Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Helping Couples Enjoy Monogamy -- In Churches!

We hear a lot these days from evangelical leaders about their concerns about AIDS in Africa. I've just learned about a fascinating project in Mozambique, courtesy of a British group called The Pleasure Project.

Here's the description:

Among these was the highly successful Vida Positiva (Positive Living) programme in Mozambique. One of the many elements of Vida Positiva was to promote safer sex among couples by tackling the primary reasons that married men were having sex outside of their marriages: because they were bored with their sex lives at home. To do this, educators worked with community ‘gatekeepers’, including priests and nuns from Christian churches, to promote pleasure-focused couples counselling....

Kubatsirana is an ecumenical HIV/AIDS Association of 56 churches in and around
Chimoio, Mozambique, and in seven areas of Sofala and Manica Provinces. Kubatsirana
provides HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation within four programmes:
• Church training and technical support programme
• Home-Based Care for PLWHA and OVC
• A support group for people living with HIV/AIDS
• Sustainable Agriculture and Income-Generating Project as a support to PLWHA,
OVC and volunteers working for the programmes

The Church Training programme includes training church leaders as well as husband
and wife couples to become Marriage Counsellors in their communities. The training
includes communication skills, gender-roles, conflict resolution, sex and sexuality and pre-marriage counselling and relies on two publications: "Enjoy your Marriage"
(Cunningham, Family Impact, Bulawayo) and "Answers for your Marriage” (Bruce and
Carol Britten, SA), which is very detailed in everything from positions to cultural issues.

According to Kubatsirana’s Technical Advisor, Carina Winberg: "We have started to do
something about the problems of couples not enjoying their sexual realtionships. Three or four years ago we identified this problem among the pastors, couples and families we work with, and then decided to bring it up as a subject in the prevention courses for pastors and church leaders. Last year we started separate courses for church leaders and their wives on what we call "Couples Counselling and Retreats". We have one very good couple (husband and wife team) teaching both men and women. Just a few weeks ago we trained 20 pastors on topics such as:
• how to improve your sexual relationship
• how to counsel couples in your church on sexual matters
• how to give pre-marriage counselling
• how to follow-up with young couples in order to support them in building a good

It strikes me that we could use this type of project here in the United States as well. Surely in the search for common ground with evangelical leaders, we could also agree to MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT, including sexual enrichment, for married couples.

Perhaps we could start with offering such a workshop for married Members of Congress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the creative thought that clearly went into this program. I also like that they thought about what was happening, and what was needed, instead of staying focused on what they believed "should" be happening, and what couples "should" be doing. And what a feat to get buy in from church leaders. l