The Marriage Course: A Perfect Gift

by Marcus Wolfe, Immanuel attendee

We committed early in our marriage that we would do something for our marriage every year to keep it strong — be it a conference or speaker, a retreat, a book read together or a seminar.  While we have not quite managed to do something EVERY year we have done things many years, and several years ago that something was The Marriage Course offered at Immanuel.  We did this not because our marriage was in trouble but because we wanted to keep it strong.

Our typical week was to do our homework for the course together on Thursday evening and then go to the class on Friday night.  The Friday night get-together became a glass of refreshing water in an otherwise hectic and busy week.  It was something we looked forward to each week — both the class and our time together doing the homework.  We carved out date night for 7 weeks, compete with food, drinks and quality time together.

marriage course logo NEWEach Friday night when we arrived, very friendly greeters gave us name tags and took our drink orders for later in the evening.  Then we were free to mingle for a little while and enjoy the scrumptious appetizers and beverages that were provided each week — and each week was different!  Soon we would make our way into a room that was filled with small tables, decorated with tablecloths, candles & small vases of flowers. Each couple sat at their own table.  This was important, as it created an intimate and a very non-threatening environment.  We would then watch a video of a couple from Britain with a charming accent, along with short interview clips of other couples who had taken the course or people interviewed on the streets about the topic of marriage for that week.  Often the video was quite entertaining as well as informative.  While we have been to quite a few marriage seminars and classes in the past, this course offered some new insights and some old information presented in a different way that helped make it new again.

A couple times each evening, the video was stopped to give us all time to work with our spouses on the topic of the evening.  We all had workbooks to help guide the conversations.  Sometimes the dialogues could get a little challenging, and other times they were pleasurable.  But they all helped us learn more about our spouses and helped us understand their background, point of view and desires better.  And again, none of this was performed as a group exercise….  Every couple discussed things as a couple and everything was kept private between the two.

During the last section of the video for the evening, delicious desserts and gourmet drinks were brought around for us all to enjoy.  Again, each week was a different treat — how did they do it week after week!

Each Friday evening we left the church with food for thought about our own past and current behaviors, as well as those of our spouses.  We were armed with methods for discussing difficult topics with our spouse and for breaking down barriers that may have once stood in the way of intimacy.

If God is nudging you to take the course listen to Him.  He knows what is coming up and what you need.  For us,This course came at an especially stressful time for both of us, and it actually strengthened our marriage. Later in the year we were stretched even further as a couple as we faced foreclosure on our home.  We went into that scenario a stronger, more committed couple because we had just finished The Marriage Course.

God has had us both on a whirlwind of growth the last two years, but as we look back on it we recognize the time really started when we agreed to listen to that still voice calling us to this course.  From there we went on to do Vantage Point 3, a spiritual journey together in the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 and Jessica went to Mexico on a short term trip in the Summer of 2012.  All of these have strengthened us, but they have also required we step out in faith and obedience to what we felt God was calling us to do.  So we encourage you, if you are feeling this MIGHT be for you – then IT IS!  Listen to God’s calling and invest in your marriage.

Click HERE to register for The Marriage Course! The next session beings January 18, 2013!

Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to partner with God in His work of transforming lives. Thank you!

The Marriage Course: A Perfect Gift

by Linda Hawn, Immanuel attendee

Whether you’ve been married for days or decades, The Marriage Course can benefit and strengthen your marriage; I speak from experience.

marriage course logo NEWWe’d heard quite a bit about The Marriage Course during Sunday services, and I was very curious about it.  At the time, we’d been married 28 years and everything was going well, but I’m a medical laboratory technologist and I’m analytical by nature; this was an opportunity to focus on our relationship and see what we could be doing differently or better to keep our marriage healthy.  My husband Paul knew I wanted to sign up and, since it was early February, he agreed to it.  Happy Valentine’s Day to Lin from Paul!  Shopping done, and no gift wrap needed!

Here’s how a typical Marriage Course evening went for us.  We were greeted by members of the Marriage Course team and orders for specialty beverages were served with dessert during a class break.  Music played as we headed into the lobby and a delicious spread of hors d’oeuvres awaited.  Here’s a tip – you don’t need to eat supper before you go to class.  Every week has a different theme.  It was fun to see what was waiting for us.

After grazing and chatting, we moved into the classroom.  It was filled with tables for two, complete with flowers and candles.  The course involved watching a DVD and was interspersed with breaks along the way, which gave us a chance to talk just the two of us using questions, quizzes and exercises from a workbook to direct our conversations.  There was no group discussion.   Whew, sigh of relief.

The DVD series was produced in the United Kingdom so we heard lots of English accents.  What is it about English accents that’s so intriguing to us Americans?  Anyway, I digress.  I had told Paul that if he was bored during class he could draw up a tic-tac-toe board, and I would play along.  We didn’t need to play tic-tac-toe.  Paul found that the video and workbook facilitated the discussion periods and led us into conversations we’d never had before.  There were a few times when our jaws dropped and we were looking at each other in surprise, saying things like, “Really?” and “I never heard that before.” and “I’m sorry, I didn’t know …”   I won’t share those moments of enlightenment; no group discussion, remember?

The topics of the seven classes are:  Building a Strong Foundation (we considered it Shoring up our Foundation), Communication, Resolving Conflict, Forgiveness, Family – Past & Present, Good Sex and Love in Action.  During class, it was just the two of us at our table.  There was suggested homework to do and date nights were encouraged.  The team supporting the sessions created a comfortable environment, and they put a lot of effort into making each week special for the couples.  We were really catered to.

The Scriptures have a lot to say about the sacredness of marriage and how our unions are to reflect the oneness of Christ with His church.  In a world where evil tears good things down, please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to get some new tools to build your marriage.

Click HERE to register for The Marriage Course! The next session beings January 18, 2013!