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the marriage course > Guest Manual


Published in North America by Alpha North America, 2275 Half Day Road, Suite 185, Deerfield, IL 60015 © 2009 Alpha International, Holy Trinity Brompton, Brompton Road, London, SW7 1JA, UK The Marriage Course Guest Maual All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. First printed by Alpha North America in 2002 This revised edition 2009 Printed in the United States of America Illustrations by Katy Harvey Scripture in this publication is from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV), Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-934564-54-7 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Printing/Year  13  12  11  10  09 


Contents

Acknowledgements

5

Session 1 – Building Strong Foundations

6

Session 2 – The Art of Communication

22

Session 3 – Resolving Conflict

35

Session 4 – The Power of Forgiveness

59

Session 5 – The Impact of Family – Past and Present

74

Session 6 – Good Sex

92

Session 7 – Love in Action

105

Extra session – Coping with Times of Separation

119


Building Strong Notes Foundations

Exercise 1

The First Time You Met Tell each other your strongest memory of the first time you met and what first attracted you to one other.

What is marriage? • marriage involves a man and a woman being joined together and becoming one • a relationship of increasing intimacy and growing interdependence

The four seasons of marriage (not every marriage will go through each stage, but the principles apply to all marriages) 1. Spring “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

6 | Building Strong Foundations

• early years of marriage • season of discovery and excitement • initial infatuation will wear off at some stage • the greatest need is to accept each other


2. Summer • • • • •

season of increased activity and demands may become parents during this season may face pressures of infertility careers can be more demanding the greatest need is to give time to the marriage relationship

3. Autumn • season of richness and maturity—reaping the benefits of what has gone before • marriage more established having weathered tough times • may be teenagers in the house— emotionally the most exhausting stage of parenting • the greatest need is to support and encourage each other

Notes Marriage: The closest possible human re lationship of growing interdepe ndence.

4. Winter • empty-nest stage for many • probably fewer demands with an opportunity for more time together • can be the most exciting stage of marriage • the greatest needs are shared interests and good communication

Why do some marriages break down? • a process of growing apart • a lack of communication • consumerism—the failure to work at a relationship

Building Strong Foundations | 7


The Art of Notes Communication

Reminder The aim of The Marriage Course is to establish patterns of relating that will help couples become closer and keep their marriages growing over a lifetime. Building Strong Foundations • make marriage time a weekly priority in your schedules • discover and seek to meet your partner’s needs (see “Knowing Me, Knowing You” page 14)

The Art of Communication Introduction • intimacy requires effective communication • we all have a longing to be known • The Marriage Course is designed to help couples communicate both during and between the sessions

Effective communication • communication involves the message, the speaker, and the listener • building intimacy in marriage involves hearing each other’s experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires

22 | The Art of Communication


The importance of talking • telling each other our thoughts and feelings • may have been taught to hide feelings during upbringing • will take courage and practice to re-learn how to talk about feelings • some have difficulty recognizing what they are feeling (if this describes you, please see the optional homework exercise: “Identifying Emotions” page 32)

Notes

Exercise 1

Barriers to Talking Take a few minutes to look together at the diagram below and tell each other if any of the barriers apply to you.

I may be misunderstood

They won’t be interested

I may sound weak

I have to be strong I don’t know where to start

I won’t be able to express myself clearly

It’s too complicated

I don’t want to worry them

They might laugh at me I might upset them

I don’t want to disturb the peace

It’s not important

The Art of Communication | 23


themarriagecourse The Marriage Course is a series of seven sessions designed to help any married couple strengthen their relationship. The course covers: > > > > > > > >

Building Strong Foundations The Art of Communication Resolving Conflict The Power of Forgiveness The Impact of Family – Past and Present Good Sex Love in Action Coping with Times of Separation – an optional session mainly for couples in the armed forces

NICKY & SILA LEE have been married for over thirty years and have four children. They are on the staff at Holy Trinity Brompton, London, UK. They have spoken to thousands on the subject of marriage and family life, co-authored The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book, and created The Marriage Course and The Marriage Preparation Course.

RELIGION / Christian Life / Love & Marriage ISBN ISBN:978-1-934564-54-7 978-1934564547 102728

© Alpha International 2009 Family Life Ministries

www.themarriagecourseusa.org www.themarriagecourse.ca

9 781934 564547


Marr Manual