Marriage, we would argue, is one of the most life-defining things you will ever undertake. It’s also one of the best things. A strong marriage is a great source of comfort and excitement and can help you sail through life’s difficulties. Together you can achieve a home and family which is pleasing to God as well as each other.
It’s almost extraordinary therefore that this momentous, life-altering undertaking in many cases does not involve any training, resulting in many people sadly experiencing unhappiness or discontent throughout their marital lives. For example, external factors come into play with in-laws or there is a lack of understanding of each other’s personalities and differences in gender. Most things we do in life require some sort of education or training. It would be hard to get a good job without the required skills for example or even drive a car without a course and test.
Eight years ago, therefore, an idea was born.
The Successful Marriage course was the result of a passion to change this and help couples to identify the factors needed for happy, sustainable and successful marriages.
Held annually since 2015, this unique course is always very popular. Many attendees have said this should be an absolute prerequisite for anyone in the early years of marriage! They often leave the course feeling confident about their marriage and knowing they’ve made huge steps in possessing the tools to make their union a success not only for them and their families, but also to achieve God’s pleasure and reward.
Historically, this interactive course takes place over two days and a number of key topics are explored in-depth, facilitated by experienced professionals. We also supply all course materials, food, refreshments and encourage questions and discussions that participants may have.
Over the last few years however the course has moved online for the foreseeable future. It usually takes place over 5 weeks (typically a Monday evening) for approximately 2.5 hours. We like to have small numbers so the facilitators and participants can get to know each other well. We find this method works especially well for those with children as they don’t need to worry about babysitting!
Typically the course is suitable for those in the first ten years of marriage as statistics show this is where major challenges exist as people are getting to know one another. We have also held the Successful Marriage courses for older couples and this has proved extremely useful for couples who have traversed through marriage for many years and benefited from examining their own selves and their marriage with the help of experts.
Our course facilitators regularly make use of role-plays to demonstrate scenarios. Feedback is always very positive as role-plays allow for a fully immersive and interactive experience and demonstrate real-life scenarios very effectively.
Some of the key topics we cover in the Successful Marriage course are:
- Knowing Yourself- Is there anything that you would not sacrifice for marriage? Core values, why marriage fails, fundamental aspects of keeping a marriage healthy.
- Personality types – Have you ever wondered why your spouse behaves the way they do? Does their behaviour sometimes annoy you? The MBTI (Myers-Briggs etc) tool is the world-leading personality questionnaire and over 50 million people around the globe are estimated to have completed it. Using this tool we allow participants an insight into their distinct personality traits and use the information to provide further insights and devise solutions in relation to their marriage.
- Love languages – ‘I’ve received gifts from my wife but I still feel unloved.’
- ‘I say to my husband that I love him but he doesn’t seem to appreciate it.’ Many of us can experience turbulence in our marriages. Investing the time to learn and really understand your partner’s primary love language, which can be different from yours, can significantly improve communication and strengthen your bond. In this session, we go through the 5 love languages in detail and participants undertake a self-assessment to determine which language they prefer to be loved through. They then exchange this with their spouse, which ultimately helps shape the way they both express their love towards each other.
- Islamic law – Should a wife be providing for the house? This unique take on Islamic Law has been structured by our team to allow participants a deeper understanding of the issues relating to fiqh (jurisprudence) and Islamic law within the framework of marriage. Real-life case studies are analysed while participants are given the opportunity to be scholars for the day, discussing possible solutions. This is all done under the expert guidance of scholars and is an effective way to practically engage with marital issues. The discussions usually generate wide ranging views, such as whether past problems or relationships should be disclosed or not.
- Sexual psychology – What is permissible and what is not? Most participants benefit hugely from this aspect of our course. Men and women are segregated for this dimension and are given space to openly discuss anything related to sexual ettiqutes and laws within the framework of Islam. This session is conducted in a very open and respectful manner, under the supervision of scholars, and is often enlightening for participants as they navigate through this sometimes sensitive yet fundamental matter.
- Dealing with in-laws – ‘Who should I listen to? My mother or my wife?’ ‘How do I get into adult mode?’ ‘How can I minimise the interference from well-meaning parents?’ Critical to any successful marriage is the impenetrable bond between a husband and wife. This section of the course will teach you how to ensure that bond stays secure – regardless of external pressures and dilemmas. By focusing on the roots of your relationship with each other and how you choose to interact, it becomes easier to navigate most other challenges that life can often present.
- Conflict resolution – ‘We fight a lot, is this a problem?’ ‘How can I end a conflict quickly?’ ‘Why do these fights between us happen in the first place?’
- Conflicts within marriage are not uncommon, yet at the very core of a successful marriage is the ability to ‘fight right’. This section of the course delves into key tools to understand why conflicts occur, what can be done to minimise them, how to effectively deal with them as well as ‘apology languages’ and more…