History of Grace Marriage.
We got married in 1996 after seven months of dating. I don’t recommend dating three months, getting engaged and married within eight months, but this is how we did it. The upside: I got to marry Marilyn. The downside: Marilyn got to know me after we got married. She said “you were great at dating and are horrible at being married” and prayed “Lord, am I sentenced to a life of this?” After a year of conflict and tears, God intervened in both of our lives.
Once we got married, I turned my attention from Marilyn and onto building a law practice and seeing as many sporting events as possible. The law practice and my sports appetite grew, but our marriage didn’t. Then, the turnaround.
Marilyn learned the sufficiency of Christ, I was convicted of selfishness, and God performed a miracle in our marriage. Fast forward ten years and, seeing how much fun we were having, a couple asked us to do their pre-marital counseling. Then, more couples called, we started groups, a waiting list developed and the progression to full-time marriage work started.
During this period our law practice grew greatly with the help of Strategic Coach, a quarterly business coaching program. Every three months my law partner (brother) and I would leave our business and take a big picture look at it. We were asked the big picture questions and asked to make big picture decisions.
To make a long story short – this proactive approach transformed our law practice. Our practices, client experience, marketing and staff decisions improved. As a result, our business grew quickly to five attorneys and ten staff.
Then, I thought: There is no more dominated institution in our culture than the family. Couples don’t just stop, think big picture and proactively work to achieve big picture goals. What if we put together a quarterly program to help couples break through the complexities to richly enjoy one another?
So, I started a test group with one lead pastor, a local doctor and a cross section of people socially and economically. It went great and everyone wanted to continue into year two. Then, I did a brief promotion at our church, hoping to start a few more groups. The response was crazy – we had 54 new couples sign up after a short 15-minute promotion.
Just three years later we had 105 couples in marriage coaching in a church of about 750. As other churches started expressing interest and I had a fire in my gut to help bring marriage alive in our culture, I left my law practice to devote full-time effort to help individuals and churches bring their marriages alive!
Now, here we are!!! Join the movement and institute a proactive marriage wellness structure in your church. If enough churches respond to the need to help marriages, we can make a massive difference and turn this large misaligned ship around!