Today marks my two year anniversary of writing columns on marriage for The Daily Times, and I would truly rank it in the top 5 or 10 most vital and necessary that I have written. As I reviewed the list of past columns, I am a bit surprised it has taken me this long to introduce you to a program that has an incredible track record for taking the worst marriages and, in just one weekend, helping a couple start to fall back in love with each other. Follow up research has revealed that 75 percent of couples who attend this weekend program stay together and rediscover marital happiness.
Before I tell you about this program, I first want to send a huge thank you to the many of you who have been so encouraging and complimentary about what you have read in this column. It has indeed been my privilege and blessing to have been able to continue this endeavor for what to me seems like a long time and for which I hope no end is in sight.
Over the past 103 articles, I have sought to bring to your attention useful information on various aspects of healthy, successful marriage. Among the marital components we've looked at are communication and conflict resolution and the importance of keeping fun in the relationship, along with the importance of forgiveness, faithfulness and commitment in marriage.
It's been a true joy to have reached out to various marriage experts, both locally and from around the country, and to have them share their wisdom with you. Some of those guest writers include Mike Hattabaugh, who wrote about the importance of keeping fun in your marriage and who gave us great tips on how to do just that. Kelly Anglin shared some keen insights on how counseling can help folks in a troubled marriage. We also learned from Gary Chapman, author of "The Five Love Languages;" Dave and Claudia Arp and their "10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage;" John Van Epp, famous for "How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk;" and Brian and Ann Bercht, who write extensively about how couples can survive affairs. Bercht is the author of "My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me."
It is my hope and plan to continue bringing helpful resources to your attention both in print and on my weekly radio program TWOgether as ONE, which is heard every Monday at 6 p.m. on 107.1FM KLJH.
The marriage recovery program to which I referred earlier is aptly called "A New Beginning," subtitled "A Turnaround Workshop for Troubled Marriages." I have been privileged to attend two of these restoration weekends as an assistant and I can tell you what I have seen is difficult to put into words.
At a typical New Beginning weekend on Friday morning, the room is filled with doom, gloom and despair. The attending couples are stiff and solemn and most seem uncertain as to why they even bothered to come. I'm telling you most are pretty much hopeless that their marriage can ever be joyful again.
But by Sunday afternoon, many of these same couples are typically smiling and embracing each other with a newly rediscovered love and appreciation, which is wonderful to observe. I remember one couple who had gotten divorced just two weeks before they came, and it was obvious neither was thrilled about being there. Yet, on Sunday night, the wife was gathering addresses from other participants so she could invite them to the wedding they were already planning.
Andrew Boswell is the director of A New Beginning, which is offered by Family Dynamics Institute. Boswell notes that "after the workshop, couples can speak the same language and have the same concepts of how to move forward in their relationship."
As stated on the website savemymarriage.com, "A New Beginning is different than therapy or counseling. It is an educational experience unlike anything else. In an environment of respect and confidentiality, couples go on a journey that tackles head-on the brokenness of their marriage to arrive at a place where they can make sound decisions for their future. For three days, they are challenged to look at life and love from a different perspective."
While the weekend experience can help a couple reorient the course of their marriage, it is very helpful to have sufficient follow-up to maintain their new direction. Couples who complete A New Beginning are strongly encouraged to follow up with counseling, therapy or participation in some other marriage enrichment endeavor. Family Dynamics offers two, eight-week courses. One is called Dynamic Marriage and the other is United. Both are for people in stable marriages. When married couples have completed A New Beginning and are out of crisis, either of these courses can serve as a wonderful follow-up. They can help to reinforce the new changes the couple has put in place. To learn more about these programs, visit Dynamic Marriage at familydynamics.net.
Boswell will be my guest tomorrow evening on TWOgether as ONE. You might just want to listen in or encourage a friend to listen who you know is struggling in his or her marriage. I'm not saying all marriages should be saved, and I'm not saying all marriages can be saved. I do know, however, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that many, if not most, troubled marriages can indeed be saved even when the parties have little or no hope that they can.