Summertime, and wedding season is in full swing. Couples everywhere are standing before their families, friends, and God and committing to love, honor, and cherish one another until death do they part. It is a beautiful covenant, sealed with a kiss. Roll credits! Everyone lives happily ever after! Right?
Marriage does not have to be hard, but it does require maintenance through two essential tools: Grace from and for each spouse and Intentionality to stay connected. Launching new coaching groups in January 2018, Grace Marriage will give married couples in Owensboro and across the region the opportunity to receive the support they need to consistently use these tools!
Grace Marriage was founded by Brad and Marilyn Rhoads as a proactive approach to fostering healthy, vibrant, fun marriages. By partnering with churches through small groups, couples receive marriage coaching that allows them to have the space and time to appreciate each other, discuss concerns, and get on the same page about the direction of their families. Grace Marriage is all about taking a good marriage and making it the fairy tale.
So How Does Grace Marriage Work?
Local churches implement Grace Marriage as a ministry for the couples of their congregations. Small groups of couples meet once every three months for six hours of dedicated marriage upkeep. At some church locations childcare and meals are provided to ensure that this time is protected from distractions. One of the group members, a trained facilitator, keeps the day moving through a progression of topics. Every meeting includes a time for gratitude. Couples have 10 minutes or so to think and write about why they appreciate their spouses, then they have a few minutes to share with their spouses, and then a few minutes to share with the whole group if they desire. Rather than lectures and to-do lists, this formula of reflection, one-on-one connection, and group sharing continues throughout the day.
Couples are given time to plan date nights for the upcoming quarter and share ideas about how to make sure that time together is held a top priority. And, couples are taught how to use the example of Christ to give each other and themselves grace to make mistakes, to have a bad week, and to change and grow as their marriage friendship deepens. Brad Rhoads explains, “If we put our focus on forgiveness and loving despite offense instead of taking offense, our marriages can grow from the secure foundation of Christ. Our sin is not held against us so we can have a relationship with God. Then, we don’t hold sin against one another so we can have intimate relationships.”
Grace Marriage is an ongoing program because marriages will always need maintenance. It is designed so that couples will develop the habit of taking regular time to reflect on their marriages year after year. There is an annual cost per couple to cover materials, support, and training.
How do we join a grace marriage coaching group?
Twenty-one churches are already signed up to join the January 2018 launch. Contact your church to see if they are already on board. If not, the Grace Marriage staff would be happy to speak with your church leadership. Not a part of a church? Check out gracemarriage.com for more information and to get plugged in.
“The mission of Grace Marriage is protection, improvement and transformation of marriages. We believe if the grace of Christ and intentionality is applied to marriage, God can bring about miraculous change in the families in our culture.”
It takes humility and focus to love, honor, and cherish someone until death do you part. But the joy and peace that come from a happy, healthy family are well worth the effort. Grace Marriage is here to help.