My wife, Cindy, and I have been married since 1976. A growing, personal relationship with God has made all the difference in our relationship with each other. Unfortunately, a lasting marriage is the exception these days, even in our churches. Many couples in our nondenominational congregation have been married two and three times and some have chosen to live together without marriage.
Among the 500 people who attend our church weekly, there are many needs; we believe that one of the most important of these needs is the health of our marriages. It was this concern that led us to do something about strengthening marriages in our church body.
The Art of Marriage®
I was searching for a resource to help marriages when I tuned in to FamilyLife Today® on Christian radio. That's when I heard about The Art of Marriage video series. After going to FamilyLife's website, I decided that this was something we could offer our church and even extend the opportunity to those in the community. I told our senior pastor about The Art of Marriage and he said that it sounded good.
We've since used The Art of Marriage twice at our church, and found it very helpful. Last summer we turned a six-week study into 11 weeks, allowing plenty of time to go through the material and have discussions. About 30-35 people faithfully attended it.
Recently we had an Art of Marriage event on a Friday evening and Saturday. One of the 11 couples attending it had been separated for four years. They had been trying to get their marriage back together, and told me that The Art of Marriage had helped them make a commitment to work things out. Two other couples shared similar stories.
An engaged couple said that they had not anticipated selfishness being a problem in their marriage. Because of The Art of Marriage, they said that they were better prepared for marriage, that their eyes had been opened.
Calling people back to marriage
It's time for the church to call people back to God's design for marriage. It's being set aside as not necessary, when it's the very foundation of any society. The world needs to see the church living out God's design for marriage.
As an associate pastor, I have so much to do and so many subjects on my heart. FamilyLife gave me some excellent resources to strengthen the marriages in our church. All I had to do was invest some time, do some planning, and put The Art of Marriage on our church schedule. My hope was that God would work through The Art of Marriage material, and I believe He did!
God ordained marriage. He can heal broken hearts, and He can make broken marriages whole.
Bob Laird is the administrator, associate pastor, and minister of
education for Evangelistic Temple Church in Palestine, Texas. He and his
wife, Cindy, have 10 children.
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