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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,005
January 16, 2020
Saving Marriages In Crisis
By Mike McManus

Is your marriage in crisis? If so, that is not unusual.

Since 1975 half of America's marriages have failed

However, there is hope. You can take a 12-week workbook course with a friend of the same gender that will help you grow so much that you may be able to attract your mate back. It is called "Marriage 911 God's Way."

It was created by Joe and Michelle Williams. Both had suffered failed marriages, and their own marriage was in such a crisis in the late 1980s, that they separated for two years. Both feared they were facing yet another divorce.

Michelle recalls, "When we finally reconciled we discovered that our focus was always on each other - instead of the Lord. We were trying to micro-manage each other. Once we separated but were not seeking a divorce, each of us were left to work on the marriage without the help or expectations of the other. This alone time is what God used in our lives to create the 27 tools that eventually ended up in our workbook."

After the Williams moved back together, they realized that many couples in their large evangelical church, were secretly struggling in their marriages, and "felt comfortable reaching out to us. They wanted help."

A women on the staff of Michelle's church felt her marriage was in crisis, but feared that if she told anyone, her job might be in jeopardy. "That led me to ask if she wanted to meet on her lunch hour and I would take her through a workbook" that she and Joe were putting together for marriages in crisis.

"She agreed and the setting resulted in the support partner aspect of our ministry."

Joe said he knew "a few guys in our church who thought they had to pretend all was well at home or their wife would be upset with them." When Joe had coffee with them one on one, "they really opened up."

Therefore, Joe and Michelle decided to tell their pastor about their work. He asked them to start a reconciliation ministry, which they initially called "Reconciling God's Way." It is now called "Marriage 911 God's Way."

Joe and Michelle taught the class of men and women together. However, after teaching the class, they realized the people trying to save their marriages needed continuing support. "We decided to make sure that each person selected a support partner to take the pressure off Joe and me," Michelle recalls.

The cost is modest. For $25 a person can get both a Support Partner Book and a workbook. To order the set, you can buy it from Amazon, or go to

Interestingly, Joe and Michelle discovered they should not privately counsel a couple in crisis! They could not agree on what should be done. "We were now fighting!"

Therefore, they urged spouses trying to save their marriage to choose a friend of the same gender for mentoring.

In 1987 I met Joe and Michelle on a trip to Modesto, California. A decade earlier, the pastors of Modesto were the first in America to create a "Community Marriage Policy," in which pastors of 80 churches agreed to take steps to better prepare couples for a lifelong marriage, to enrich existing ones, and save those in crisis. The divorce rate was dropping, and I saw Marriage 911 as a new tool, focused on the spouse trying to save a marriage with a disillusioned partner.

There were two results. First, I invited Joe and Michelle to speak at a national Smart Marriages Conference. More than 100 pastors from across the country asked the couple for marriage-saving workbooks they could take back to their churches. Second, by 2006, Modesto was one of nine cities in America adopting a Community Marriage Policy whose divorce rate fell by 50% or more. (An independent study of CMPs that my wife and I created in 230 cities, reported an average citywide drop of divorces of 17.5%.)

Half the couples who take the 12-week workbook course with a support partner are able to rebuild their marriage.

Therefore I urge readers to take two steps. If your marriage is in crisis, or you know someone who is struggling, order the materials from

Secondly, tell your pastor about this marriage-saving ministry.

You can be a marriage saver!


Copyright (c) 2019 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.comm. Hit Search for any topic.


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