Marriage can be better... by design

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 May 2013

Couples taking part in marriage preparation course, 'Marriage by Design' with the help of Kevin and Mandy Wood of the Marriage Partnership.

Couples taking part in marriage preparation course, 'Marriage by Design' with the help of Kevin and Mandy Wood of the Marriage Partnership.

Archant

A WESTON charity is urging for couples to find out more about each other before they get married.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice revealed Weston has the second highest divorce rate in the UK.

Although this was later revealed to be an anomaly caused by Divorce-Online filing petitions from around the country at the town’s court, The Marriage Partnership wants to reassure couples there is help at hand if they are struggling.

Kevin and Mandy Wood have been running marriage preparation courses for almost eight years.

Mandy said: “Couples are busy and often they haven’t had the time to sit down and talk about what really matters prior to entering the marriage.

“Some couples haven’t talked about whether they want to have children or about organising their finances.

“There’s also less dating nowadays. When you are living together you tend to live parallel lives, but couples aren’t necessarily getting to know each other.”

Kevin and Mandy run Care for the Family’s Marriage by Design Course, which is not faith-based although Christian couples can request a Christian course if they wish.

During the course, each couple sit at their own table to listen to presentations and watch video clips, then music is played while the couple discusses any issues the film has raised.

The course is very relaxed and there are no group discussions or lectures.

Kevin said: “Divorce is such an important problem for society today and I think anything we can do to help support couples before and during marriage is important.”

In Australia, the US and Germany, studies have found that marriage courses help to reduce divorce rates between 50 and 80 per cent up to five years after the course.

The Marriage Partnership also runs a seven-week enrichment course to help married couples delve deeper into their relationship. The course covers a number of issues including dealing with conflict and forgiveness and building strong foundations.

Mandy said: “I think there’s less respect for marriage these days, which is why so many people aren’t married and those who are don’t always fully appreciate what being married actually means.

“The course helps people to realise they can work at their relationship and they don’t have to chuck it all in when things aren’t going quite as expected.”

Kevin and Mandy, from Worle, have been married for 29 years. Mandy said: “There was nothing like this when we first got married and I think it would have been helpful. We went along to see the vicar who was marrying us, but that was it.”

Kevin, an engineer, and Mandy, a care support worker, both have jobs but they were trained as facilitators because they want to help people get the most from their marriage.

The next marriage preparation course is being held at the Grand Atlantic Hotel, in Beach Road, on September 21.

The free course runs from 10am-3.45pm and includes a buffet lunch.

To find out more about the courses call 07847 021541 or email mandy@ themarriagepartnership.org.uk

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