Bruce and Janet have attended Chapelgate Presbyterian Church in Marriotsville, Maryland since 1995. Janet teaches women’s studies. Bruce serves as an elder and also volunteers at Chapelgate’s Life Counseling Center ministry. They host a small group and help lead Celebrate Recovery at Chapelgate. Married for thirty-six years, they are the parents of three adult children, all of whom are married, and are the grandparents of two grandchildren.
Anyone who has said “I do” would agree holy matrimony is a petri dish of sanctification. And students of CCEF courses can testify that the lectures, readings and response papers are incubators of growth in the Spirit. Combining these two makes for a recipe that brings change individually and as a couple. This has been our experience.
Several years into our marriage, we realized how easy it would be to slip into living out our marriage as “married singles.” We purposed ourselves to order our lives as a couple. We attend a church who has long been connected with CCEF so we were familiar with its resources and attended several conferences together over the years. When the opportunity came to pursue online classes, we each felt called to enroll and experience biblical teaching as a couple. CCEF’s generous policy of one-half tuition for the second family member helped us to manage this commitment financially.
CCEF courses consistently call students to make personal applications. We are asked to respond to matters in our own hearts: What am I worshiping? Where am I sinning? How am I responding to conflict and temptation and pressures of life? How can I love and know others better in helping relationships? How might I pray? What Scripture brings light and gospel wisdom to the conversation? Searching our hearts in these ways helped us see areas where repentance and growth was needed.
Taking classes as a couple supplies a ready partner to share and apply what we are learning. And when the sandpaper of marriage chafes, we have a new paradigm to help us love one another better. The picture of heat, thorns, fruit and cross from the Dynamics of Biblical Change course helps form the way we respond to each other when pressure and struggles come. And understanding the necessity of knowing the person in front of you, unadorned by assumptions of your own making, has drawn us to ask more questions and listen to each other better as we face life’s inevitable conflicts.
Our CCEF journey has changed how we think about ourselves and each other. It has blessed our marriage. We are grateful.
For more information or to register for School of Biblical Counseling classes, visit ccef.org/school.