As part of our church initiative, Stephan and I started conducting "Marriage Preparation Courses" last year. It is, as its name indicates, a course meant to help couples prepare for marriage and most importantly grow deeper in their relationship together. Topics covered include communication, conflict resolvement, God / religion, children etc. to name a few.
We're more like facilitators than counsellors, in that our objective is to provide a safe environment where couples can talk about issues while we try to guide the discussion in a constructive manner. Of course, it being a Christian course, we also bring in Biblical examples of how certain things are done and what the Bible's standards are.
Like every discussion, we add our two cents' worth when asked. I find that Stephan and I, coming from an intercultural relationship, are better able to understand quite a lot of the issues because we've been through them. I suppose its like if you know how to run, you will be able to walk. And I know that God has brought us together even though we have such mix-mashed personalities and cultures, because He has a greater purpose than ourselves.
Actually, we find ourselves benefitting the most each time we have the MPC at our place. I usually cook dinner and the couples bring dessert. Then, we move on to the topic for that day and it can last for hours. But oh, its so fulfilling, enriching and funny to hear different viewpoints! Doing the MPC is also a constant challenge for Stephan and I to keep investing in our marriage and allow God to continue to mold our characters.
"24 hours a day, 7 days a week commitment that acts as God's crucible that grinds and shapes us into the character of Jesus Christ" - from the book "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas.
Some issues like communication and conflict resolvement never go out-of-date, do they?
People have questioned me about the necessity of this course for which I liken this course to a driver's license. You don't need a license to drive a car. But why go through the mistakes of driving a car safely when you have a driving school to teach you the basics?
Besides, one only needs to take a look at the staggering divorce rates these days to know that the term "till death do us part" sounds as fictional as "happily ever afters" in Disney fairy tales. If you're going to make a lifelong investment in a person, you would want to make sure that you enter with your eyes w-i-d-e open.
We're so happy to witness the "graduation" of our first couple last Saturday at their wedding. I'll be forever grateful to our mentors in Singapore who provided our relationship a fertile place where it could thrive. Their lives spoke volumes. We were always able to seek their counsel about things on our heart. They not only gave us the "do's and don'ts" but also exemplified so much grace and sacrificial love when we needed their help with the "hows". I learnt so much just by watching the way they relate to each other and how they make things work.
"Blessed to be a blessing". I think that's my desire too. To love others because I experienced how much God loves me through the love of people He placed in my life (hubby included too of course!)
**Wedding photos coming up soon and yup, those are our real wedding bands.**