By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Carey Robertson knows a little about a successful marriage.
The Executive Pastor at Resurrection Life Worship Center, who has been married for 58 years says, “You know, divorce is something that every family is affected by. Our state leads the nation per capita for divorces. We are number one in churches as well, so we have to ask ourselves ‘Are churches doing their job?’”
Robertson and leadership of the church decided to do something about this issue. They held a discussion with the staff and began a “Marriage Matters” program which was introduced to both children and the youth program on a rotation basis.
“We begin by explaining the word “covenant” and what it means when the Bible says the Lord has a covenant with them as well as what it means when they enter one with another person. We also teach about one-on-one relationships.
“With the older youth we keep lots of activities and social group settings for them to interact. Basically dating is a practice run for marriage. The problem with dating is it’s just a situation where you date and break up when things go wrong. Thats sets the scene for a repeat if a marriage goes bad. You handle it by breaking up and a divorce is only the beginning of pain and issues that last for years to come by all involved,” said Robertson.
Engaged couples who wish to be married in the church are required to have a minimum of six pre-marriage counseling sessions and are assigned a mentor couple who have a stable marriage and have been trained by Les and Leslie Parrott.
“The thought behind this is to help them make sure of their decision and guide them through the process of the first year of marriage. With the mentoring couple by their side, we are hoping to help them navigate the ups and downs as well as give them encouragement by fostering a positive relationship with others who have had success in their relationship,” said Robertson.
There is no set time for the couples to meet or mandatory requirements but it is hoped both couples will bond and build life friendships as they strengthen their marriages.
Robertson said, “After focusing on the foundation for marriage, we have begun to zero in on maintenance. Maintaining is a lot easier and rewarding than dealing with the devastation of an marriage that has ended.”
The church, along with Marriage Matters, will be hosting a “Festival of Marriage” simulcast on February 8th through the 9th.
“This simulcast is the first step of a program we are working on for marriage maintenance. It is for all marriages from 1 to 75 years,” said Robertson.
The simulcast will feature speakers: Gary Chapman, Mark Merrill, Steve and Debbie Wilson as well as Les and Leslie Parrott. There will also be performances by Team Wordplay, Big Daddy Weave and Apostles of Comedy. Cost of the event is $25 per couple and online registration is available through www.rlministry.org.