Photo: Participants of the 6th retreat held in Cape May, NJ.
The roots of the Blessed Marriage Project (BMP) began in 2013, and it is an independently funded, grassroots initiative. It was conceived by two families, and formally launched the following year, with a generous donation of $100,000 to cover annual expenses. They saw the need for marriage education and marriage enrichment among the couples in the Unification Movement.
The BMP Advisory Board asked John Williams (UTS’90) to lead the project and John then asked fellow UTS classmate Josie Hauer (UTS’90) to assist him in setting up the program. Since then Kate Pugnoli (UTS’84) has joined the team.
John Williams says, “The program focuses on how to improve your marriage by changing your own approach, not by trying to make your spouse change first. I think this is Father’s perspective. It is derived from the course I developed for the UTS Master’s program: I call it ‘don’t change your mate; change the way you relate.’ I emphasize taking action, and not endlessly trying to talk things through. Talking can easily make things worse. We can almost always change unwanted relationship dynamics by doing something different.”
God and true love are definitely seen to be at the heart of a Blessed marriage. According to their mission statement, the BMP “challenges couples to evaluate the health and status of their marriage; empowers spouses to invest in and develop their love relationship”; and BMP gives “education and support to enable singles and couples to live lives of complete sexual morality and to bring their marriages closer to God’s ideal.”
There are several younger couples in the BMP team, some of them the “second generation” of UTS alumni:
- Richard and Mari Curry (Wayne Curry, UTS’87),
- Leighton and Crescentia DeGoede (Deloise DeGoede, UTS’82)
- Cristoph and Lena Yasutake (Paul Yasutake, UTS’77)
Currently, the primary offering of the BMP is its Energize! Couples Retreats where couples...
GET AWAY TO GET REFRESHED, RECHARGED & RECONNECTED!
Rediscover your spouse! And join other Blessed couples for a revitalizing weekend.
Think of it as a marriage tune-up. Gain tools and tips to make your relationship even better!
Laugh together with other couples and make new friends
Discover how to improve your relationship all by yourself
Rev up the passion and enjoy intimate time with each other
Unwind in the romantic setting and stylish accommodations
Strengthen your sense of shared purpose, friendship and teamwork
Celebrate with God and others the blessings of your Blessing!
With financial support made possible by the major donors on the BMP Board, a weekend Energize! Couples Retreat hosts between 30 and 50 couples at a heavily discounted rate for their stay. John and the BMP team are also training support staff and bringing onboard new educators.
The first retreat was launched in April 2014, in Connecticut. The 6th retreat recently took place the first weekend of April, in Cape May, NJ.
Some feedback from the Cape May weekend:
“Hubby and I had a truly fantastic time at the Energized Couples Retreat in Cape May, New Jersey this past weekend! We felt empowered and more in love than ever before. It is like a new marriage with the same person after 27 and a half years! Worth every second of it. Thank you, generous donors and beautiful staff! This could never have happened without your heart and investment. Each one of you is like a precious and invaluable gem of God!”Daniela Sanfrancesco Wetherall
“The Energize Couples Retreat was a great opportunity to reconnect and renew our joy in being with each other. My wife and I participated in the scavenger hunt as part of date night. We had a lot of fun and got most of the pictures, but could not find a picture of a seagull in flight. So my wife stood on a chair and jumped off. We got extra credit for originality! And I got to see the wild side of my spouse”Roger Wetherall
“The weekend was much better than I expected. The BMP staff took very good care of the couples. BMP gives me hope. It is good for people of faith seeking to invite God into their relationship.”Peter van Geldern
Now in 2016, the major donors have increased their contribution to $150,000 annually, to include support for the PureMind.Online initiative which is a resource for men and women of faith, for whom the guilt and shame over pornography use, excessive masturbation and other sexual habits can be paralyzing. See what Pastor Kevin Thompson says about the problem of pornography and the fight against it: Pornography