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Learning from the Pros

One pastor requires his counselees to speak to older married people.
Learning from the Pros

The more marriages break up, the more pastors seek for ways to teach survival tactics, especially to engaged couples. A few years ago Dennis Kooy, minister of First Christian Church in Vale, Oregon, added some unique homework to his premarital counseling: interview someone who's been married 50 years.

"I require each bride to talk to an elderly wife and each groom to talk to an elderly husband," says Kooy, who provides the following questions:

  • What has allowed your marriage to work?
  • What have you personally done to help the marriage?
  • How have you handled difficulties in your marriage?
  • What have you done when the going got rough?
  • As you look back over the last 50 years, what times were the hardest?
  • What advice would you give to someone like me?

"Nearly every young couple is scared to death at this assignment," reports Kooy, who has since moved to a church in Tillamook, Oregon. " But when they come back, they're invariably excited. For many of them, it's the ...

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