Want to live longer? Try a healthy marriage!

From May 30th to June 1st, lay-leaders, pastors, counselors and family therapists will have the opportunity to attend the 5th Annual ACTS Smarter Families Canada Conference at Trinity Western University. The conference aims to teach and train those in church leadership effective ways to minister, encourage and foster stronger and smarter marriages and families.

According to Statistics Canada, divorce rates in Canada are holding strong at 38% with many couples choosing co-habitation over traditional marriage. Yet over 60% of cohabitating couples split up. Recent studies however have shown married couples - over a long period of time - enjoy better mental health, are happier, more financially secure and are actually physically healthier and experience lower death rates. While the pros out-weigh the cons there are fewer and fewer couples “making it.”

Says Auxier, “Younger Canadians are increasingly choosing to enter into serial common-law relationships rather than making a lifetime commitment to their mate in marriage. This is not just happening in society at large, but also in the Evangelical and Roman Catholic communities. There is a need to call churches and dioceses back to the historic model of Christian marriage as a lifetime commitment, worth committing to, preserving and nurturing.”

That is essentially the goal of Smarter Families Canada. This year, the conference boasts of having well over 14 workshops featuring topical discussions on the state of marriage, divorce, the recovery from affairs and addiction, to sex and spirituality. Plenary speaker Dr. Paul Stevens, whose background varies from author, pastor and professor to consultant, coach and keynote speaker, will lecture on “How To Be Married For Good,” “Marriage & Spirituality: Encouraging Spiritual Growth in Couples,” and “Marriage Ministry in Church: Is There Any Better Context?” Steven's mission is to empower ordinary people to integrate their faith and life from Monday to Sunday.

Anne and Brian Bercht know first hand how important it is to understand a marriage in order to save it. The Bercht's write candidly about Brian's affair and what Anne learned from the fallout in their controversial book entitled “My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The book has made waves in North American pop culture spotlighting the two and their relationship on Oprah, Montel Williams and The Today Show. They have also been profiled in Newsweek, MacLean's and Readers Digest.

But, in light of cheating and infidelity, why would anyone want to save a marriage? Anne says, “My husband's affair shattered my identity and assumptions about life. It shook my faith to the core. It threw me into depths of emotional pain I'd never imagined before. Our marriage, lives and hearts lay shattered, but we still loved each other. We needed support, encouragement and practical tools to put the pieces of our shattered lives back together. The rewards have been more than worth it. Today we enjoy not only a love that is even stronger than before, but the respect of our children.”

Conference goers will hear first hand the Bercht's amazing story of redemption as they lead a workshop entitled “Helping People Recover from Affairs”.

The 2007 Smarter Families Canada Conference also offers Pre-Conference Institutes with seminars on topics ranging from marriage mentoring training to sessions on how to lead pornography recovery groups. Additionally, there is a Graduate course available. This includes a Post-Conference course on Marriage Enrichment.

Auxier says “Smarter Families Canada believes that by equipping our lay couples with the proper tools to counsel marriages, we in turn will see stronger and smarter marriages that will last…ultimately creating strong families and stronger communities.

More information on the 2007 Smarter Families Conference and Pre-Conference Institutes can be found on their website: www.smarterfamiliescanada.ca .

AT A GLANCE

Event: Smarter Families Canada 2007 Conference
“Marriage Ministry for the 21st Century”
Date: May 31 to June 2, 2007
Location: Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Rd, Langley, BC
Cost: Program schedule and registration information are available at
www.smarterfamiliescanada.ca
Contact: Susan Mattam | Email: susan.mattam@twu.ca | Tel: (604) 888-7511 ext 3830

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from business, communications and education to biotechnology and nursing, and offers 15 graduate degrees in such areas as counseling psychology, business, the humanities, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum