Nick Owen comments on The Marriage Course in Itchen Valley News

This article was first published in the May 2014 edition of Itchen Valley News

The Marriage Course

By the time this goes to press, Lavinia and I will have celebrated our golden wedding – and I mean celebrated. Why would we want or need to go to the seven session Marriage Course that was held recently in Itchen Abbas church. I was highly sceptical to begin with, concerned as well that it might have too much hard-sell religious input.

Seventeen Couples sat down for the first meal and session and 13 of those lasted the course.  We were all age groups and a number of infrequent church goers. The survival rate was astonishing. Why? Well, it is extraordinarily civilised to be provided with a good meal by a great team of helpers, but that alone would not have made us stay.

Alex and Lucy Pease clearly have a gift for enthusing people to participate and benefit from courses of this sort. May they do many more. The message for me was that it is never too late to learn something new, provided you are prepared to try. The message in this case was extremely well put across in a series of DVDs, by a couple who combined sound practical common sense with a good sense of humour. The apparent hard work of completing, in complete confidence, various questionnaires, soon became a fascinating challenge to guess what Lavinia would note about me. We got pretty good at that.

Of course all this is done in couples at separate tables. So while we all enjoyed a laugh together at some of the DVD clips, complete confidentiality could be retained. The only clue to how couples were getting on was the body language – potentially revealing but definitely improving as the course progressed.

We have not been on any of the other courses Alex and Lucy have run but, if this is a good example, they are not to be missed by those for whom they are best suited. And, of course, I would say that the refurbished Itchen Abbas church with its new kitchen facilities is ideally suited to hosting these.

Nick Owen

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