Every year, we hold over 30 weddings here in Cornerstone Community Church, and it brings us great joy to see couples coming together in union before our Lord, the Creator, and designer of marriage.
Marriage is a blessing from God and comes with many joys as well as growth in times of trials. Therefore, it takes constant work and commitment to build a strong marriage that thrives through ups and downs.
Based on data from the Department of Statistics in Singapore, the number of divorces and annulments increased by 13.4% from 2020 to 2021, with couples who were married for 5 to 9 years accounting for the largest share of all divorces in 2021.
The Newlyweds Workshop hosted by Family Life Ministries (FLM) was introduced to help newly-married couples lay good foundations and cultivate healthy relationship habits that would benefit them in the long haul.
Twelve couples who were married for one to four years joined us for the session on 23 July 2022. Participants delved into topics such as resolving conflicts in marriage, physical intimacy, and what men and women need in relationships.
Dave and Ann Wilson’s Vertical Marriage resources were introduced, which comprised humorous videos on relatable matters, with group discussions and segments for couples to intentionally connect. During the video sessions, Dave and Ann shared personal stories from their relationship and provided participants with handles to work towards a vibrant and God-centred marriage in practical ways.
The Wilsons are authors of the book, Vertical Marriage, and have been marriage coaches for 30 years. When their marriage was on the rocks, it was God who restored and made all things new. God took Dave and Ann from the brink of divorce and transformed their marriage into a healthy one where they could reconnect with
“The simple secret begins with realising that a purely horizontal marriage just doesn’t work. The secret to a great marriage is to go vertical, inviting God into your worst conflicts and unsolvable dilemmas,” Dave and Ann Wilson share in their materials.
The sessions guided couples toward building a vibrant relationship at every level including communication, conflict, intimacy, and romance. It was also designed to garner active participation and facilitate discussions between couples.
Time was set aside for each couple to connect with God and with one another. This brought both laughter
and tears as they started to communicate their love and appreciation for each other. One of the biggest takeaways for many of the participants was the reminder that vertical marriage is not a one-time deal but a daily surrender.
“The truth is that conflict is normal in a marriage – and when we start learning to resolve conflict together, we
actually grow closer to one another and more intimate in our marriage. God can use our conflicts to make us one,” the Wilsons advised.
The Newlyweds Workshop was well-received by all who attended, and some of them commented that they should have brought their friends along! Although most had attended the Marriage Preparation Course before tying the knot, it was a different experience altogether attending the workshop as husband and wife as they now had a deeper understanding of each other.
Vertical marriage means going to God, but it also means that God wants to use marriages and relationships to impact others for Jesus. Family Life Ministries is passionate about building strong marriages, and we run programmes such as Singles Connect, Marriage Preparation Course, and Marriage Renewal Workshops to support and equip couples as they journey from dating to building a family.
We believe that a strong and vibrant marriage is possible when it’s built on a foundation of active faith. Our relationship with God changes our marriage and impacts the people and communities around us!
Here are some of the thoughts of participants of the workshop:
“The content is amazing. I did not expect it to be this good. We should have brought another couple
in our cell along. When’s the next run?”
– Wee Shan & Eleora
“We learnt the importance of setting aside time intentionally (from work and children) to talk about God and our relationship. We also got to understand each other’s needs and how to cheer each other on. The biggest takeaway would be to always have God in the centre of our marriage and to go vertical together. A week after the workshop, I received an appreciation card and a dessert box from my husband!”