Supporting marriage aids families


By Rev. Michelle Foster
Conference Staff

Every morning I drop my oldest son off at the door of his school. His younger brother and I yell as we drive off, “I love you. Have a great day!” This routine is modified just a bit as I settle my youngest son into his preschool class.

This habit of parting with the words “I love you” is something my husband and I began practicing at the beginning of our marriage and now share with our children. At the conclusion of every phone call, every time we meet and part throughout the day and last thing at night the words “I love you” are exchanged by members of our family. I share this as an example knowing there are a myriad of ways we can express love. In what ways do you say “I love you” with the ways you live, share and give?

I was excited to learn recently of Madison St. Matthew’s UMC marriage ministry where communication, conflict resolution and marriage enrichment workshops are offered to encourage people in their marriages. What does your church do to combat the ever-increasing divorce rate of 51 percent in Mississippi? In what ways does your church celebrate the love that has bound couples together for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years?  How might you encourage your family and others in your congregation to speak and engage in loving ways?

Mississippi State University Extension Services has developed a Healthy Marriage Initiative titled “Marriage Mississippi” as a way of giving couples (both married and engaged) greater access to marriage education services that will equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage. What are you doing to encourage young couples preparing for marriage? How are you continuing to equip couples that have been married for several years?

Check out the Web site, for ideas, tips and training events offered throughout the year.

Marc and I give thanks for those who shared with us in pre-marital preparations, who continue to encourage us as we journey through life, and whose life and marriage is and has been in and of itself a teacher of what it means to bear one another’s burdens in love. Will you join with me in seeking ways to encourage healthy marriages wherever God places us in ministry?