Married couples in Phoenix are finding romance in an unlikely place: Desert Mission Anglican Church. Since 2010, the Rev. John Dyson and his wife Barbara have held The Alpha Marriage Course in their home, with the atmosphere of a romantic candlelit dinner. Couples enjoy flowers and soft music at a table for two while listening to practical talks that are informative and fun.
John and Barbara learned about the course from Andy and Judy Piercy when Desert Mission hosted a 2010 music leader’s conference. The following month, the Dysons offered the first Marriage Course session in their home, guided by Alpha’s reason for creating the class: “A strong, loving and lifelong relationship doesn’t happen by chance. It takes effort and dedication to keep the fun and romance alive. We can all learn how to make even the happiest of marriages better.”
The seven-week course establishes the importance of weekly marriage time. There is never any group work, which appeals particularly to the guys. John and Barbara enjoy cooking, and their delicious food is a highlight for attendees.
Desert Mission has now completed seven sessions of The Marriage Course. The last session in spring 2013 included couples who were not part of Desert Mission but referred by friends and family who had previously completed the course.
“The focus on making marriage time a priority is one we will continue long after the course ends,” one attendee reported.
“The course is very non-threatening, one-on-one time spent talking to your spouse,” another shared.
John says part of Desert Mission’s vision is to strengthen families, and The Marriage Course is a great vehicle to do just that. In fact, he was recently asked to perform a wedding ceremony for a couple upon their completion of the course.
“Another benefit from the course is that we have just started an Alpha class and have couples attending who completed the Marriage Course,” Barbara says. “We plan to offer The Marriage Course in the spring and an Alpha class in the fall each year.”
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