[tabs tab1=”For Churches” tab2=”For Governments” tab3=”For Ministries” tab4=”For Families” tab5=”For Teachers” tab6=”For Small Groups”]
A large part of the mandate God has given us has been to equip other churches. The divorce rate should not be the same as it is in the world! Churches should be the hub of where good counsel takes place, so churches and church organizations are what we primarily connect with.
The whole reason the NAME centers have been only a church establishment is because we want believers to help deflect divorce out of their church and to draw non-Christians or non-church going Christians into a church for free counseling. We also want to make sure that the couple that does the counseling (CMS) is recommended by the pastor as faithful church members with sound wisdom and counsel so that the NAME center does not separate from the church but is a ministry within the church.
Another option for churches is to have a Together Forever seminar- a Friday night and Saturday morning marriage event with deep-seeded biblical teaching, funny jokes and heartfelt moments. These events always prove fruitful and often get many of the couples excited and rejuvenated about going to church again!
Also, many people request Pastor Leo Godzich to speak at their Sunday service or mid-week service—sometimes on marriage related subjects and other times just revelation that he received from God’s word.
[tab id=”tab2″]Healthy Marriages Promote Productive Parenting
Dr. Leo Godzich
Special to the Washington Times Weekly Edition, July 13, 2003
President Bush is advancing a healthy marriage initiative designed to help couples who choose to marry develop the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain their marriages.
?Government has a vested interest in supporting healthy marriages,” said Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services.
But critics of the initiative suggest that government should remain neutral concerning marriage.
Over all, children who come from two-parent healthy marriage households do better than children who don’t come from those types of households, so the government shouldn’t be neutral about marriage, Horn said at a recent conference at Emory University.
“We’re not neutral about home ownership, because communities with a high proportion of homeowners are more stable and have less social pathologies. The government provides incentives for homeownership,” said Horn.
An overwhelming body of recent research supports Horn?s, and President Bush’s, assertion that government has a vested interest in marriage, especially when it comes to the well-being of children.
Consider the following statistical abstract, for trends evidenced from 1975 to 2000:
Half of all marriages ended in divorce.
One third of all children were born to single mothers.
Two thirds of all juvenile offenders came from homes of divorce.
Three quarters of all African-American children were raised without fathers.
Marriage rates have dramatically decreased, while illegitimacy domestic violence and sexually transmitted diseases have increased.
The number of unmarried couple households increased from approximately half one million to over 5 million during that time.
In 2001, more than one third of all children born in the United States (approximately 1.35 million of the more than 4 million born that year) were born outside of marriage. But is there a connection between promoting healthy marriages and poverty in children?
Do healthy marriages contribute to parenting success in the well-being of children?
Research has shown married people to be happier, healthier and to live longer. In fact, men’s longevity increases by an average of 250% for married men over non-married men and married women’s longevity increases by 50% (some believe the extremely high early mortality rates for homosexual men account for this dramatic difference).
Marriage is also associated with reduced levels of alcohol and substance abuse and lower rates of injury, illness and disability.
“Being married changes people in ways that make them, their children and their communities better off,” said Linda J. Waite, director of the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work at the University of Chicago.
So marriage benefits those who are married, but does marital status affect the well-being of children?
In a report entitled, ?Growing Up With A Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps?, researchers Sarah McClanahan and Gary Sandefur studied evidence from four major national data sets and compared the outcomes of children growing up with both biological parents against the data for children growing up with single parents and with stepparents.
They found that children who did not live with both biological parents were roughly twice as likely to be poor, to have birth outside of marriage, to have behavioral and psychological problems, and to not graduate from high school.
Other studies prove that there is a link between marital status and child health outcomes. For instance research has shown that children living in single-parent homes are more likely to experience health problems, and accidents and injuries.
Children of divorced parents are at a substantial disadvantage compared to children of married parent families in the area of educational achievement. Children of divorce are more than twice as likely to have serious social, emotional, or psychological problems as children of intact families—25% versus 10%—according to the book, For Better Or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, by E.M. Heatherington, released last year.
Even with the plethora of research substantiating the value of marriage as a core value to any successful society, critics of President Bush’s initiative attempt to discredit the correlation between married status and poverty levels for children.
Are children from unmarried homes at an economic disadvantage?
Over 80% of long-term child poverty occurs in broken or never married families, and children raised by never-married mothers are seven times more likely to be poor when compared to children raised in intact married families, according to Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
The U.S. Census Bureau, in its study ?Children with Single Parents?How They Fare? supports that assertion; approximately 69% of children of never married mothers are poor, compared to 45% of children brought up by divorced single mothers.
And a brief published in May by the Center for Law and Social Policy shows that child-rearing outside of marriage has become increasingly prevalent in the United States. Among children living with single mothers, the proportion living with never married mothers increased from 7% to 36% between 1970 and 1996.
More than 7 million children now live with a never-married parent, and children of never-married mothers are at greater risk of experiencing negative outcomes and are among those most likely to live in poverty. Regardless of the mother?s age at birth, a child born to an unmarried mother is less likely to complete high school than a child whose mother is married, thereby increasing the likelihood of low-wage earning and a continuing cycle of poverty.
There is a window of opportunity.
Research on women with their first premarital pregnancy leading to a birth found that those who married while they were pregnant experienced a poverty rate of less than half of those who did not marry. A 2002 report from the Urban Institute, Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Well-being, showed that those in their first pregnancy leading to birth outside of marriage experienced a poverty rate of 47% as opposed to only 20% for those who married during that first premarital pregnancy.
Contrary to popular belief, nearly three quarters of nonmarried mothers are in a relatively stable romantic relationship with the expectant father near the time of the birth of their child! Based on an analysis of data of 4,700 new and in many cases unwed parents (Fragile Families and Child Well-being, a study by Princeton University) expectant non-married fathers who have a romantic involvement with the mother-to-be are quite ?marriageable”. Very few have drug, alcohol, or physical abuse problems, according to the Heritage Foundation analysis of that study.
This presents a challenging opportunity to reach those couples at a critical time. The opportunity is to provide education and support concerning marriage in hopes to reverse a continuing cycle of poverty and poor outcomes. In fact, the Heritage Foundation analysis indicates increasing marriage will dramatically reduce child poverty. The Center for Law and Social Policy brief echoes: “It is also possible that marriage itself—the actual act of getting married—changes the attitudes and behaviors of couples in positive ways, as well as those of others towards them.”
The challenge occurs in trying to reach those unmarried couples during those critical premarital months.
Entities with credibility in low income areas will be required to reach out to those couples. With that in mind, NAME, the National Association of Marriage Enhancement, has announced a test project: “The Marriage Mobile.”
A $250,000 dollar renovation project into a 50 ft. semi trailer truck into a mobile counseling center and workshop classroom is designed to try to meet that need. By taking a state-of-the-art video projection, mobile classroom and counseling center to certain low income areas for several weeks at a time, followed by marriage skills workshops and seminars in the area, NAME hopes to reach and educate that target population group during their critical decision-making times.
Over the past seven years, NAME has launched 140 counseling centers providing free marriage counseling utilizing volunteer Certified Marriage Specialists in a unique couple-to-couple counseling environment. This, in conjunction with catalytic seminars and workshop skills training events, has proven to be effective in helping at risk couples.
NAME has been a pioneering force in marriage skills training as part of welfare reform. In Arizona, the first state to appropriate part of their federal block grant funds to strengthen marriages, NAME has conducted marriage skills workshops, seminars and training with extremely high levels of satisfaction from attending couples.
The time is now to further attempts to help the well-being of children and families through marriage strengthening efforts. The eighth annual International Marriage Conference, October 2-4 in Phoenix, is themed ?Healthy Marriages, Strong Communities.” The conference will gather several thousand couples involved in marriage strengthening initiatives from a faith-based perspective for equipping, training, inspiration and motivation. For more information, go to https://nameonline.org.
The marriage mobile will be unveiled and introduced during the International Marriage Conference. This is but one of many innovative approaches to reaching non-married couples that will be required to strengthen families and give children a better chance at success in different aspects of life.
The President’s Healthy Marriage Initiative, as part of welfare reform reauthorization legislation, would specifically target low income, unmarried families to benefit from part of an experimental $300 million earmarked to educate couples on the benefits and value of marriage as well as provide marriage skills and intervention to support long-term marital success.
While critics will continue to challenge these efforts, it is important to keep in mind the overall picture, and what a small drop in the bucket, these efforts actually are.
The President’s proposal to spend $300 million per year, on his pilot program to promote healthy marriages, according to the Heritage Foundation’s analysis, represents a very modest sum, spending only one penny to promote healthy marriage for every five dollars the government currently spends subsidizing single-parent families.
Isn’t it high time that we started to build a guardrail at the top of the cliff, rather than continuing to fund the dispatching of expensive ambulances to the bottom of the hill?
The children of America and the benefits to society are well worth it.
Dr Leo Godzich is the founder and president of NAME, the National Association of Marriage Enhancement, the founder of the Covenant Marriage Movement, and an associate pastor at Phoenix First Assembly of God Church in Phoenix Arizona.[/tab]
[tab id=”tab3″]We realize that many churches out there already have marriage ministries, and we realize that many may be working out well for a church due to budgetary restraints, etc. We are not about pushing our product on you; we genuinely have a passion for equipping ministries so that they can reach a greater pool of people. We want to make our resources, our vision and ourselves available to you. As the church, we are to help, support and encourage each other with the plans that God has given us, but we should all have like vision. Our vision should be to stop divorce and turn people towards the heart of Jesus!
We would love to help you in this endeavor. Under the article, “For churches,” on our site we explain the marriage seminars that we offer and under the article, “for small groups,” we list certain highlighted resources that work well in a Sunday school environment. We also, have an annual International Marriage Conference in Phoenix, AZ in the fall that brings new vision to marriage ministry leaders every year.
A great resource to help you biblically counsels other couples on very specific topical information is the scripture reference guide. Click here to find out more about the Scripture Reference Guide. This guide has been popular among many different marriage counselors all over the nation. It really becomes a great help in those “Well, what does God say about this?” moments.
A great way of expanding your marriage ministry is by offering a premarital course if you don’t already have one set up. This course helps to make sure couples know what they are getting into. It covers a variety of subjects—finances, sex, communication, vision, etc. If they still want to get married after the course, they will definitely know how to found their marriage on Godly principles. Click on this link for that resource.
Again, we just want to make ourselves available to you. Call our office and speak to one of our staff members on how we can help you. Be encouraged! Keep fighting the good fight! We are in this with you! The battle is the Lord’s![/tab]
[tab id=”tab4″]God is foundational and the first institution that he created was marriage. Strong marriages lead to strong families. Strong families lead to strong churches. Strong churches lead to strong communities. NAME is committed to helping families become stronger through strengthening marriages.
NAME has conducted Together Forever events in various communities and countries to strengthen marriage for nearly 20 years. In 2003 NAME cooperated with the states of Arizona to conduct a number of marriage skills events in several counties in the state. In 2006, NAME received 2 grants to help conduct skills events to help low income families across the state.
NAME realizes that tonight more children will not go to bed in house with both their biological than will. This number has tripled in the last 30 years. The breakdown in marriage has eroded the family in the past generation. NAME is committed to strengthening marriage to change the next generation. By ending the divorces of the parents, NAME indirectly plays a part in the raising of those children by establishing a more functional environment than they would have with divorced parents. This will help the child to understand the concept of unconditional love and lessen their chance of getting a divorce. By remeding the problems of this generation, we are bringing hope to the next.[/tab]
[tab id=”tab5″]NAME is committed to help couples committed to marriage ministry. This website is being developed to help equip teachers of marriage ministries with resources. The Preparing for the Covenant of Marriage and Training of Care Couple Counselors curriculum has been a help to teachers wanting to mentor couples.
The NAME staff and friends of the ministry are collecting statistical information as a resource to teachers and pastors regarding marriage issues. Pastor Leo Godzich has taught a marriage Sunday School for nearly 20 years at Phoenix First Assembly. This class has provided a wealth of resources on marriage to teach from.
Each year the International Marriage Conference (IMC), sponsored by NAME, brings together leaders in marriage ministries. One marriage ministry called it the super bowl of marriage conferences because IMC has so many different marriage ministries but also allows God through His Spirit to minister to each couple. Many ministries have been launch either directly or indirectly as an affect of being at an IMC.[/tab]
[tab id=”tab6″]NAME, after years of inquiries and encouragement from friends of the ministry, has started to develop some small group materials. We now have three small group studies that are being requested all over the country. We have several others in the works.
NAME has been involved in several smalls groups at Phoenix First Assembly over the years to understand the dynamics of how couples small groups. This has served as a help in understanding how to develop the materials in the future. We have added staff with writing and development backgrounds to help us develop more materials.
Some people choose to work through these different materials as Sunday school programs or night classes through the church and some use it as a home group Bible study. Whatever your comfort may be or your schedule allows, this is a great way to get couples discussing and introspecting about their marriage in a safe environment with other couples.
If you are looking for a marriage study group, we most often recommend the “Is God in Your Marriage” books and workbooks. These are full of the richest, yet most foundational concepts that can get even the longest marriages off to a better and right start in the Lord. Click on this link for more information about Is God in Your Marriage? workbooks.
Another great small group resource is The Covering. The Covering has monumentally changed many marriages all over the country. The concept of covering your spouse just as Jesus covers us is often misunderstood or not taught on. These deep teachings will bring up emotions and deep seeded feelings that will help the couple to grow closer together while discovering how to grow closer to Christ.
We also have “Anger Management” workbooks. This comes with the CD pack of Anger Management teachings, so that couples can learn healthier conflict resolution skills. It is great for the couple that really roughly fights a lot and the couple who occasionally angrily raises their voice at one another. Click on this link for more about Anger Management.
Also, we have a book called “Mighty Men” which works great in men’s small group settings. It calls men to be the bold spiritual leader that they were called to be. This will make husbands want to strive to be the spiritual leader of the home that they should be. Click on this link for more information about Mighty Men.
And the most recent one that will be soon coming out is the “Men are From Dirt Women are From Men” workbooks to supplement the books, about studying our differences.[/tab]