The Church’s Role in Marriage Enrichment -- By: William J. McRae

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:575 (Jul 1987)
Article: The Church’s Role in Marriage Enrichment
Author: William J. McRae

The Church’s Role in Marriage Enrichment

William J. McRae

Ontario Bible College and Ontario Theological Seminary, Toronto, Ontario

How beautiful is the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice…. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s Church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. They visit the sick and assist the needy. Psalms and hymns they sing to one another, striving to see which of them will chant more beautifully the praises of their Lord. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace.

So wrote Tertullian, the second-century church father. Such is the nature of a truly Christian marriage. There is nothing else quite like it on earth.

Psychiatrist Don Jackson, however, after an intensive investigation of many marriages, estimates in his book Mirages of Marriage that not more than about 5 or 10 percent of all married couples in American culture enjoy a healthy relationship.1 David and Vera Mace, directors of the

Association of Couples for Marriage Enrichment (ACME), were shocked by Jackson’s finding. Then they realized that it had a positive aspect. “Perhaps the other ninety to ninety-five percent of couples were settling for much less than was available to them, and they could do something about it.”2

Their studies indicate that most couples have scarcely begun to explore the hidden wealth in their relationship. They have settled for a comparatively superficial relationship, one of dull, dreary mediocrity.3

What Is Marriage Enrichment?

David and Vera Mace assert, “This is what marriage enrichment is all about. It means refusing to settle for less than a warm, tender, loving, creative relationship. It means a determination on the part of both partners to appropriate all the latent and undeveloped potential they possess and to build together the kind of shared life they really want.”4

Marriage enrichment is not for marriages in trouble. Such marriages ...

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