By: Cecille T. Gacasan
Marriage, nowadays is being stricken by arising trends of divorce or annulment. Christian marriages are not an exemption to this attack. Marriage is not a bed of roses, as they say, but the word of God clearly gives us the guidelines to overcome struggles and maintain a lasting relationship.
Fifteen couples who are JECPP Southern Mindanao workers responded to the call of strengthening marriages last May 28-29, 2015 at Evangel Family Church-Davao for the “Art of Marriage” seminar.
Pastor Terry B. Rivera III was the resource speaker. He joined the Family Life Ministry in 1998 and has spoken for numerous Family Life Conferences, “I Still Do” Marriage Seminar and a lot more. He introduced the six-session video marriage conferences. Each session ends with a project for the couples to interact in relation to the key concepts being discussed and answer some questions to address specific areas in the relationship.
Session 1: Love Happens
This session emphasizes on marriage as the first bond of society. It is about leaving, cleaving and becoming one as stated in Genesis 2:24. God designed marriage with a primary purpose to reflect His glory. At the end of this session, couples acknowledge that despite differences, the spouse is not an enemy but God’s perfect gift.
Session 2: Love Fades
This session talks about a natural drift of isolation that couples undergo. The problem is sin, and the solution is the gospel that brings healing and reconciliation. Having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the key to accepting your spouse no matter what differences and weaknesses he or she may have.
Session 3: Love Dances
The roles of the husbands and wives, though different, are of equal value. “God calls men to sacrificially LOVE and LEAD their wives. God calls women to RESPECT and SUPPORT their husbands” (The Art of Marriage, p. 49).
Session 4: Love Interrupted
Constant communication between couples can help them resolve issues and conflicts within the marriage. Taking time to listen to our spouses and the willingness to grant forgiveness are key points in handling conflicts.
Session 5: Love Sizzles
Sexual intimacy is a gift from God. It is a celebration of oneness in the sight for God for pleasure and procreation.
Session 6: Love Always
A lasting marriage leaves a good and godly legacy to the future generations. Trusting God for grace and direction, forgiving one another, praying with your spouse and staying committed are just some tips to help a marriage last for a lifetime.
The videos contain life stories and testimonies of couples who went through storms in their marriage life and came out victorious. The situations enlightened all the couples. Pastor Rosario Simpas of Evangel Family Church (EFC)-Tagum said that this seminar is very beneficial to them, and so they wanted to conduct it in their church. Pastor Tony Angelias of EFC- Kidapawan added that marriage enrichment is highly recommended especially that marriages are under the attack of the enemy in these last days.
The Speaker, Pastor Rivera, gave tokens to three couples for being the longest, and most recently married, and for celebrating their anniversary on that month (April).
The longest married couple are Pastor Greg and Pastor Rosario Simpas, 21 years married. Pastor Albert and his wife Sister Jane Anne Poliño who are married for two years got the token as the youngest married couple. Pastor Fabian and Pastor Joyce Sumampong are the couple who celebrated their anniversary last April 10.
The seminar concluded with a pledge of commitment to each other and towards God. With joined hands, the couples also sang “I will Be Here” as a sweet ending to the day’s event and as renewal of love for the years ahead.
Pas. Albert & Sis. Jane Anne Poliño (2 years married)
Question? As a young couple, how is this seminar beneficial to both of you?
Answer: The seminar gave us total understanding of our uniqueness, and it lead us to embrace the Biblical truth that we are God’s gift to each other. We think that we still have a lot to work on our lives together. By the grace of God, we can make it happen.
Question? How do you handle conflicts in your marriage without affecting the ministry?
Answer: We set limits and boundaries. We talk and agree when is the right time to confront and settle existing problems. We make sure that we have the right attitude before confronting. The topic on healthy conflicts inspires us to pray before we talk. We believe this will lead us to reconciliation.
Pas. Willie & Pas. Rosemin Pontillas (14 years married)
Question? Which session relates to this stage of your marriage?
Answer? Session three (Love Dances) led us to understand better the roles of husband and wife.
Pas. Tony & Pas. Liza Angelias (12 years married)
Question? How do you keep your romance alive?
Answer: When we have extra money, we spend time together going to a cozy place where we can relax like staying overnight. For us, this is an investment. Though it costs us money, it is worth it. We are refreshed and become more intimate. It also gives us the opportunity to discuss certain issues in our relationship, in ministry and our family. We also give gifts to each other during special moments of our lives.