From This Day Forward Marriage Conference
Oklahoma City, OK * March 11, 2006

A perfect marriage?

Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? I recently typed “perfect marriage” into my Google search engine, and 1,360,000 results popped up almost instantaneously. Some gave advice on how to have the perfect marriage, others questioned whether such a thing exists, and still others shared accounts of “perfect marriages” that have ended, much to everyone’s shock and disbelief.

With so much information out there, and with our country’s divorce rate affecting 40-50 percent of all marriages, where can we turn for solid, trustworthy advice on achieving the perfect marriage? Is such a thing even achievable? The Bible, of course, offers good advice. After all, God instituted marriage in the first place. But sometimes our minds yearn to hear directly from an encouraging someone(s) who continue to beat the odds with their spouse.

Are you aware that our church offers such advice and practical, real-life applications of how to deal with the joys and challenges of being married in the 21st century? The North American Division (NAD) Family Ministries department provides an array of materials on the topic and also hosts one-day marriage retreats around the nation aimed to both celebrate the blessings of marriage and to re-ignite the fire from within.

On March 11, NAD Family Ministries director Willie Oliver and wife Elaine, NAD marriage and family consultant, and Pastors Mike and Gayle Tucker from the Arlington, Texas, church conducted a celebration of marriage commitment in Oklahoma City. The event, co-sponsored by the NAD, Southwestern Union, and Oklahoma Conference, not only touched on communication, sexual oneness, and the joys of marriage, but also on problem-solving, forgiveness, and recommitment. The presenters shared specific ways to eliminate barriers that threaten oneness, to work toward understanding what your spouse is saying/doing before acting, and to remember to attack a problem together instead of attacking each other.

Buford Griffith, Jr., Southwestern Union Family Ministries director, said that marriage retreats are incredibly necessary, and should even be considered mandatory, for all couples, including those not currently experiencing marital difficulties. “Life can become so complex,” said Griffith, “that we get so busy just trying to exist, that we forget to live. Couples need, even if their relationship is good, to be able to spend time together and be reminded of the things that make marriage successful.”

As to the question, “Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage?” Griffith replied, “I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. However, I do think there are things that attribute to a successful marriage: a willingness to understand each other as partners, being intentional in your communication, and diligently striving to operate as a team.”

Written by: Roxie Graham-Marski, Assistant Communication Director for the Southwestern Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.