MOUNT PLEASANT — In an effort to enrich and promote the Sacrament of Marriage, Christ Our King Church has initiated a program to help people learn about it.
The classes are led by licensed marriage and family counselor Louisa Storen. Storen said that the idea came from the successful program used at St. Andrew’s and St. Michael’s Episcopal churches. She observed the class at St. Andrew’s.
“A married couple named Nicky and Sila Lee from the Anglican Church in Britain wrote a curriculum called ‘The Marriage Course,’ ” Storen said. “Other churches have had great feedback and we decided to do it here. I really learned a lot from my observation at St. Andrew’s. The response has been overwhelming.”
The sessions covered topics such as communication, conflict resolution, forgiveness, marital relations and other foundations of a strong marriage. Each participating couple sat at their own table, allowing them to spend one-on-one time together.
“We had Grace Hall decorated like a restaurant and the couples were able to have ‘date night,’ ” Storen said. “The Mustard Seed catered wonderful food and we provided baby-sitting services. Music was playing, and with the separate tables there was no group interaction, just the couple spending time alone.”
Storen, who has been married for 11 years, said that she has found the eight sessions to be very helpful.
“Marriage takes a lot of work, and if we can provide skills to strengthen already happy marriages we will have been successful,” she said. “Msgr. (James) Carter has highly encouraged couples to participate. He wrote a letter of encouragement and Father (Robert) Higgins and Sister Donna (Lareau) have been so helpful and encouraging.”
Storen said that the class is just as necessary for couples who get along as it is for marriages in crisis.
“This class is especially for couples who get along,” she said. “It provides a chance to fine-tune any areas that are lacking. If couples are in crisis this class would go very well with marriage counseling. Couples watch a videotape and follow along with a manual. They also do practical assignments to implement the skills that they are learning.”
The cost for the eight-week course is $160 and covers all materials, food and baby-sitting. The class meets Thursday nights from 6-8:30 p.m. At the eighth session the couples are provided with baby sitters so they can go out on their own private date.
“We have four core couples who facilitate the sessions, but we are always looking for volunteers,” Storen said. “We have five or six couples already signed up for the next session meeting in February, but we are limited to 25 couples at a time. If we can get as many couples to attend as possible, we will really see a lot of good.”
For more information on “The Marriage Course,” contact Storen at (843) 416-1103, or Tony and Diane Dufour at (843) 881-7756.