JI Course 111: LOVING FOR A LIFETIME
The Six Essentials of a Happy, Healthy, Holy Marriage in the Second Half of Life.
Partners in maturing marriages, defined as marriages of at least 25 years or longer, and/or marriages of persons who are well into their middle years, present unique faith development needs, and therefore require marriage enrichment and marriage preparation materials and programs that address these “needs of faith maturation.” Partners in such marriages are perforce older and have therefore entered into later developmental stages: middle years, retirement years, or elder years.
While these three stages of marriage may have varied developmental needs in themselves, an overarching similarity exists among them; partners in such marriages have lived more than half of their lives! Such marriage partners have already embarked on the premier faith developmental task of addressing mortality in a tangible way. This fact not only unites these three marriage stages, but it also presents a teachable opportunity for addressing the faith formation needs of maturing marriage partners within the framework of a marriage enrichment experience.
This is a unique, and even ground breaking course that presents a vibrant model of the personality of each partner, the spiritual strengths that each has been given by God, and the basic, fundamental “essentials” of a healthfully maturing marriage. All of this is folded into a marvelous new model of spiritual growth in the maturing marriage that includes: Sacred Unity: Finding true togetherness in a world of separation Blessed Uniqueness: Learning the meaning of genuinely honoring one another Transcendent Prayerfulness: Discovering deeper communication Holy Groundedness: Learning to recognize and appreciate the ‘sacredness’ of sharing in your marriage Redeeming Forgiveness: Trusting God’s healing absolution does/can saturate your union Spiritual Faithfulness: Fostering a fuller flowering of distinctiveness, color, and commitment in your marriage
Beginning in the middle years, and accelerating across the later years lifespan we find more than several cultural forces converging to exert increasing pressure on the maturing marriage, among these forces are:
· Increasing longevity
· Emphasis on health maintenance
· Financial insecurity
· Loss of loved ones
· Denial (or fear) of aging
· Adult children issues
· Grand parenting
· Escalating caregiving requirements of aging parents and/or aging spouses
· Retirement, and its attendant loss of identity
· Mental health issues
· Shifting relationship needs
· Pace of change in our society
These issues are felt to varying degrees by each maturing marriage, but every maturing marriage is faced with addressing at least some of these across their lifespan.
Each of these cultural issues simultaneously presents both a unique threat, and a robust opportunity for ongoing faith formation of the partners in maturing marriages, and for the strengthening of the vocational marital bond itself. Addressing such issues themselves offers maturing couples the “stuff” of life that can either drive them further apart or closer together. These times can therefore be seen as “sacred moments” or “holy tensions” in that couples can there discover deeper connection with one another by entering into a profound and faith-filled journey toward a fuller and richer communion with God. Here is the spiritual underpinning of the meaning of mature life living, discovering God anew in the simple NOW of life
1. Text: Loving for a Lifetime, Richard P. Johnson,
2. Reproducible Insight Activities
Course 111 is one of 12 courses that make-up the JOHNSON Institute curriculum in Spiritual Gerontology and Maturing Adult Faith Formation, culminating in student's earning their Professional Certificate in Spiritual Gerontology (PCSG).
This course may be taken anytime in a self-study format.
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