eden Theological SeminaryWebster Groves
  2. 2.Wartburg Theological SeminaryDubuque

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