Through lots of trial and error, my wife Lea and I, have survived 26 years of marriage. After dating for four years, we married when we were very young and didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. While we were best friends, we were also two very different people. I was an extrovert while she was an introvert. I loved mornings while she was a night owl. She is organized, detailed and very tidy while I am a bit on the unorganized side, a little sloppy and don’t care too much for details. Taking two very different people and making them function together in marriage was not something that happened by accident. We became very proactive in our marriage. We attended lots of marriage seminars, marriage workshops, and read lots of books on how to build a strong marriage. One of the best things we discovered was to allow one another to be who God made us to be. Instead of spending all our time trying to “fix” or change the other, we started accepting one another for who God created us to be. While our marriage is not perfect, 26 years later it is very good.
We have discovered that we love mentoring and coaching other couples on how to strengthen their marriages. We don’t claim to be marriage counselors, but the role of “marriage coach” is something we enjoy. We simply share things that worked and did not work for us and allow other couples to benefit from our mistakes and our victories.
We have fallen in love with marriage ministry, and God has opened doors for us to share our thoughts and ideas in retreat and lectureship settings with other couples. In the past five years, God has really blessed our little marriage ministry and it has taken off like wildfire. We created what we call “Stronger Marriage Workshops,” and a few years ago churches began to invite us to share with their congregations and their communities ways to strengthen marriages. Our Stronger Marriage Workshops have now become a regular part of our ministry. We cover topics like myths about marriage, what your spouse needs from you, sex and intimacy in marriage, marriage killers, how to recover from an affair, how to affair proof your marriage, and give marriage challenges. We feel our material is contemporary, Bible based, fun and easy to follow.
Because of my full-time work as the senior minister for the Church of Christ in Childress, Texas and still having one of our four sons at home, we try not to schedule more than 12 to 14 marriage workshops each year throughout the US. God has blessed this marriage ministry so well that we could be gone every weekend for a workshop if we had the time. Currently we are staying booked up about a year and a half in advance, and because I have to be home to preach on most Sundays, our workshops are either Friday night and Saturday morning or all day Saturday.
Besides strengthening marriages in our workshops, we have found that lots of people from a community will come to a marriage seminar if they are invited. Community people may not attend a gospel meeting, but they’ll come in droves to a marriage workshop. Last year alone, 10 workshops that we did had more community visitors attend than actual members of the congregation that was hosting the workshop. Many of the congregations use the workshop as an opportunity to follow up and invite the couples back the following Sunday. We enjoy hearing congregations tell us that they have community people who now attend worship with them because the Stronger Marriage Workshop got them in the doors.
One of the other areas in which we feel God has really opened the door to us is our social media marriage ministry. We have a page on Facebook that was simply intended to let people know of upcoming workshops, but it has become a ministry within itself with over 20,000 followers. Every day we post Godly marriage advice that shows up on 20k plus Facebook timeline feeds. Some of the posts are shared so many times that they reach upwards to 100,000 people. We are overwhelmed to think that sometimes God uses that page to send positive Godly marriage advice out to over 100k people on Facebook.
Personally we believe that strong churches and strong communities are made up of strong families … and that starts with building strong marriages. Hollywood and our society share their beliefs about marriage, intimacy and sexuality every day via the television, Facebook, movies, etc. We believe in telling God’s side of the story on those subjects.
We are very blessed that God has opened the door to this little marriage ministry. We are thankful we are able to give positive biblical feedback on what God intended for healthy marriages. We will continue to minister through workshops and social media to help others build strong marriages. God has opened some amazing doors to our “Stronger Marriage Workshops” ministry. If you would be interested in following us on Facebook, you can find us at Facebook.com/StrongerMarriageWorkshops or we have a promo video on YouTube @ http://youtu.be/1ALDxwZdWSA and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org