The Marriage Course

The Marriage Course is for any couple who wants to invest in your relationship—whether you’ve been together 1 year or 61, and whether you have a strong relationship or you’re struggling.

Overview

WHAT IS THE MARRIAGE COURSE?

A seven-session course set in a fantastic atmosphere. You will be served a candlelit meal or coffee, tea and dessert at a romantic table for two while listening to practical talks that are informative and fun. There is never any group work and you won’t be asked to share anything about your relationship with anyone other than your partner.

WHY DO THE COURSE?

Regular check-ups help a car run smoothly and reduce the risk of breakdown. The best sports professionals spend hours being coached and perfecting their technique. And the greatest achievements in life take practice, training and dedication.

It’s the same with marriage. A strong, loving, lifelong relationship doesn’t happen by chance. It takes effort and dedication to keep the fun and romance alive. We can all learn how to make even the happiest marriage better.

Find out more

The Marriage Course was developed by Nicky and Sila Lee, co-authors of The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book. They have been married for more than 30 years, have four children and are on the staff at Holy Trinity Brompton — the London church that started the Alpha course. They started The Marriage Preparation Course in 1985 and The Marriage Course in 1996. The courses continue to spread with thousands now running around the world.

Nicky and Sila run The Marriage Course three times a year at Holy Trinity Brompton with around 100 couples on each course. The Marriage Book has sold more than 210,000 copies since it was published in 2000.

The seven sessions cover:

  • Strengthening connection
  • The art of communication
  • Resolving conflict
  • The power of forgiveness
  • The impact of family
  • Good sex
  • Love in action

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

The course takes place over seven evenings. A typical evening starts at 7 and finishes by 9:45. Each session includes:

  • A fantastic atmosphere that feels like a date night
  • A meal at a romantic table for two
  • Practical talks that are informative and fun
  • Private discussion time
  • Homework to do at the end of each session. This will help you to build on what you have learned and give you the opportunity to apply it to your relationship. Don’t worry — no one else looks at it! It’s just for your own benefit.

WHO IS IT FOR?

Are you married or in a long-term cohabiting relationship?
Have you been together for more than a year?
Would you like your relationship to be the best it can be?

Whether you have been together for one year or 61, and whether you have a strong relationship or are struggling, this course is for you. While The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles, it is designed for couples with and without a Christian faith.

Other Alpha resources

Alpha is a 10-week practical introduction to the Christian faith designed primarily for non-churchgoers. It's a wonderful opportunity to explore life, meaning and faith in an informal, fun and friendly environment.

SEE COURSE DETAILS

If you have children, we recommend taking either The Parenting Children Course or The Parenting Teenagers Course. It’s so important to invest in your family just as you have invested in your marriage.

SEE COURSE DETAILS

Stories

Don’t take our word for it – this is what guests have said about the course. Why not share your story?

“A guest on the Marriage Course said that all the couples on their course (all in 20’s – 30’s; no children) loved the course and all came to the same conclusion over the weeks of the course. Their conclusion was that they were all living in their married relationship like they used to live when they were single – going out when they wanted to, doing their own thing and living a single life in a married status. The week on communication was challenging but a real eye opener for them all. The conclusion was they needed to be intentional and plan – prepare – commit to their marriage especially to make time for Marriage Time.”

“The husband suffered a brain aneurism just after they had completed the marriage course. The wife felt that they could not have pulled through the ordeal, as a united couple, had they not repaired their broken marriage first. The husband is now well and back at work.”

“Our marriage was at a critical stage in which permanent separation was imminent. This course gave us hope and understanding that we can get to a good place again by working together as a couple.”

Recommended reading

THE MARRIAGE BOOK

Nicky and Sila Lee
HTB Publications 2000

The first seven sessions of The Marriage Course are based on the seven sections of the book. Covers additional material from The Marriage Preparation Course in the appendices. Practical advice on what builds a strong marriage for engaged and married people. Also gives single people an insight into marriage.

BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Zondervan 1982

Only when we know and respect each other’s needs can we give ourselves freely and lovingly to one another. Boundaries in Marriage takes the principles of boundaries and applies them to the marriage relationship.

EVERY MAN’S BATTLE
Stephen Arterburn
Random House 2000

Sexual addiction is on the rise – even within the church. In this compassionate guide, Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker tackle the problem head-on, offering a practical battle plan for men, married or single.

HOPE FOR THE SEPARATED
Gary Chapman
Moody Press 1982

Contains sound and practical advice for those who are separated to know how to give their marriage the best chance of being restored.

LOVING AGAINST THE ODDS
Rob Parsons
Hodder & Stoughton 1994

Full of humour, engaging stories and practical advice on how to keep love at the heart of marriage and family life.

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES
Gary Chapman
Northfield Publishing 1995

The seventh session of The Marriage Course (“Love in Action”) is based on this concept of the different ways people feel loved.

THE MONEY SECRET
Rob Parsons
Hodder and Stoughton

The Money Secret demonstrates how money can either be the source of freedom and happiness or a burden of guilt and debt. Rob Parsons shows a new way forward which will focus priorities and put the reader back in control.

THE PARENTING BOOK
Alpha International 2009
Nicky and Sila Lee

Drawing on their own experience of bringing up four children and having talked to thousands of parents over the years on their parenting courses, Nicky and Sila Lee bring fresh insights and time-tested values to the task of parenting. Full of valuable advice and practical tips, The Parenting Book is a resource for parents to come back to again and again. Nominated for theChristianity Magazine Book of the Year Award.

YESTERDAY’S CHILD
Mary Pytches
Hodder & Stoughton 1990

Describes with a Christian understanding both how a lack of love in our upbringing can affect our relationships today and how to resolve the past.

Get involved

The Marriage Course needs volunteers not only to lead courses, but also to support couples and ensure sessions run smoothly. There are several ways to get involved. Contact Alpha New Zealand on 09 525 3139 or office@alpha.org.nz for more information and for resources.

BECOME A SUPPORT COUPLE

Support couples attend each session of the course and make themselves available for any couples who need additional guidance. Each guest couple has their own table so support couples are not asked to dine with the guests.

PRAY

Prayer plays a vital role in The Marriage Course. We would greatly appreciate your prayers, specifically for:

  • Each guest couple and their families
  • All of the course leaders and support couples
  • God to strengthen marriages and family life around the world
  • The ministry at Holy Trinity Brompton and Nicky and Sila’s work in marriage and parenting

LEAD A COURSE

Course leaders are needed throughout the world as our courses grow rapidly.

JOIN THE VOLUNTEER TASKFORCE

Volunteers help in a variety of ways:

  • Greeting guests as they arrive
  • Administrative duties
  • Helping with set up
  • Serving food and beverages
  • Clearing up

If you are interested in volunteering, please get in touch.