“Great communities are made out of great families, great families are based on great marriages and the greatest gifts we can give our kids and our communities are great marriages,” said Newport resident Jim Lawson. “So we wanted to focus on the tools and concepts that will help us improve the marriages in our community. The purpose of the class was to help marriages go from good to great.”
Jim and his wife Terri were moderators for a recent four-week marriage class held in a Harbor View Homes neighborhood. The Lawsons were one of eight host couples who helped organize and run the class which was held in the home of one of the host couples.
“We attended a wonderful marriage class last year put on by Teri Gundlach, Lucie Moore and Susan Bramel in the same neighborhood,” explained Terri. “This class was an outgrowth of their work and the success of that series. We wanted to keep that momentum and enthusiasm going.”
Those on the host committee felt there was a need for marriages to be strengthened, and the response for the class proved they were right. Terri sent out one email to those who had shown interest from the previous class and to friends of the host couples, and 42 couples signed up in first 48 hours. They also had a waiting list.
The topics for the series included Love and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Preparing for and Thriving During the Empty Nest Stage, and Communication and Personality Types.
The speakers who addressed the topics were Lucie and Geoff Moore, Dr. and Mrs. Kim Storm, Drs. Dave and Jan Stoop, and Peter and Gail Ochs.
The books used were “For Men Only” and “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn, and “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.
“Choosing the topics was a collaboration between the host committee, input from some counselors as to what are the topics they deal with most in their practices, and a Google search I did researching the most common themes and priorities in strong marriages,” Jim explained. “Most of our group were in some stage of empty nesting, which was important to address because there is such a structural shift in the marriage dynamics when the kids leave.”
“The tools and principles were based on Christian principles, but all faiths were welcome,” Terri added.
“Making our marriage a priority is important for my husband and me, and it’s important for our sons to see what a healthy marriage looks like,” said Newport resident Peggy McKennon, who was on the host committee along with her husband Bob. “God is a part of our marriage and we’ve learned new concepts we’re committed to doing that will improve our marriage.”
“Peggy and I were enthusiastic supporters of the first class and wanted to be involved in the second one,” Bob said. “It was excellent and we’ve received very positive feedback on it. I was happy to be involved with it.”
“The energy and vibe in the room were so exciting, so positive, and so wholesome,”.Jim said. “There was an overwhelmingly positive response. Having a community focus where you have peers in the room who you respect making a similar decision to invest in their marriages is reaffirming and motivating.”
“We desire to host a class for younger couples sometime in the future,” Terri said. “There’s such a strong need in those married five years or less. They could really benefit from the principles too.”
Cindy can be reached at [email protected].