Getting Married? We’ve got a great way to get ready!
Family Ministries exists to help and inspire families. And what better place to start than at the beginning or when you are beginning again! This is why we are excited that Chris and Stacey Contenti have decided to bring their passion to invest in new marriages with the help of the Prepare-Enrich Program – to help and inspire you in the journey ahead.
Here’s what they have to say:
Just over five years ago we were invited to train as Mentors in the Prepare-Enrich Program. After talking together and praying about it we decided to sign-up and truly haven’t looked back since. Marriage has always been something we value greatly and we felt the Lord leading us into a ministry where we could help couples start their marriage on a solid foundation with many of the tools already in place to succeed in their relationship together.
We have met with a number of couples in the mentoring relationship throughout the last five years – always inviting them in to our home over a period of 6-8 weeks for about 90 minutes at a time to connect, share, learn, and laugh together. Sitting across the coffee table from one another in our front room, usually with a sweet treat and a cup of tea, we have offered ourselves as an ‘open book’ to engaged couples who are preparing to be married.
The couples we have spent time with have been quite varied. Some were young and preparing to marry their highschool sweetheart, others were in their late 40s or 50s and marrying for the first time, while others were marrying again. Some met online, some at church, at work, or in the small community they lived in. We’ve met with couples who were waiting until they were married to move in together and others who had been living together for years. Some had children while others did not. Some couples loved the Lord while others hadn’t met Him yet. Our couples were professionals, students, business people, laborers, oilfield workers, and parents.
What does a Prepare-Enrich Mentor have to offer to a couple approaching marriage? Well, we’re Marriage Mentors and though our marriage isn’t perfect we would describe it as solid and happy. We’ve weathered many storms together – some small and others not so small. We’ve made a great deal of mistakes and would likely do a few things differently if we had the opportunity. One thing we have done well over the years is to continually choose one another every single day of the journey. We’ve pushed though, we’ve talked, we’ve asked for help when we needed it, we’ve been real with each other, and we’ve tried to keep the Lord as center of our relationship. We’ve walked the road of ‘sickness and health’ and twice stood on the edge of ’till death do us part’. We’ve had fun together, laughed with one another, encouraged each other, rejoiced with one another, and raised a family together. We have been doing life together for over 22 years and wouldn’t trade one minute of our journey. We consider it a privilege to be able to share our journey with dating and engaged couples through the mentoring relationship.
In our experience as mentors we’ve seen a groom who came in and sat silently during the first few sessions and by the end of our time together he was sharing his feelings with his fiancé. A bride who felt rejected by her fiancé in one particular area of their relationship but didn’t know how to communicate it to him. She arrived at a point where she could explain what was bothering her and together they found a positive solution. A couple who had very difficult dynamics within the extended family managed to work things out and ended up having a very positive experience at their wedding. A couple who had only just met face-to-face after dating online spent six weeks exploring the idea of marriage before getting engaged to see if it was right for them (and it was). These are just a sampling of the type of situations that can be explored during the Prepare-Enrich experience.
Why would a couple choose to do their marriage preparation through the Prepare-Enrich mentoring program? It’s the personal, relational aspect of the mentoring experience that stands out as a highlight to us. It’s a real relationship where a couple is offered the opportunity to connect with experienced mentors who have ‘been there’ and have learned a great deal over the years that they have been married. It’s the gift of a couple who is willing to be real, to be vulnerable, to answer the difficult questions, to share their humorous stories, and offer wisdom about marriage. We think the better question might be “Why wouldn’t an engaged couple choose to do their pre-marital preparation through Enrich?”
To sign up now, click here.
For more information please feel free to contact Deborah Carpenter (Assistant to the Family Ministries Pastor, Barry Oram) (DeborahC@CrossRoadsChurch.Ca)