At Mothers' Union we believe that marriage is a loving, nurturing and committed relationship that benefits individuals, families and society. Supporting couples preparing for marriage, or those who are married, is a core part of the work Mothers' Union carries out around the world.
Prayer is a vital part of this work. Members pray regularly for couples in their area preparing for marriage. Members also spend time thinking through and discussing the ethical issues surrounding marriage and the difficulties that challenge it in the 21st century. Complex issues such as singleness, divorce, same-sex marriage and widowhood are sensitively and safely discussed in facilitated groups using the Mothers’ Union book We Are Created by God: Exploring our identity and relationships. These discussions help members understand and value a diversity of perspective and opinion, and ensure that as an organisation Mothers' Union is equipped to respond in a way that encourages respectful relationships, both with each other and within the wider communities in which we live.
Mothers’ Union members across the world are also involved in local projects and activities, such as counselling and relationship support, which reach out to and support married couples in their long-term relationships.
Marriage support in UK & Ireland
Across UK & Ireland, members are working alongside clergy and playing an active role in supporting couples. As couples prepare to get married, Mothers' Union members help create opportunities for them to set aside time to focus on their relationship and the commitment they are making to each other in the midst of what is often a busy time. In many areas the Mothers’ Union Loving for Life programme trains members to effectively facilitate groups for couples planning to marry in church.
Many couples marry at churches that have a family association rather than the church they will be worshipping at once married. So members, working closely with the clergy, find ways to help couples feel part of the church that will host their wedding, organising opportunities for them to get to know the team who will be supporting them on their big day. In Hereford, members do this by organising wedding breakfasts inviting couples to come and share a meal with the florists, organist, verger and clergy, with time to then meet and plan the details of their wedding.
At commercial wedding fairs, Mothers’ Union members invite couples to step out of the practical and commercial elements of planning their wedding and offer them the opportunity to share their wedding date so that members can then ensure they are prayed for.
As part of their ongoing commitment to supporting marriage, Mothers’ Union members in Vanuatu, in the Pacific, have been trained in marriage preparation and are working with young couples in their communities to help them understand the importance of marriage and of communicating with each other. They are also developing some written resources around marriage preparation to share with couples across the country.
Mothers’ Union Mauritius runs a five-week evening course for married couples creating a safe environment where they can share experiences with other couples and discuss issues such as communication and resolving conflict.