Saving Marriages Before and After They Start

Langley, B.C.—Oprah, NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America have all sought the expertise of marriage experts Les (PhD) and Leslie Parrott (EdD), and now Trinity Western University will be their host. As authors, noted researchers, and professors of Seattle Pacific University, the Parrotts are authorities on marriage preparation and enrichment and will be the plenary speakers for this year’s Smarter Families Canada, held at TWU, June 4 and 5.

In response to the growing needs of families, particularity within the Church, John Auxier, PhD, Dean of Trinity Western Seminary, helped pioneer Smarter Families Canada, an innovative marriage and family ministry leadership training conference. The national conference is aimed at equipping lay leaders, pastors and Christian mental health professionals for excellence in premarital preparation, marriage enrichment, parenting education and recovery ministries.

Spotlighting the theme “Saving Marriages Before and After They Start,” this year’s conference will feature more than 30 seminars on Marriage Enrichment, Parenting and Recovery Ministries. Appending to the event will be pre-conference Institutes—June 3 to 4—and a post-conference graduate course entitled Counselling Dysfunctional Families—June 7 to 11.

“Today’s culture needs comprehensive marriage and relationship education,” psychologist Les Parrott explains. “We need help preparing people for the challenges of marriage and providing already married couples with resources and support.” With his wife Leslie—a marriage and family therapist—Les Parrott has written numerous books on marriage including “Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts,” “When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages,” and the recently released “The Love List.”

“People are so often just a passenger in the journey of love,” explains Les Parrott. “What I’d like to see is people grab the steering wheel and recognized there are things that they can do to improve their chance of success in the relationship.” The Parrotts want everyone from singles to those married with children to be equipped with tools for navigating a healthy marriage. Developing a premarital preparation, building marriage enrichment into Church vision statements and paring couples with “marriage mentors” are just some one of those untapped resources they will address at Smarter Families Canada 2004.

Marriage and family expert John Auxier agrees that for marriages to thrive, they need to be a priority for the Church. “The ACTS seminary partners believe that in order to build more stable, healthy and godly homes, the Church needs to move marriage and family-related helping to the forefront of spiritual ministry,” he says. Both ACTS and Smarter Families Canada represent major evangelical denominations such as the Christian & Missionary Alliance, the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches, the Evangelical Free Church, the Baptist General Conference, the Mennonite Brethren and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

In recent years, views of marriage have become increasingly secularized in the Canada and the importance of the church’s role in supporting marriage has been called into question. “Religious leaders still remain the most commonly used resource for pre-marital counselling and research indicates that on the whole, clergy in North America continue to be the most likely persons initially contacted first for marital and family problems, way ahead of professional counsellors or community mental health agencies.”

“If concerns exist about the state of marriage in Canada in the Christian community,” says Auxier, “then the local church continues as one of the most strategic places for teaching, supporting and modeling the values and blessings of Christian marriage.”

“Saving Marriages Before and After They Start,” will give conference goers a chance to network with each other while exploring issues such as how to help couples build affair resistant marriages, exploring parenting curriculums, and how to establish support groups in the local church. On Friday night, Vineyard Music recording artist Andy Park will lead worship.

Event: Smarter Families Canada 2004
Title: “Saving Marriages Before and After They Start”
Plenary Speakers: Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott of Seattle Pacific University
Date: Friday, June 4 and Saturday June 5, 2004
Location: Trinity Western University, 7600 Glover Road, Langley, B.C.
Cost: $75; After May 15: $99
How to register: Program schedule and registration are available online
Contact: Event coordinator, Marg Bartel, 604-513-2044

Pre-conference Institutes, June 3-4
In addition to the SFC conference seminars, there will be three in-depth, Pre-conference Training Institutes offered June 3 and 4. Features include Enrich Canada’s “Empowering Couples” curriculum, Focus on the Family’s “How to Drug Proof Your Kids” instructor training, and leader training for the respected “S.T.E.P.” parenting program.

Post-conference Graduate Course, June 7-11
Post-conference graduate course offered June 7-11: In coordination with Smarter Families Canada 2004, noted author and visiting seminary professor Dr. Sandra Wilson will offer her popular course CLG 683: Counselling Adults from Dysfunctional and Abusive Families.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,500 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 13 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-20
Author: Keela Keeping