FAQs for Pastors
Q: What is Marriage, Inc?
A: Marriage, Inc. is a cooperative effort of concerned citizens and organizations from a variety of backgrounds who care about the future we are leaving for the next generation. Our mission is to build a culture of marriage in the hearts and minds of families in Kankakee County. Because healthy marriages really do make a difference in the stability and vitality of any community, we intend to equip and educate people on the benefits of marriage and the importance of committing to marriage for a lifetime.
Q: Why is Marriage Important?
A: Based on extensive research, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher report in their book “The Case for Marriage,” that: men experience significantly greater health and longer life than any comparable group (the never-married, dating, cohabiting, or divorced). Women experience greater wealth and emotional stability. Marriage also results in greater overall happiness, greater physical safety (i.e., less domestic violence), better mental health, and a more satisfying sex life than is true of any comparable group. Children raised by their married biological parents are less likely to be in poverty, become pregnant or have a child out of wedlock, experience physical or sexual abuse, or have a criminal record. And they are more likely to experience educational success, including graduating from college, and achieving a high status job in their adult years.
Q: What can pastors do?
A: You can make marriage a priority in your congregation by speaking on the value of marriage publicly when appropriate and by requiring premarital preparation for all those who are planning to marry. We recommend using the Prepare/Enrich Inventory by Life Innovations, combined with a marriage mentor couple. This method has experienced years of proven success. In this program, healthy married couples mentor engaged or seriously dating couples. The mentors explore the couple’s strength and growth areas while helping them understand, prepare and build skills that will last a lifetime.
Q: What is Prepare/Enrich?
A: Prepare/Enrich is a customized inventory that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas based on the their responses to over 200 questions. After the couple completes the inventory, a trained facilitator or marriage mentor guides the couple through 4-8 premarital sessions which helps prepare them for their life together.
Q: What is Prepare/Enrich Training?
A: Prepare/Enrich Training is where you, the pastor, become fully equipped in the knowledge and use of the Prepare/Enrich Inventory. You will also learn how to be a facilitator/mentor to premarital couples using the Inventory as a basis for your sessions.
Q: What benefit is the Prepare/Enrich Training for me?
A: The Prepare/Enrich Training can eventually take a load off your pastoral plate! We recommend that after the training, you go back to your church and look for healthy couples who could serve as marriage mentors. Send us their names and Marriage, Inc. will get them trained. Or train them yourself! Once they have gone through the training, they can assist you with the bulk of the premarital preparation in your congregation. Often during wedding season, pastors’ schedules are full of counseling engaged couples. Let your marriage mentors take care of these appointments. You’ll not only free up your own schedule, you’ll be fostering healthy relationships between the mentors and the mentees. After the wedding, these relationships might even keep the newlyweds coming back to your church!
Q: Why is Marriage at Risk?
A: Traditional marriage, cohabitation, same-sex marriage and out-of-wedlock child rearing are all competing for equal spots in the hearts and minds of our society. The reality is they are not all equal. We know, for example, that cohabitation nearly doubles a couple’s risk of divorcing. Research also shows that people who divorce are often less happy and less wealthy despite their thoughts to the contrary. Same-sex marriages challenges the idea that both a male and a female are needed to optimally raise children. And single motherhood is one of the greatest predictors of poverty in our nation.
Q: Why must we act now?
A: Churches have been silent too long on these issues. We must speak up for the sake of this next generation of young people. They need to hear of the beauties and benefits of marriage and of God’s original design for a man and a woman. Then, we need to challenge young couples to build healthy and productive relationships that will last a lifetime. We will work hard to bring hope and healing where there is already pain and damage, but prevention is always easier. Start today by signing up for the Prepare/Enrich training. Call us at 815.939.5385.