The Sweet Christian Bride

Featured Resource: The Significant Marriage

The Significant Marriage®

By Dave and Mary Gothi

Summary: The Significant Marriage® is a weekend seminar that equips couples with tools and information necessary for removing the hindrances that distract them from being available to God.  Additionally, they are given tools to help determine, create, and refine a plan for the purpose that God has given them.  Each couple has a God-given purpose, unique from any other couple.  Think about that!  In all of history, not one other couple is equally qualified to do what God has knit you and your spouse together to do!

The Gothi’s have sorted through what they believe is the best of the best of marriage tools and have—with permission from the authors—included excerpts from those resources into one comprehensive curriculum.

Value: Because marriage is Chris and my ministry, we have intentionally immersed ourselves into Biblical teachings and tools for marriage.When we first saw the curriculum for TSM, we knew right away that it was gold.  He and I had been to many other marriage conferences, as well as had had marriage teachings for nearly every Sunday for the previous six years, so we have seen a lot; however, there was something distinct about TSM that stood out to us right away—the plan for purpose.

After attending the conference and getting to know the Gothi’s personally, Chris and I realized that they too added value to their conference.  Their purpose was clearly also marriage ministry, and God had equipped them—through their personal stories and polar opposite personalities—to be able to resonate with most couples.  They have also been teaching for A New Beginning, a seminar for marriages in distress, for quite some time, which gives further depth to their credence as instructors.

Although TSM was originally created as a pre-marital tool, the materials and the speakers penetrated into the issues and dynamics of veteran marriages as well.  In fact, the seminar that Chris and I went to was attended mostly by couples in their late thirties, forties, and fifties—some first marriages, some second and beyond—and every single couple gave positive feedback about the seminar, giving testimony to the relevance, depth, and quality of the weekend.

Additionally, TSM also has a weekly study component that allows for revisiting the tools and reexamining the plan that a couple makes in the weekend seminar.  This means that TSM is set up to be a potential marriage ministry for a church.  Think of every couple in your church from engaged to sixty-plus years of marriage getting a new foundation in their marriage through a TSM seminar.  Then, in the following six months to have small groups form—perhaps around the age and stage of the couples—to create some accountability in the plans that each couple has created.  These groups will allow couples to encourage each other and to be as vulnerable as they need to be in their pursuit of having a more purposeful marriage!  A church could repeat the seminar/small group events as often as they would need in order to make it a ministry to their growing and changing congregations.

TSM is not a magic trick.  If a couple has never thought about their individual or corporate purpose in the Kingdom, they won’t necessarily walk away with a plan to become missionaries to Africa.  But TSM will offer them tools to continue the conversation outside of the weekend, and if they aren’t sure to what end they are making a plan, then they are able to make a plan to develop a plan.  Each couple will leave the seminar having started the self-examination, the prayer, and the corporate conversation needed to begin discerning what God has in store for them.  And because this purpose will likely change with each new season of a couple’s life, the Gothi’s send each couple home with a soft copy of their plan so that changes can be made as the couples “check and adjust.”

Highlights: Everyone will walk away with different highlights, but for me there were three major ones:

1) The Four Love Styles: This is a new personality profile by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.  I scored the highest in the “leader” category, as do many wives.  That was not news to me.  What I heard for the first time, however, was how a wife with a leader personality and a husband who scores low in the leader category can still have a marriage where the husband is the spiritual leader if the couple can learn to play to their strengths.  I was so glad to have my rigid notion of what a leader looks like be expanded so that Chris and I can both lean into our strengths as God designed us instead of cramming into the mental box I had for leadership in the marriage.

2) The Four Horsemen: Why I had never heard of Dr. John Gottman before astounds me.  This was the most eye-opening tool I have ever come across for learning how to have healthy conflicts.  I always thought I was really good at conflict, but I am so grateful to have learned that I let criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling run too many of my arguments.

3) The Plan: Chris and I developed a plan together.  For the first time we had a truly informed and intentional discussion about our future as a couple and what it takes today to be ready for that.  We had often dreamed together, but figuring out what those dreams would mean for today was where we didn’t know how to address because of the differences in our personalities and priorities.  This weekend was a breakthrough for our marriage plan.

Rating: 5 stars.  Being our fourth marriage conference in the past thirteen months, Chris and I weren’t expecting to come away with any new breakthroughs.  Boy were we wrong!  I strongly believe that every married or engaged couple can benefit their marriage and the Kingdom by engaging the tools learned at The Significant Marriage® seminar.