One of the six principles which guide our work at Focus on the Family is the Permanence of Marriage. We believe that marriage, as the basic building block of human civilization, was designed by God to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. And since we live in a fallen world, all couples who are committed in the covenant of marriage will at some point face trials, sickness, financial crises and emotional stresses.
Part of our mission is to help couples survive and thrive through the hard times as well as in good times. Which is why I was thrilled at the response to our first Focus on Marriage simulcast. More than 70,000 people in 48 states and seven Canadian provinces carved out the time in their busy schedules to participate in the day-long event.
From the feedback I’ve seen so far, Beth Moore, Gary Smalley, John Trent, Gary Thomas and Del Tackett did a top notch job explaining God’s divine purpose and perspective for marriage. During the event attendees could send text messages with their reactions throughout the day. One man said, “Hearing Gary Thomas was like hearing C.S. Lewis teach on marriage.” Another husband admitted “I have been a spouse-centered spouse and I now realize that I have placed too much faith in my wife and not in God.” Here are several other text messages:
- Bryant and Shelley, Mustang, OK: Thank you, Gary. I never looked at God as my father-in-law. Strong impact on me.
- Kelly and Jen, Wexford PA: We’re engaged and so grateful for the opportunity to build a solid foundation before we say “I do.”
- Keith and Heather, Greenwood, IN: Thank you so much for this program. Not only will our marriage be blessed, but we are getting tools to help others.
Participants could also fax or email their feedback. Linda in Tennessee writes:
“My husband and I married in 1979. After almost 30 years of good and bad, ups and downs, stretching and growing, laughter and tears, you’d think we would have our arms around having a comfortable place in marriage. I took notes throughout this simulcast until my fingers cramped. God poured out His word through the speakers and once again, opened our eyes . . . What rich material and wisdom! I feel refreshed and re-energized. I would recommend this to anyone and look forward to the Focus on Parenting simulcast in November.”
Michael and Beth were sitting somewhere in the same audience as Linda but with one difference. They were an engaged couple hoping to pick up a few pointers as they prepared for marriage. Nothing like getting a head start! Here’s what Michael and Beth said:
Before we came, we questioned if this would be for us since we aren’t married. But this has helped us understand one another and recognize the foundation we need to build for a successful and wonderful marriage. We enjoyed hearing Beth Moore and listening to her real-life situations. She made us feel at home and helped us realize life in marriage is not always perfect. We will cherish all that we have learned today for the rest of our lives.
Whether or not you attended the conference, you might want to pick up a copy of Love for a Lifetime: Building a Marriage That Will Go the Distance. Penned by Dr. Dobson several years ago, his advice and insight is timeless. It’s the perfect resource if you’re looking to fine-tune your marriage or could just use some help bringing happiness and harmony to your relationship. Be sure to check out our website for a host of other marriage-strengthening resources. We’re here for you.
A big thanks to those who worked at each of the 501 churches to host this event. Hats off to Mitch Temple and Howard Haworth on our team for their vision and implementation. I hope you can join us next February when the Focus on Marriage event returns.