Sussex, New Jersey is a hard-working community. Many farmers, tradesmen, and business owners usually see more than just a five-day work week! Yet they know marriage takes work too.
So Sussex Christian Reformed Church partnered with ReFrame Media’s Family Fire team, Steven and Deb Koster, to host a marriage conference for the church and its neighbors on March 22, 2014.
“We are excited to see how God is working in that community,” reflected Deb following the seminar. “We had tremendous feedback from those who attended the workshop.”
One couple noted, “We appreciated the good mix of personal examples with information, especially the sense throughout that Scripture and God are central.”
Others liked the humor and interaction between Steven and Deb as husband and wife, especially the practical applications of how to improve their own marriages. “They give down to earth, realistic examples of life illustrations, showing us how to stay connected with your spouse.”
Steven commented on the anxiety that people feel coming to an event, “Some people are unnerved by the idea of discussing their marriages around others, so we share our own stories of our mistakes and learning along the way.”
Deb added, “Looking deeper into our relationships can feel intimidating, so couples are relieved when we have fun and they find the only deeper sharing is with their spouse.”
Yet Steven and Deb don’t shy away from difficult topics. They have found that people appreciate honesty about the challenges that marriages face. “It is important to share what the Bible has to say about all aspects of our relationships, even the painful stuff like infidelity or abuse. Christians need to be reminded that God cares about how we live in relationships.”
The Kosters provide handouts that help the couples assess their strengths, issues, and differences. These can be used as homework, but time is also provided during the seminar for private conversations between the spouses. “It wasn’t intimidating,” someone commented. “And I appreciated the homework. It’s a good way to get discussions started.”
Many marriage seminars are excellent, but cost-prohibitive. The church worked with their council to make the conference free and accessible to participants. Delightful catering and donations from many generous supporters gave those who attended a wonderful experience. Several said that having a free event was an important factor in their ability to attend the workshop. But others said they would have come even if they’d had to pay for this workshop.
Deb shares, “We feel so blessed to have these unique opportunities to share God’s truths from scripture concerning how we keep the Spirit’s fire stoked in our relationships!”
If your church would like to help “stoke the Spirit’s fire” in the marriages in your community, contact email@example.com to schedule a Family Fire seminar.