Would you like a more fulfilling sex life in your marriage? Would you like a more exciting and lucrative career? Would you like to be physically and emotionally healthy? Would you like your kids to do better in school? If I told you that by doing one thing regularly you could reap all of these advantages and more, would you be willing to do it?

Numerous studies suggest that marriage education makes a huge difference in both the duration of marriage and marital happiness. It makes sense, doesn’t it? When the two of you are growing closer and refining your relational skills, it produces various winning outcomes. According to the American Journal of Family Therapy, an average couple involved in regular marriage education is able to outperform 83 per cent of couples who do not participate in programs such as those designed to help couples hone their communication skills.

For most of our lives, we are frequently involved in some form of education. When we were young, our parents forced us to go to school. As we matured, we were self-motivated to learn in college, university or in courses that aided us in our career or interests. Through these experiences, we learned the value of lifelong learning. We knew that if we wanted to get ahead in life, we needed to keep learning new skills and perspectives. We intuitively know that if we are not moving forward, we are probably moving backwards. This principle is true for many things in life, including our marriages.

Every marriage needs maintenance

Many couples erroneously think that relationships just work out on their own, but even couples from good family backgrounds have blind spots and need some refresher courses from time to time. Just like your car needs regular oil changes and tune-ups, so your marriage needs regular maintenance.

For the past eight years, I’ve had the privilege of conducting marriage education events across the country. It is a joy and an honour to see couples learn new skills and perspectives and connect on deeper levels. As I watch couples interact, I realize that I am observing something sacred. God has called couples together in marriage, and I get to observe how He strengthens the bonds of holy matrimony through the work of His Spirit. I must admit that, from time to time, my eyes well up with tears of joy as I watch couples learn together and interact on deeper levels at these events.

Honour God, honor each other in marriage

God challenges us to embrace His relational values as part of our discipleship. In fact, a significant test of our discipleship is how we treat those in our family. Have you ever studied the "one another" verses of the Bible? Here are a few examples:

  • "Be devoted to one another . . . " (Romans 12:10)
  • " . . . have equal concern for one another." (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • " . . . serve one another . . . " (Galatians 5:13)
  • " . . . wait for one another." (1 Corinthians 11:33)
  • " . . . accept one another as Christ does . . . " (Romans 15:7)
  • "Be kind and compassionate to one another . . . " (Ephesians 4:32)
  • " . . . be humble towards one another . . . " (1 Peter 5:5)
  • " . . . comfort one another . . . " (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  • "Bear one another's burdens . . . " (Galatians 6:2)
  • "Forgive one another . . . " (Ephesians 4:32)

These are reflective of God’s relational kingdom values. His desire is for the two of you live out the "one another" verses with one another. Bible-based marriage education is of great help for learning practical ways honour God in your marriage.

Not just for marriages in crisis

Some people think that marriage education is only for couples who are in trouble; nothing could be further from the truth. Even healthy marriages need regular marriage education. Our vision at Focus is to help couples build thriving marriages – the kind that are worth repeating for several generations. Your involvement in marriage education now will even affect the future marriages of your grandchildren.

As a husband myself, I particularly want to challenge husbands to take the initiative in attending one of these events with their wives. Many wives are longing for their husbands to make this kind of investment into their marriage. It doesn’t matter how long you have been married. All of us need to work hard at making a good thing better.

Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.

© 2013 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.  

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