Marriage Builders Program Comes to Thomasville

In 2001 there were more than two million marriages in the United States, and, if statistics prove right, half of those marriages will end in divorce.

This program can help save a marriage, before it even starts. It is called the Marriage Builders program, it is designed to help establish strong marriages through pre-marital counseling. A success in Tallahassee, and now, it is coming to Thomasville.

Doug and Nancy Silvis made a life long commitment to each other 31 years ago.

But, not before receiving pre-marital counseling. Even so, they say they wish they had known about sanctity of marriage.

"I think it was pretty well assumed that we knew everything there was to know. but of course we all find out that when you really begin to be married, there are things you wish you had known before that you didn't know,” Doug Silvis shares.

To help couples learn those things, a program called Marriage Builders is being piloted in Thomasville for the state of Georgia.

Part of it is an agreement between pastors to refuse to marry a couple if they have not received pre-marital counseling.

"If a pastor in this town is going to marry you then we want to help you by giving you some of the tools on the front end to help you get along in your marriage,” explains Pastor Dan Spencer of First Baptist Church.

Georgia Family Council discovered through research that family degradation has its foundation in the marriage relationship, so, by building strong marriages in the forefront, it hopes to build stronger pacts between couples and their communities for stronger, longer marriages.

Pastors of all denominations from the Thomasville area will sign the community marriage declaration Thursday at the First Baptist Church as part of the National Day of Prayer.

The pact would require a couple to receive at least eight hours of counseling, and also allow seasoned couples to mentor newlyweds.

The Georgia Family Council hopes to have marriage builders established in up to 100 communities in the next ten years, also hoping to reduce the state's divorce rate by 35-percent.