Marriages Matter

“As go marriages so go families; as go families so go churches; as go churches so go communities; as go communities so go states; as go states so go nations; as go nations so go entire civilizations.” (Gary J. Oliver, Ph.D.)

Several years ago our church members approved and put in place a marriage/wedding policy that states, Marriage is a high and holy relationship in the eyes of God. The church has a tremendous opportunity to minister to couples and families through the process of courtship, pre-martial counseling, wedding preparation and the wedding itself.  This wedding policy is established to recognize the scriptural standards for marriage and uphold them.
The document communicates to our members and the community Westwood’s position and policies concerning the institution of marriage and the availability of the Westwood staff and facilities for weddings. It covers several aspects of a Biblical understanding of marriage, what it is, who can be married, and how our church and pastors will be involved in the planning and celebration of Christian marriage. 
We want to be certain, as best as we can, that marriages start off in the right way.  But what about after the wedding?  How are we as a church doing in ministering to the couples in our church when it comes to the ongoing, day-to-day work of marriage? (And it is work – as anyone who has been married for a significant period of time will tell you!)
The sad reality is that many churches do very little to intentionally strengthen and equip couples to have Christ-centered, satisfying, and long-lasting marriages.   Here at Westwood we don’t want to be one of those churches.  Our deepest desire is that Westwood be a church that comes alongside the marriages within our church, and strives with them to be the kind of marriages that are a testimony to who Christ is and the difference that He can make in a marriage, the kind of marriages that will truly impact this generation for the gospel.

During February five Westwood couples will celebrate a combined 221 years of faithful marriage!  Richard and Jan Overguard will celebrate 63 years on Feb 23. Gail & Phyllis Clayton have been married 51 years as of Feb 2. Gene and Pat Roz will celebrate their 50th anniversary on Feb 27. Brinn and Linda Clayton have been newlyweds for 30 years on Feb 17. Jeff and Jill Frisbee celebrate 27 years on Feb. 19. Their are others this month not counted in that total: Earl & Donna Gurtner (6), Josh and Susan Bailey (19). We are thankful for each of these families and pray that there will be many more like them!   As a church we are called to do all we can to see that happen. 

Healthy marriages are absolutely essential for healthy families and help provide a solid foundation for Westwood to be a healthy, vital, and vibrant church that make a generational impact.   Our church’s mission statement of Grounded, Growing and Going applies to the marriages of our church in profound ways. 


Grounded: We want to help individuals and married couples continue to develop deeper gospel foundations that allow us to meet each challenge facing our marriages with spiritual wisdom and understanding.


Growing: We want to offer opportunities for married couples to intentionally work on areas of a marriage that need vital maintenance. This includes programs like Sunday School electives, as well as special events like our marriage retreat. This also includes our men’s and women’s ministries and urging our men and women to be growing with other men and women within the context of small discipleship/accountability groups.


Going: We want to equip married couples to live out the mission that God has called them to, both individually and together, in the various vocations in which they serve (to each other, to their children in parenting, in their workplaces, to their neighbors, etc.).


Much of what we do to strengthen marriages is done quietly and privately – in living rooms and counseling sessions; in tear-filled conversations and heart-to-heart accountability meetings; in prayer-filled phone calls and truth-filled emails. 


Some of what we do to strengthen marriages is done publicly and corporately, like Sunday School classes and Lifegroups.  One such event is the upcoming marriage conference.  I hope you are registered to attend!  The conference will feature Dr. Tate Cockrell from Southeastern Seminary, and will include a catered meal on Friday evening and a continental breakfast on Saturday morning.  You can get more information and register for the conference here

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