What Is Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family?
Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family is a marriage enrichment course that was created for the purpose of helping couples strengthen their marriages in a safe and fun environment. The core belief of the course is that healthy families are built upon healthy marriages.
Who Should Attend?
Any couple, from engagement to 75 years of marriage, will most likely benefit from this course. Couples with healthy marriages can use this course to strengthen their marriages. Couples whose marriages feel “stuck” might find this course to be a positive way to jump start marital growth and connection.
Do I Have to Be a Christian or Part of a Church to Attend?
Not at all. However, anyone taking Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family should understand that the class is built upon Biblical principles. The Christian faith and Biblical principles will be discussed often, but the purpose of this class is to not convert you. It is to help your marriage grow stronger.
I’m Afraid Someone Might Think My Marriage is Bad If I Show Up
The above fear is normal, but please know that this course is a marriage enrichment course. The primary purpose of this course is to improve a marriage, not fix a broken marriage.
Can this Course Heal My Broken Marriage?
A couple whose marriage is struggling will benefit from this course, but will most likely need additional counseling or therapy to address deeper causes of martial discord. If your marriage is in a difficult place, you are encouraged to attend and see this course as a first step towards healing.
Does My Spouse Have to Be Present in Order for Me to Attend?
Spouses are encouraged to attend together, but it is not required. The course has had many attendees before whose spouse could not attend due to work or other personal reasons.
Is the Course Offered Online?
As Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family is slowly developed into a (hopefully) published curriculum, the course will be offered online, at times, through Facebook Live. The next session of the course, mentioned below, will be offered online (technology permitting). Check out Dr. Paul's Facebook page, Rev. Dr. Paul Gibson, to watch live.
How Long is the Course?
The course consists of 7 sessions that will last approximately 90 minutes each. (The current Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family course will start Sunday night, January 14th and will meet each Sunday night until the end of February.)
Is There a Cost?
No cost. Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family is a ministry of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. CHILDCARE WILL BE PROVIDED for those taking the class onsite.
Who Will Teach the Course?
The course was created and will be taught by Rev. Dr. Paul Gibson. Paul holds a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Counseling, is a regular contributor to Start Marriage Right at http://www.startmarriageright.com/author/paul-gibson/, and is currently working on publishing the course as a marriage curriculum.
Do I Have to Register to Attend? How Do I Register?
No registration is required, but it is encouraged. Go to www.paulbgibson.com (desktop) to register.
I am excited to announce that I'll be leading a second Healthy Marriage/Healthy Family Course starting Sunday night, January 14th at 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The course is completely open to anyone in the Breckinridge County community. The course will meet every Sunday night through the end of February at Hardinsburg Baptist Church. There is also a possibility that this course will be offered online through Facebook Live and ITunes.
Healthy Marriage/Healthy Family is for any couple engaged to their 75th wedding anniversary who desires a healthier, happier, and holier marriage. You will laugh much, cry a little, and grow a lot.
If you want to know more information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can sign-up for the class by using the form located on the right of this page (Desktop).
I was 23 years old, married for a year, and just received an offer to coach high school basketball. I was already attending seminary part-time and had started a career as a pastor. My wife, Tara, was scheduled to start traveling for medical internships within the month. Over the next four months, she would be gone throughout the week and return home over the weekends. I was entertaining the coaching offer because I was hoping to use coaching as an extension of a career in ministry.
I met with our senior pastor to seek his approval and wisdom regarding the offer. His words still haunt me to this day. With my pastor sitting right across from me, he gently looked up, and with concern on his face, said “Paul, I’m afraid you’re going to be doing too much.”
I’m afraid you’re going to be doing too much…
If only I would have listened. I accepted the coaching offer. Six months later, our marriage was showing fractures. I had grown distant from Tara. What had happened?
COMPLICATING THE HARD WORK OF MARRIAGE
Marriage is hard work. A lot harder than I expected. Basketball started to dominate my focus and Tara started her internships. I found myself too physically and emotionally exhausted to talk with Tara every night on the phone. Our conversations became short and I grew snippy. When she would return home for the weekend, I often had practice to attend. When we were together, I was a zombie whether we were sitting on the coach or watching movies. We were not connecting. The physical distance of internships and the emotional distance caused by my commitment to basketball and my career made the hard work of marriage even harder.
The physical distance of internships and the emotional distance caused by my commitment to basketball and my career made the hard work of marriage even harder.
Lack of time together and the result of not connecting led to an unhealthy marriage. It took two years of counseling to recover. I wish I could go back to that office and sit in the on the meeting between my younger self and my pastor. The more mature, wounded me would refuse to allow my younger self to leave until he had made the decision to not accept the coaching offer. I still cringe when I think of the heartache we experienced as a couple.
LAYING ASIDE YOUR ARMOR
The words of Deuteronomy 24:5 contain great wisdom. “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married” (NIV). Focusing on marriage and not battle was an Old Testament warriors’ sole responsibility for a whole year!
Currently, if a young pastor or any young professional asks me about accepting an additional employment role in the early years of marriage, I try to put the fear of the Lord in them. I strongly tell them “You’re going to be doing too much and you’re going to hurt your marriage. Lay aside your metaphorical armor and focus on your marriage first.” Such focus is especially important when marriages start off with additional challenges like school internships, graduate school processes, young children, and medical or mental illness. Challenges like these require an even greater focus and commitment to help an early marriage stay healthy and holy.
If you find yourself at the beginning stages of marriage and facing an additional job offer, wrestling with going back to school, or accepting a position that requires even more time away from your spouse, please think long and hard. Do whatever is necessary to lay aside, or not pick up, your metaphorical armor. Work on “bringing happiness” to your spouse by focusing on them as much as possible. A young marriage that focuses on time together and connection lays the foundation for an even healthier marriage in the years to follow. There will be plenty of time later to pick up “your armor.” (This article was first published at startmarriageright.com)
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.