Marriages That Work
Of Lenawee County
A 501 (c)(3) Corporation
Our Mission: "We advocate and strengthen marriage through
Who We Are:
Marriages That Work was formed in 1996 to address the problem of
divorce and failing marriages in Lenawee County. In 1997 we
sponsored the largest interdenominational gathering of ministers
and civil officials for the purpose of addressing a specific social
problem in the history of the county. The result was a policy
adopted by 58 churches and all civil officials in the county who do
weddings to require minimum premarital education. The requirements
include a premarital inventory, along with education in
communication skills and conflict resolution. The adoption of this
policy attracted both national and international interest, with
media inquires from as far away as Europe.
Since 1997 Marriages That Work has trained local ministers, lay
ministers and marriage counselors in the administration of both
Foccus and Prepare / Enrich, two nationally recognized premarital
inventories, and the skills needed for mentor couples. Prior to
this effort only 10 people in the county were certified to
administer Prepare, now there are over 75. We have also run
workshops for PREP®, a communication skills program developed at
the University of Colorado and used internationally.
Marriages That Work has also developed a brochure, We had our
baby ... Now What About Sex?, to address one of the major stresses
many couples face after the birth of children. This brochure is
available free at Bixby Hospital, Herrick Hospital and most of the
Ob / Gyn and Pediatrician Offices in the county for all women who
give birth. This brochure has been adopted for use by other
organizations across the United States.
Marriages That Work is currently developing a number of
additional programs to strengthen marriages, reduce the number of
out of wedlock child births and increase the involvement of fathers
in the rearing of children.
Why We Do What We Do:
There have been an average of about 520 marriages and about 435
divorces per year over the past five years. These divorces have
effected roughly 4,500 children. It has approximately 125 Christian
churches, about half being main line denominations. Unfortunately,
many of these churches do not have any ongoing, comprehensive
. Problems at home make unproductive and inattentive
. Divorce and unmarried childbearing are among the major causes
of poverty for both women and children.
. Parental divorce (or failure to marry) increases children's
risk of school failure and reduces the likelihood children will
graduate from college.
. Both divorced men and women have higher numbers of alcohol
related problems, leading to higher levels of drunk driving and
other social problems.
. Divorce tends to lead to fathers not being active in the lives
of their children. Families with the father absent make up 63% of
youth suicides; 71% of high school dropouts, 85% of all persons in
prison and 90% of all homeless and runaway children.
. Children living with a step father are 6 times more likely to
suffer serious abuse than those living with both natural parents;
14 times more likely when living with the biological mother alone,
20 times more likely when living with the biological father alone
and 33 times more likely when their biological mother is
We want to actively involve the faith community since Scripture
defines marriage as of fundamental importance to God. Moreover, Mal
2:16 tells us "'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel."
(NIV) Since this is part of the belief system of the faith
community, they should want to be active partners.
Goal #1. Expanding public education through mass media and
targeted messages to high school students, college students,
clients of local Family Independence Agency (FIA) of the State of
Michigan, service clubs, church groups, etc., relating to such
issues as: the value of marriage, the importance of strengthening
marriages, the problems associated with divorce and on the
importance of having children in the context of a healthy marriage,
as opposed to out-of-wedlock childbirth. .
Goal #2. Using Connections, the relationship course for teens,
in all High Schools and Junior High Schools in the service area.
(This includes private schools.) An effort would also be made to
reach home school children with this information either through
home school organizations or churches.
Goal #3. Expanding the use of premarital education for couples
intending to marry and marriage enrichment skills and information
education for existing marriages. This will include, conflict
resolution, communication skills, financial budgeting for marriage,
sexuality and related intimacy issues, and dealing with
Goal #4. Establishing on going step family programs and support
groups. This would provide education on issues unique to step
families to help such couples improve the chances of successfully
blending two families into one.
Goal #5. Provide support and skills training for "at risk
couples." "At risk couples" include all marriages that have a
markedly higher statistical chance of divorce than the general
population. At risk marriages include when a child of the marriage
dies (illness or accident), couples who married young, i.e. under
age 22, especially in their teens, couples who had long term
cohabitation, serial cohabitation, or cohabitation resulting in the
birth of a child before marriage.
Goal #6. Providing mentor couples for not less than 50% of
couples getting married in a church: "before you tie the knot, let
us show you the ropes."
Goal #7. Working with the faith community to educate ministers
on the need for and the use of skill based premarital education,
premarital inventories and ongoing comprehensive marriage
Goal #8. Working with the faith community to establish a prayer
support team for all couples getting married in Lenawee County.
Goal #9. Establishing an active liaison couple network with
Goal #10. Reaffirming and strengthening the role of the father
in the home, without diminishing the equally important role of the
Goal #11. Partnering with members of the local bar association
to develop a core group of family law lawyers, who agree to
recognize and work toward reconciliation as a desirable goal in
most divorce cases.
Goal #12. Expanding the service area from Lenawee County to also
include Hillsdale County. Eventually, we would also like to include
Jackson, and Monroe Counties and change the name of the
organization from Marriages That Work of Lenawee County to
Marriages That Work of Southeastern Michigan.
Contact: Joyce Faulhaber, Executive Director
or Judge Jim Sheridan, 517-264-4655.
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