Yesterday we began a new series of The Marriage Course. It's a smaller course this time, fewer people wanting to do it - but that's not really a problem. In fact it makes it a lot easier for us hosting it, and makes it a bit more relaxed and less formal too.
Once again Mrs Hideous & I are reviewing what we have learnt on previous courses - a process which continues to inspire and encourage us in terms of the effectiveness of the approach taken on the course. One thing that amazes me in the deceptively simple talks on the DVD is that I am still learning useful things from them, despite having seen them several times. Even though the talks are not complex, or intellectually stretching, their profundity is demonstrated by the value that can be gained watching them even for the... 6th time! The depths of these talks is only really revealed, I think, when you try and put them into practice!
Our hope and prayer is that the couples doing the course this time will benefit from it as much as we have. In fact - if they only gain a fraction of what we have, it will be time well spent. Yesterday was on the 'foundations' of marriage, an introduction to the meaning and purpose of marriage, the idea of 'marriage-time' (the danger of a time-starved marriage, crowded out by busyness), as well as a very incisive exercise in which we identify our spouses key emotional needs in order to seek to meet them.
One thing I hadn't noticed in the talks before, was the statistics which showed a huge rise in the number of marriages going through crises or even disintegration amongst 50+ year-olds, whose children are (typically) leaving home. The research has shown that a failure to invest in the marriage during the crazily frantic years of child-rearing, often yields a bitter fruit once the children leave. I know that since Mrs Hideous and I started following the 'marriage-time' pattern recommended on the Marriage Course, it has been good for us in the present. I hadn't though previously thought about it also as an investment in the future wellbeing of our marriage.
I'm looking forward to week two already!