Marriage Works


Do you find that family and friends often come to you for help with their marital problems? Do you feel God has gifted you with a heart that desires to help these people, care for them and provide encouragement in marital relationships? Do you wish you were better trained and equipped, more skilled and better able to use God’s Word during these times? We have just the program for you! Marriage Works is a distance learning, 5 part, 30 lesson training program designed to educate and equip a community of helpers within the church to offer careful, Biblical encouragement, direction, hope and relational growth to couples everywhere.

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There are 30 Continuing Education Units included with this course.

Marriage Works is a training program designed to educate and equip a community of helpers within the church to offer Biblical encouragement, hope, and relational growth to couples everywhere. This course will provide you with a better understanding of the issues couples struggle with in today’s complex world as well as how to care for and provide them with encouragement and spiritual direction.

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Unit 1

Core Issues

MACO 101: The Marriage You Always Wanted
Presented by Tim Clinton, Ed.D., LMFT

Marriage is close to the heart of God—so close that He identifies it with the unconditional love that Christ has for the church (Eph.5:23f). AACC President and marriage therapist Tim Clinton introduces learners to Godly marriage and marriage ministry. Couples are encouraged to seek God’s way into this sacred romance, to define a vision to achieve transparent honesty and relational intimacy for their own marriage, and then to give it away as they grow and help other couples.

MACO 102: Secrets of a Deeper Love
Presented by Gary Smalley

America’s “dean” of marriage enrichment, Gary Smalley guides us on a tour to discover the deeper secrets of marital satisfaction and joy. Revealing that grand paradox of agape love—abandoning ourselves for the sake of our spouse—he teaches us that the way is not easy, but the journey is an incredible adventure, and the prize is sweeter than we can ever imagine.

MACO 103: Biblical Foundations: Marriage God’s Way
Presented by Ed Hindson, Th.M., D.Min., D.Phil.

The Bible is a deep mine of marital gems. This course explores the sweep of biblical stories, instructions, parables, prophecies, metaphors, and poetry on the beauty, the love, the struggle, and the fruit of marital life. Bible scholar and dynamic teacher Ed Hindson outlines the contours of a biblical model and ethic for marriage.

MACO 104: Talking Sense: Good Communication in Marriage
Presented by H. Norman Wright, M.A., LMFT

“We can’t communicate,” is a constant litany heard by marriage counselors. Norm Wright, perhaps the “ambassador” of marital communications in the church, shows us how to talk together—how to listen and know we are being heard, how to understand and express our feelings, and from this, how to get unstuck and start growing again.

MACO 105: What’s Love Got To Do With It?: The Ways We Love
Presented by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.

“All you need is love,” sang the Beatles, but they definitely were not the first to do so. Love may not pay the bills, but it does keep the bill-payers together. Marriage and relationship expert Les Parrott weaves together the differing threads of love that make up and hold together the tapestry of life-long marriage.

MACO 106: Negative Thinking in Marriage: Its Power and Problem
Presented by Greg Smalley, Psy.D.

Negative thoughts can sabotage even the best marriages. Learning to balance expectations with reality about marriage and each other will help avoid much disappointment and heartache. Greg Smalley reveals the true invisible enemy, and instructs us about seeking the best in each other and creating a good and maturing marriage.

Unit 2

Enrichment Issues

MACO 201: Falling in Love for all the Right Reasons
Presented by Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D.

Far too many people feel mismatched in marriage. Without doubt, choosing your life-long mate is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. When married to the right person, for ‘all the right reasons,’ both marital satisfaction and divorce avoidance levels can significantly change for the better. Dr. Warren, accomplished professor, researcher, and author, discloses his research on positive marital matching and program for finding and marrying the right mate.

MACO 202: Preparing for Marriage and Pre-marital Counseling
Presented by Les Parrott, Ph.D. and Leslie Parrott, Ed.D.

A counseling supervisor once mused on the absurdity of licensing people to drive, yet requiring nothing of people entering marriage. This is beginning to change in the church, which is getting serious about marital preparation and divorce avoidance. Authors, therapists, and professors Les and Leslie Parrott disclose their extensive work in marital preparation and counseling in this session.

MACO 203: Spiritual Intimacy: Becoming Soul Mates
Presented by Dan Allender, Ph.D.

Life-long marital satisfaction requires that couples move beyond sexual and emotional intimacy to become true soul-mates. There is a spiritual bond, and a deeper sexual and emotional intimacy, that evolves uniquely when two people mature in marriage over the course of a lifetime. This starts in young marriages, and grows into a wonderful union as life progresses. Impassioned teacher, psychologist, and acclaimed author Dan Allender reveals these wonderful secrets.

MACO 204: Embracing Kids: Love through the Parenting Years
Presented by Mark Crawford, Ph.D.

Children are one of life’s most precious gifts—many would give up life itself for their children. Yet, marital satisfaction tends to fade when children reach adolescence—this need not be so. Mark Crawford is effusive and humorous about the joys and trials of family life. He teaches us how to embrace and delight in our children, while avoiding the mistake of creating a child-centered home.

MACO 205: LUV Talk: A Communication Method for the Rest of Us
Presented by Michael Smalley, M.A.

The battle between the sexes began in the Garden as a consequence of the Fall. Michael Smalley discusses one of the most powerful methods to eliminating divorce – learning how to communicate during conflict. LUV Talk gives the participant the knowledge, skills, and structure on how to argue effectively where the couple can reach a win/win agreement. If you know how to make an order at a McDonald’s drive-thru window, then you already know how to LUV Talk.

MACO 206: Marital Seasons: Keeping Love Alive Across the Years
Presented by David ARp, MSW and Claudia Arp

Married life is similar to individual development—it has its own stages, or developmental seasons. David and Claudia Arp share with us their dynamic program of marriage and its constant renewal over the long arc of marital life—especially life in the “second half of marriage.” The Arps show us how the ‘golden years’ of marriage can truly be either the best or worst times, and challenge us to make them our best years in every way.

Unit 3

Challenging Issues I

MACO 301: Marital Drift: Recognizing It and Returning to the Mainstream
Presented by Don Harvey, Ph.D.

Drift and disaffection is universal in marriage. The bloom of courtship, the honeymoon passion inevitably fades as marriage is affected by the reality of living in today’s time-starved world. The issue is not how to avoid disaffection—that is impossible, a Hollywood fantasy—but how to avoid being stuck in and derailed by it. Professor and therapist Don Harvey shows us how to recognize marital drift, accept it for what it is, and move beyond it to growth, maturity, and joy in marital living.

MACO 302: Depression in Marriage: Climbing Out of the Black Hole
Presented by Michael Lyles, M.D.

The incidence of depression is widespread and growing in the Western world—a calamity that also assaults marriage in major ways. Christian psychiatrist Michael Lyles takes us on a tour of the world of depression and its impact on marriage. He gives us sure direction on how depression is effectively treated, and what couples must do to battle this insidious struggle personally and maritally.

MACO 303: An Angry Spirit: Seeing Red in Marriage
Presented by Gary Oliver, Ph.D.

Anger is not condemned by God, but He does condemn its rule over our lives and marriages.Psychologist, theologian, teacher, and noted author Gary Oliver reveals the impact of an angry spirit and its corrosive effect on ourselves and our marriages. He gives sure direction for the godly control and expression of anger—teaching us how to rule it rather than the other way around.

MACO 304: Past Hurts and Marital Satisfaction
Presented by Sandra Wilson, Ph.D.

Most Christian and professional counselors will attest that at the root of many emotional disorders in adults lies a history of traumatizing and unresolved wounds from the past. Whether they be the better-known wounds of abuse, or lesser known wounds of neglect, disaster, trauma, or parental divorce, past hurts hurt adults and their marriages. Acclaimed counselor, author, and speaker Dr. Sandy Wilson reveals this connection, how to sever and heal it, and how to risk growing up into beautiful lives.

MACO 305: Marital Secrets and Values Conflicts between Couples
Presented by Tim Clinton, Ed.D., LMFT and George Ohlschlager, J.D.

Counselors can become as bound up as couples who bring in their “lose-lose” secrets and values conflicts for resolution. It is tough to decide what to do and how to live with someone hiding something or who is simply a different person. Tim Clinton and his AACC colleague, George Ohlschlager, guide us to effective resolution of the confusing knots created by the double-bind dilemmas that couples often face.

MACO 306: Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Marriage
Presented by David Stoop, Ph.D.

Without the constant oil of forgiveness, the never-ending adjustments of reconciliation, marriage can quickly become a white-hot friction that burns up and burns out its partners. Noted psychologist and author David Stoop is not only dedicated to this Biblical call in marriage, he is constructing a dedicated interpersonal science of forgiveness and reconciliation. In this course, he shares his wisdom and expertise with us on this crucial issue.

Unit 4

Challenging Issues II

MACO 401: Domestic Violence: Confronting Physical and Sexual Abuse
Presented by Leslie Vernick, MSW

Domestic violence may be the proverbial elephant the church denies is sitting in its house. From actual violence that is kept hidden like some festering wound, to distorted views of male headship that actually demean and mask the emotional abuse of women, abuse in the church must be confronted and redeemed. In her firm, yet gentle way, therapist Leslie Vernick shows us how.

MACO 402: The Affair: Getting Beyond Marital Betrayal
Presented by David Carder, M.A.

Affairs need not be sexual. Either spouse can make a “mistress” of their work, their cause, their children, their money, their social status, or of virtual sex short of a relationship with someone else. Pastor and counselor David Carder teaches us that adultery is idolatry in whatever form it takes. He focuses on the sexual affair to guide us how to avoid and to heal from this penultimate betrayal.

MACO 403: Substance Abuse in Marriage: Getting Past the Chaos
Presented by David Stoop, Ph.D. and Jan Stoop, Ph.D.

Drug wars go on in individual households, as well as in cities and across borders. If affairs are the rifle shot through the heart of marriage, drug abuse may well be the shotgun blast that renders chaos throughout all of marital life. A major personal, social, and international problem, substance abuse also devastates many marriages. Drs. David and Jan Stoop reveal this major problem, how to confront and overcome it, and how to heal a war-torn marriage.

MACO 404: Sexual Intimacy: Developing Closeness and Bridging the Gender Gap
Presented by Arch Hart, Ph.D.; Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.; and Debra Taylor, M.A.

Every marriage struggles to achieve vibrant sexual intimacy. Sometimes the struggle is due to the lack of or faulty sexual education during childhood or adolescence or from early sexual experiences. Often there is the pressure of unreasonable expectations, distortions and inadequate understanding of the needs of the opposite sex. Based on two national studies involving over 2,000 women and 1,000 men, internationally renown psychologist and professor Archibald Hart, his daughter Catherine, and their associate Debra Taylor provide helpful information to enhance sexual intimacy in marriage.

MACO 405: Loss in Marriage: Embracing the Hope of Heaven
Presented by H. Norman Wright, M.A.

Loss and grief impact marriages as well as the individuals who suffer loss. The varieties of loss in life are myriad, and they increase as couples celebrate long life together. Living through loss without the hope of Christ—without the promise of heaven—easily renders life meaningless and full of despair. Norm Wright teaches us to deal properly with loss in marriage by holding on to our sure hope.

MACO 406: Sexual Problem-Solving: Healing the Pain, Restoring the Intimacy
Presented by Chris McCluskey, MSW; Doug Rosenau, Ed.D.; Michael Sytsma, Ph.D.; and Debra Taylor, M.A.

Sexual problems come in a variety of forms — from infertility to poor communication, from hormonal deficiencies to inhibited desire and an inability to function due to fatigue and stress. Doug, Chris, Debra, and Mike, authors, and theologians, who have teamed up in the organization Sexual Wholeness, will guide you on this sensitive journey to understanding, adjusting to, and overcoming the pain of common sexual problems in marriage.

Unit 5

Intervention and Policy Issues

MACO 501: Hope-focused Marriage Counseling: Ten Interventions
Presented by Everett Worthington, Jr., Ph.D.

Too many marriages in trouble lose hope and come to despair, even action toward divorce, before the cry for help is given. Every helper needs what psychologist, professor, and researcher Ev Worthington delivers in this session—a brief, structured model of marital intervention—ten of the best and most fruitful techniques in marital counseling—that concentrates on the regeneration of hope and the pursuit of doable goals.

MACO 502: Law and Ethics in Marital Ministry and Intervention
Presented by George Ohlschlager, J.D.

Marriage counseling has numerous ethical and legal issues that are unique to this specialized form of helping. Law-trained therapist and ethicist George Ohlschlager reviews the key issues, describes how helpers can best manage the liability risks, and outlines the proper behavior regarding ethical practice with couples.

MACO 503: Living with An Unbelieving Spouse
Presented by Ed Hindson, Th.M., D.Min., D.Phil.

As in the first century, living with an unbelieving spouse is a significant issue in the 21st century church. Whether one married into this condition or one became a believer in marriage, the differences and conflicts between believers and non-believers are easily magnified in a marriage. Ed Hindson shows how to address these problems and create a life that honors both God and marriage.

MACO 504: Boundaries and Separation in Marriage
Presented by Ron Hawkins, DMin., Ed.D.

Interpersonal boundaries do change in marriage, but they do not disappear. Also, there are times when separation and sexual abstinence are unavoidable. Addressing these issues is crucial to developing marriages that are able to mature and thrive. Counselor, pastor, professor, and university dean Ron E. Hawkins brings a wealth of insight to bear on these important matters.

MACO 505: Surviving Divorce and Living Again
Presented by Tom Whiteman, Ph.D.

Pained experience and hard-won research both reveal the devastation of divorce. God hates it, but He allows it when there is no way to save a marriage that has been destroyed by adultery and abandonment. For those who face a difficult tomorrow, psychologist and divorce recovery expert Tom Whiteman gives sure guidance for traveling and recovering from this major trial with the least possible harmful way.

MACO 506: Marriage Policy and Advocacy in Church and Society
Presented by Craig and Janet Parshall

Public policy issues in marriage and family life is a very hot topic currently. From the influence of religious values to the assertion of a right to homosexual “marriage,” a values-based cultural war is going on in every legislature, courthouse, and church of the land regarding the definition and protection of marriage. Respected Washington lawyer Craig Parshall and his wife, Janet Parshall, award-winning radio/TV talk show host and chief spokes-person for the Family Research Council, teach us to become effective advocates for Godly marriage outside our family circles.