Take time out to invest in family life

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Have you ever wished that your baby or child had come with a manual? Or longed to know how to relate better to your teenager? Or dreamt of finding time to relight the fire in your marriage? If so, this might be the moment you’ve been waiting for.

This Autumn, a series of family courses covering marriage and parenting – based on materials produced by Holy Trinity Brompton in London – will be running locally in Coleraine at Causeway Coast Vineyard (www.causewaycoastvineyard.com).

For couples considering getting married, there’s the Marriage Preparation Course. It’ll help you develop strong foundations for a healthy, lasting marriage and covers, amongst other things, resolving conflict, how to listen and express your feelings, and keeping love alive. This course is free of charge.

Additionally, the Marriage Course is for already married or cohabiting couples. It’s suitable for everyone from newlyweds to those who’ve been married for decades. But if the thought of signing up for ‘group marriage therapy’ fills you with dread, fear not – this is a world away from that.

Each evening of the marriage course begins with a relaxed meal, just the two of you, at a table set exclusively for you and your partner. There’ll be background music and you’ll have space to yourselves so you can’t be overheard while you catch up over dinner. You won’t have to make small-talk with other couples and there’ll be no cringeworthy group discussions.

There’s a nominal fee of £15 per couple for the first night of the Marriage Course and then it’s £10 per couple each week thereafter – this covers the cost of your course materials plus your two-course meal and wine. Think of it as an inexpensive ‘date night’ – with the tools to improve your communication and enrich your relationship thrown in. Where else can you get that in Coleraine?!

For parents of 0-10 year olds, there’s a free course in Parenting Children. This is for everyone; first-time parents, single parents, old-hands and step-parents. If you’ve got children and would welcome the chance to improve and build upon your parenting skills in a supportive and relaxed environment, this one’s for you.

And for those in or heading towards the potentially ‘choppy’ waters of life with young adults, the Parenting Teens course will equip you with the skills to understand your teen’s needs, support their emotional health, and help them to make good choices. It’s a weekly oasis of calm in the midst of life with teenagers. It’s also free.

Ali Knight, Community Pastor at CCV said: “Marriage classes aren’t only for people whose marriages are in trouble, and a parenting course isn’t just for those in crisis – these are wonderfully enriching, positive courses that can help put back into family life what the stresses and strains of busy, modern living can take out. They’re great fun, too - expect lots of laughter! So come along to learn valuable, practical tools for enriching family life in an informal, relaxed setting where you’re guaranteed a giggle. Our families are the most important thing we have and they’re worthy of a little TLC.”

Here’s what people have said about the Marriage Course: “We both had real fun on the marriage course. It changed my thought process on the small things we take for granted, and helped us remember the good times.”

“Excellent; time together to talk over good food.”

“It’s a really helpful, constructive environment to review things that happen on a daily basis that maybe we wouldn’t otherwise have made time to communicate about.”

“It’s been brilliant. We’ve realised that we need to intentionally make more time for one another, and remembered why we married one another.”

All of Causeway Coast Vineyard’s relationship courses start this Autumn - dates are yet to be confirmed but for more information on any of our family life courses or to book your place please visit causewaycoastvineyard.com/relationships or call the Causeway Coast Vineyard office on 028 7032 6161.

Please note, courses are open to all and you don’t have to be a Christian or church-goer to attend - they’re suitable for all and everyone is welcome.