I was recently approached by a church leader. He had been surprised when some couples in his ward announced that they were ending their relationships, and going separate ways. It seemed that there had been no obvious signs that things were not going well. He asked me how I support people in my role as a relationship therapist.
This conversation has been playing on my mind.
I have been wondering how I can support church leaders to support husbands and wives to find joy in their relationships.
Two pro-active programs the church offers to strengthen relationships are the Marriage and Family Relations Course, and the Strengthening Marriage course.
Offering these courses to newlyweds of all ages is a pro-active way of strengthening the marriages of people as they transition from being single to married.
Transitions might be related to becoming married, employment, ages and stages, health changes, having a new baby, serving a mission together, and retirement.
It could also be helpful to offer these courses to people who are transitioning in other ways. Transitions might be related to employment, ages and stages, health changes, and retirement.
When people are engaged in course material, they are exposed to strategies that will strengthen marriage relationships. They will also be able to identify when they need extra support.
When people are engaged in the course material, they are exposed to strategies that will strengthen marriage relationships. They will also be able to identify when they need extra support.
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The Differences Between the Two
Compare the two courses that can strengthen relationships through transitions.
The Strengthening Marriage course is gospel principled based. Its focus is on skills and is practical. It includes professional insights and research on relationships.
Designed for a 90 minute block with time to do roll plays and to practice skills development in the class. Some wards have run this course in Sunday school by splitting the lessons over two weeks. This course concentrates on skills development of its participants.
Administered under direction of LDS Family Services and your Stake President.
The Marriage and Family Relations course is doctrinally based. The focus here is upon living principles of the gospel to improve a relationship.
Part of the Sunday School curriculum, the lessons are designed to fit into the Sunday School block.
Administered under direction of The Bishop of the Ward.
Jenny Ensing lives in the Rotokauri Ward, Rotokauri NZ Stake. Jenny is employed by LDS Family Services as a relationships counsellor to assist members who are referred to her by their bishops.