Class Overview

Day of week:Sunday
Time:5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
# of Sessions:Twelve
Dates:Fall 2017 classes are Sunday, September 10 through November 26, 2017. Spring 2018 classes begin February 11, 2018 to April 29, 2018.
Class size:Limited to the size of the room (the maximum class size has been 55 couples)
Presentation style:Lecture, small discussion groups, each couple has multiple opportunities to discuss specific issues together during class time on Sunday nights. The class is designed to be a relaxed, learning situation. No one is called on directly or speaks in front of the class unless they volunteer to do so.
Topics covered:-Biblical Marriage
-Cohabitation facts
-Personality differences
-Conflict resolution
-Spiritual oneness
-Physical oneness
-Family of origin
-Male/Female differences
-Decision making
Homework:Each week the participants are assigned to read a section in the main book and answer and discuss with their fiancé questions about the topic(s) for the week.
Mentors:Each of the couples who attend Grace Church regularly and who are usually being married by a Grace pastor are given the opportunity to have a mentoring couple. The engaged couple and mentoring couple are asked to meet three times to discuss expectations, roles and conflict resolution.
Relationship Inventory:Grace couples who are seriously dating or couples not from Grace Church who are engaged or seriously dating are given the opportunity to have a coach couple. The engaged or seriously dating couple take the FOCCUS inventory and discuss the results with a coach couple.
Books used:Getting Ready for Marriage by Jim Burns and Doug Fields; Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start by Cliff and Joyce Penner
Who attends:About 50% of the couples are engaged and plan to be married within nine months. Approximately 25% of the couples have quick marriage plans, get married between class cycles and attend class after their wedding date. About 25% of the couples are seriously dating and want more input before the engagement decision. The class is open to couples throughout the Twin Cities and 60% to 75% of the participants are not affiliated with Grace Church. Most couples are in their 20's, 30's, or 40's.
Materials received:Each person receives a 3 ring notebook with tabs to organize all handouts by topic. Weekly, approximately 16 pages of questions and notes are distributed. Each couple receives one copy of Getting Ready for Marriage and one copy of Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start.
Coordinators:Russ and Kathy Nelson. Russ is a CPA and has his own public accounting firm. Kathy is a licensed social worker and full time mom. Contact the Nelsons at 952-893-1100.
Presenters:Russ and Kathy Nelson are responsible for most of the presenting. Various outside speakers present in their areas of expertise.
Cost:$90.00 for the class. The PREPARE inventory is paid for separately. There is no charge for the FOCCUS inventory.


Below is information about out weekly sessions.

The order of sessions varies with each class based upon presenter availability.
Session 1Introduction to course
Pop culture vs. Biblical marriage
Understanding how your personality will affect your marriage
Session 2Engagement-peaceful or stormy
Principles for engagement
Session 3Roles in marriage
Roles of each spouse
Servant leadership
Biblical submission to one another
Session 4Principles of effective communication
The 5 levels of communication
Speaking your spouse's language
Cohabitation facts
Session 5Advanced Communication Techniques
The Five Love Languages
Speaker/Listener Technique
Session 6How our backgrounds shape us for marriage
Family of origin issues
Dealing with past relationships
Session 7Conflict resolution principles
The basis of conflict
Working together to resolve conflict
Session 8Forgiveness
Life story of one couple's forgiveness journey
Session 9Growing together spiritually
Setting your spiritual direction
Spiritual oneness
Mentoring couple and coach couple explained
Session 10In-Law insights
Principles for relating to in-laws
Discover the keys to resolving in-law conflicts
Session 11Financial Stability
Financial principles for a happy marriage
Session 12Becoming One
Romance and sexual response
Getting your sex life off to a great start
Birth control
How children impact your relationship