Marriage

At Autumn Ridge Church we believe that marriage is a gift from God, and when at its best, reflects the self-sacrificing love that Christ demonstrated for the church. It is our goal to partner with God’s Holy Spirit to minister to the marriages within our faith community. We like to think of enriching marriages as a function of discipleship. We are all moving along the spiritual journey to be transformed into the image of Christ, and this spiritual transformation will also impact our marriages and families.

We seek the Lord’s leading to accomplish his purpose in our marriages. Our primary method to achieve this purpose is through a comprehensive and integrated approach to the marriages and families of Autumn Ridge Church and our surrounding community.

Marriage and Family Ministry Values

  • Christ-centered – Every component of marriages and families hinges on our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
  • Comprehensive – We strive to touch all aspects of marriage and family life, just as God engages each of us at every point along our story.
  • Integrated – We continually work to coordinate with the existing ministries of ARC, seeking not to duplicate effort, but to magnify effectiveness.
  • Inclusive – God desires to restore and redeem marriages and families regardless of church affiliation. We strive to reach the community through this point of need.

Main Areas of Ministry

  • Premarital
  • Marriage Mentoring
  • Conferences and Retreats
  • Education and Resources
  • Marriage Counseling
  • Divorce and Remarriage

Marriage

Premarital

God’s design for marriage begins well before we say “I do”. At Autumn Ridge we invest significant time and resources helping couples get off to the right start. Contact Pastor Karen Foster at Foster.Karen@AutumnRidgeChurch.org if you are interested in learning more about ARC’s premarital preparation.

  • Want to get married at Autumn Ridge Church? Call the church office at 507-288-8880.

Marriage Mentoring

Marriage Mentoring is a vital tool for building marriages. We believe any married couple can learn from a more experienced couple serving as their mentors. But it is important to differentiate between marriage mentoring and family mentoring. Two separate definitions will be helpful:

Marriage mentoring – A couple-to-couple mentoring relationship from the newlywed stage on. Areas to explore would include communication, family, finances, in-laws, marital expectations, and relationship roles.

Family mentoring – A couple-to-couple mentoring relationship at any stage, with the purpose of focusing on areas outside of the marriage relationship. Examples include aging parents, raising school-aged children, potty-training toddlers, child behavioral issues, etc.

The idea of mentoring sometimes infers there are problems to be dealt with. However, we believe mentoring is simply another form of discipleship, an opportunity for an experienced couple to come alongside another couple to help guide them through the marriage or family stage they are currently in.

For more information on Marriage Mentors or if you are interested in becoming a Marriage Mentor, please contact Pastor Karen Foster at Foster.Karen@AutumnRidgeChurch.org or call the church office at (507) 288-8880.

Retreats

Staying in Love Weekends at the Elizabeth Lodge

We all know what’s required to fall in love. A pulse. Falling in love is easy. But staying there? That’s something else entirely. With more than 1,500 matchmaker organizations in the United States, finding someone is easier than ever, but staying together seems to get more difficult every day. So. . . is it possible for two people to fall in love and actually stay there? Absolutely!

The Marriage Matters ministry at Autumn Ridge Church is excited to announce that we will be providing marriage retreats one weekend a month at the Elizabeth Lodge. We invite you to check out the Marriage Matters page on the church website for dates and registration information.

All marriages can benefit from a weekend focusing on ways to enrich and strengthen your marriage relationship.  While these retreats are open to all couples, if you are currently struggling in your marriage, we recommend you speak with Pastor Karen Foster prior to registering.  Please contact Pastor Karen by email at Foster.Karen@AutumnRidgeChurch.org or phone at (507) 288-8880.

The following are the retreat dates for the 2017 calendar year:

July 14-16
August 11-13
October 13-15
December 8-10

Tentative 2018 retreat dates:  (Registration will open in November for the 2018 retreats.)

January 5-7, 2018
February 2-4
March 9-11
April 13-15
May 4-6
June 8-10
July 13-15
August 10-12
September 7-9
October 12-14
November 2-4
December 7-9

Education and Resources

At Autumn Ridge we believe there is much to be gained from the wisdom shared with us through the work of many other Christians. We have compiled a list of resources that we highly recommend for personal or small-group study. The items listed below are available either in stock, or to order from Christos Bookcenter at Autumn Ridge Church. Videos are available to borrow from Christos.

Books:

Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John. Boundaries in Marriage, Zondervan, Aug 12, 2002.

Eggerichs, Emerson. Love and Respect, Thomas Nelson, Sept 7, 2004.

Johnson, Sue. Hold Me Tight, Little, Brown and Company, April 8, 2008.

Keller, Timothy. The Meaning of Marriage, Riverhead Trade, Reprint Nov. 5, 2013.

Kenworthy, George. Before the Last Resort, Family Life Publishing, July 1, 2008.

Misa, Michael and Chuck. Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage, NavPress, March 15, 2009.

Olson, David et. al. The Couple Checkup, Thomas Nelson, July 1, 2008.

Parrott, Les and Leslie. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts,Zondervan, Oct 2, 2006.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage, Zondervan, Feb 4, 2002.

Lending Videos:

Videos are available to borrow from Christos.

Driscoll, Mark. “Song of Solomon”, DVD, The Hub, 2009.

Ingram, Chip. “Marriage Built to Last”, DVD, Bluefish TV, 2010.

Cloud, Henry & Townsend, John. “Boundaries In Marriage”, DVD, Zondervan, 2007.

Resources - Open Ended Questions

Asking Open-Ended Questions

An excellent step in knowing your partner is to ask questions that deepen your understanding of them.  Open-ended questions have stories for answers — and layers of meaning that can help you understand the heart of who your partner is.  Use these questions to make a date night productive in connecting with your spouse.

Questions:
What do you want your life to be like in, say three years from now?
How do you see your work changing in the future?
How do you feel about our physical home?  Any changes you would like to make?
How would you compare yourself as a parent to your own parents?
What kind of person do you think our child(ren) will become?  Any Fears?  Any hopes?
How do you feel about your family right now?  Have these feelings changed lately?
What do you find exciting in life right now?
What are your biggest worries about the future?
How do you think we could have more fun in our life?
Who are your best allies and close friends right now?  How have they or you changed?
Have any of your friends drifted away?
Who in your life is most stressful to you?  Why?
What do you need right now in a friend?
What things are missing in your life?
How have you changed in the last year?
Have your goals in life changed lately?
If you could live one other person’s life, whose life would you choose and why?
What goals do you have for our family?  Goals for yourself?
What legacy do you want our family to take from your family?  My family?
What would you change about our finances right now?
Where would you like to travel?
What adventures would you like to have before you die?
What are some of your life dreams now?
If you could change one characteristic about yourself, what would it be and why?
How has your outlook on life changed in the past couple of years?
If you could live during any other itme in history, when would you choose to live and why?
If you could choose any other career or vocation other than what you do now, what would you chose and why?
What were the highlights and lowlights of your adolescence?
If you could wake up tomorrow with three new skills in which you excelled, what would they be and why?
If you could re-do any decade of your life, what would it be and why?  If you could live in any other location in the world, where would it be and why?

Marriage Counseling

The pastors at Autumn Ridge offer an initial counseling session with individuals or couples free of charge. We use this first session to assess where a couple or individual is in their relationship. The second step may be to refer a couple to a professional counselor in town, refer the couple to the Compassion Counseling Center, (where counseling is offered free of charge,) connect the couple to a ministry or small group, connect the couple to our marriage mentoring team, or schedule additional sessions with one of the pastors.

Typically the pastors at Autumn Ridge do not do any long-term counseling. For questions about marriage counseling or to set up an appointment with a pastor, please contact Pastor Karen Foster at Foster.Karen@AutumnRidgeChurch.org or (507) 288-8880.

Divorce and Remarriage

At Autumn Ridge Church we recognize that we serve an amazing God who is in the business of rescuing and restoring marriages that are struggling. While we do believe that God can work a miracle in any marriage, sometimes separation or divorce is unavoidable. It is our desire to walk alongside couples who are in the midst of these struggles in marriage and to offer healing for individuals and families dealing with the pain of divorce.

See our position paper on divorce and remarriage here.

Interested in Marriage


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