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Holidays Can be Hard for Couples in Struggling Marriages

It’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” according to the Christmas songs. We’re supposed to be merry and joyful and full of love, but that’s not the case for many couples in crisis.

In a season so dedicated to hope, people can lose hope for their marriages. The seeds of divorce often start during the holidays when stress, in-laws, and expectations shatter the already fragile relationship. Studies from several law firms show that online research about divorce booms before the New Year with January dubbed as “divorce month.”

Isn’t it ironic?

This was certainly the case for a couple that we’ll call Eric and Amanda. They came to The Marriage School in mid-December, after Eric pressed for a divorce. Through an amazing series of events, they found themselves at The Marriage School for the very last class of the semester.

They were unexpectedly inspired by the stories that they heard that evening. And they were confronted with The Marriage School’s 6-month challenge: If each spouse can commit to “standing on the line of reconciliation” for 6 months, while attending The Marriage School and steadily doing their homework, their chances of success are over 88%.

They made it through the holidays for the sake of the kids. Then, Eric and Amanda returned to The Marriage School as soon as the Spring semester started in January. Amanda recalls, “I really didn’t believe that we were going to make it for 6 more months.” Nevertheless, she realized that she had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Each week, they encountered a safe community of couples who were also fighting for their marriages. Each week, they learned about a new skill and heard amazing stories of other couples who had been through similar situations and come out stronger than ever. And each week, they did their homework.

They did their homework on the sofa, every Wednesday night. Even when they didn’t feel like it, they held hands so that they could feel connected to each other while they talked through painful and confusing issues. And, little by little, they began to really hear each other.

The weekly classes stabilized them, the testimonies inspired them, the discussions encouraged them, and the homework guided them. They began to see small changes that led to big breakthroughs.

After 6 months, they had saved their marriage from divorce and also saved their children from the trauma of a broken home.

But they didn’t stop there.

They knew that they needed to keep healing; to keep growing better together. They had grasped the skills conceptually, but they still needed more practice. So they participated for an entire year.

Why were Eric and Amanda able to stay at The Marriage School for as long as they needed in order to fully heal? The Marriage School is committed to making their transformational programs affordable. We know that repair and growth is a long, slow work. It doesn’t happen over a weekend or even in a few months. So, couples need to be able to afford to stay for as long as it takes.

Because the skills program is donation-based, each couple pays what they can afford. Assistant Director Rachel Sachs says, “Finances are already such a huge issue for so many couples. This takes away the money and time pressure. It means that there is no reason not to come.”

The Marriage School is supported in large part by individual donors who believe in the sacred calling of covenant marriage. They know that the family is under attack and needs the protection and encouragement of the faith community. They are investing in the Kingdom of God and the fabric of our society.

Now Eric and Amanda volunteer as a sharing couple. They are still working on the marriage - doing their homework each week and continuing to strengthen their marriage.

If you would like to hear their story in person, just follow this link to sign up for classes.

The Marriage School offers classes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Greater Cincinnati area and on Thursday evenings via ZOOM in your home. If you know of someone who could benefit from a supportive and encouraging community, please introduce them to our programs!

If you would like to support other couples who are desperately looking for hope and healing in their marriage, please consider donating to The Marriage School.

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2, NIV


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