Many church leaders are committed to devoting attention to pre-marital and marital programs to
prepare their members for the challenges of married life. In the past, religious institutions did not spend
much attention on helping couples learn how to live happily ever after in the life long, monogamous
marriage they endorsed. The truth is, marriage takes a commitment that goes beyond romantic
idealism. It’s not a matter of just “doing what comes naturally” but teaching people the necessary skills
to keep marriages vital and effective.
Marriage is a complex venture of meshing two unique individuals from unique family backgrounds into
what they hope will be an effective, harmonious unit. So often, doing nothing means couples are on
their own to learn the skills they need to build a solid marriage. Then, when a couple is in trouble, the
best we do is refer them for therapy. Whereas research generally shows religiosity to be a deterrent to
divorce, based on his telephone sample of over 7000 adults, Barna (2001) makes the rather startling
report that born-again adults (27%) are just as likely to divorce as non-born-again adults (24%). Since
1986, according to Cornes (1993), most divorces in the United States take place by the seventh year
of marriage. In light of these findings, it certainly makes sense to take proactive steps to assist
marriages early on and throughout the marital life stages.
Churches can assist couples in developing skills and attitudes that will strengthen and sometimes save
troubled marriages. Marriage is a lifelong vocation and couples will go through stresses and strain
throughout their various life stages. Providing education and training can be one way the church
supports and provides resources to enhance the health of their married members. .