The Community Marriage Policy® Is About Saving Marriages
Marriage Savers has developed a proven strategy to slash divorce and
cohabitation rates, and to raise the marriage rate. We have helped the clergy of
220 cities and towns (by December, 2007) to adopt a Community Marriage Policy®
with the goal to "radically reduce the divorce rate in area churches," as
Modesto, CA pastors put it in the first covenant in 1986. Clergy join together
across denominational and racial lines and sign a public covenant on the
courthouse steps to make healthy
marriages a priority in their congregations. Specifically, in Community Marriage
Policies®, religious leaders pledge to train Mentor Couples to help other
couples at every stage of the marital life cycle to achieve five great goals:
1. Give "marriage insurance" to the engaged -- a 95% guarantee that their
marriage will go the distance.
Three elements are involved.
First, couples are given a premarital
inventory to give couples an objective view of their relational strengths
and areas for growth. A tenth of couples who take an inventory decide not to
Second, couples in healthy marriages are trained to administer the
inventory and discuss the unique issues it surfaces with each couple.
trained Mentor Couples teach skills of how to resolve conflict. This combination
raises the percentage of those who break up short of marriage to a fifth.
Studies indicate that those who break an engagement have the same scores as
those who marry and later divorce. They have avoided a bad marriage before
it begins. For example, in the church of Mike & Harriet McManus, of 288
couples who prepared for marriage from 1992-2000, 21 dropped out of the
course, mostly to break up. Another 34 couples completed the process, and
decided not to marry. That’s 55 couples who decided NOT to marry -- is a
high 19% dropout rate. However, of those couples who did marry, there have
been only seven divorces, a 97% success rate over a decade. That's
2. Enrich all existing marriages by conducting an annual week-end event at
the church, using a marital inventory, speakers, or videos.
For example, a DVD series called “10 Great Dates” has been used to
strengthen 100,000 marriages. If couples offer free babysitting, scores of
couples will come to the church on a Friday or Saturday night, drop their
kids off and then watch a 20 minute DVD excerpt on such topics as “Resolving
Honest Conflict,” “Becoming an Encourager” or “Building a Creative Love
Life.” Couples then go on a 90 minute date for dessert and coffee where they
fill out a brief questionnaire on that week’s theme from a paperback book,
and talk. Ten such Great Dates are scheduled every week for 10 weeks, or
every other week. Total cost to the couple, the $12 for the paperback.
3. Restore four out of five troubled marriages by training
Restore four out of five troubled marriages by training
"back-from-the-brink couples" (whose own marriages once nearly failed) to
mentor couples currently in crisis. A couple nearly driven apart by adultery
who survived has something to say to a couple in a crisis over adultery.
Marriage Savers offers a “Restoration Marriage Ministry” training over a
Friday night-Saturday training.
4. Reconcile the separated using a self-guided workbook course, "Reconciling
Separation is usually a prelude for divorce. However, separation can be
used to spark personal, professional and spiritual growth that attracts back
the errant spouse. The person trying to save his/her marriage takes this
course with a friend of same gender, who gets a Support Partner Handbook to
serve as an accountability partner, meeting weekly for 12 weeks. Reconciling
God's Way heals more than half the marriages of the separated. Cost:
Only $25 plus shipping.
5. Help stepfamilies succeed by creating "Stepfamily Support Groups"
Help stepfamilies succeed by creating "Stepfamily Support Groups" that
give couples with children from a previous marriage a place and a plan to
learn how to be successful parents and partners. A kit is provided with a
Manual on how to work with five organizing stepfamily couples, a CD by the
author, Rev. Dick Dunn, played at the beginning of each meeting, and a
paperback boo, “Willing to Try Again. Instead of losing 70% of stepparents
to divorce, this program saves 80% of remarriages, at a cost of only $35 to