It has been my observation that churches tend to invest a fair bit of effort in preparing couples to begin a healthy marriage, but perhaps a little less in helping couples sustain a healthy marriage. We offer pre-marriage seminars designed to deliberately help a couple better understand the challenges that will come their way in the years ahead, but don’t offer as many seminars deliberately designed to help couples through the middle and later years of marriage and, thus, through issues like sorrow, loss, declining sexuality, empty-nesting, unmet expectations, unresolved conflict, and so on.
I wanted to address this in my church (and in my own marriage, for that), so decided to lead a marriage seminar that would appeal specifically to couples who have been married for at least a decade and perhaps even several. I built it around Dave Harvey’s I Still Do: Growing Closer and Stronger through Life’s Defining Moments—a book that is meant to foster a marriage that is lasting and durable. With Dave doing the heavy lifting, I put a good deal of effort into creating questions that would prompt conversation and prayer between the couples and also lead to helpful group discussions.
Because I expect others may benefit from such a course, I thought I’d share the material and make it freely available for you to download for your own purposes, whether that’s to lead a course with others or just go through the material with your spouse. You are free to download it, use it, edit it, and so on. You need give no credit to me.
I would recommend having an experienced and credible individual or couple lead the course and would also recommend keeping the group size relatively small as a means of fostering openness and vulnerability in times of corporate discussion. The six sessions are structured in such a way that each couple will read two chapters together, answer a number of questions, then meet with the group for further learning and discussion. Group meetings should be scheduled for about 90 minutes. For each session there is a Question sheet which is sent to the couples in advance and a Discussion sheet which is for the leader to use at the seminar. Those who wish to extend the course to 12 weeks can easily split each session in half. Each couple will need to have a copy of I Still Do (Amazon, Westminster Books) and the leader should purchase a copy of the Study Guide (Amazon, Westminster Books) since a few of the questions are drawn from it.
Here are all the files in a variety of formats:
- Introduction, Information, and Expectations: PDF, Pages, Word
- Session 1 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Session 2 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Session 3 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Session 4 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Session 5 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Session 6 (Questions: PDF, Pages, Word | Discussion: PDF, Pages, Word)
- Or: Download everything in one zip file