“Every effort must be made, insofar as possible, to break the vicious circle which often arises between automatic admission to marriage without adequate preparation or a serious examination of the requirements laid down for its celebration.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI
Marriage Education is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. Each week, Fatherhood Channel profiles people teaching relationship, fatherhood and marriage education classes in their local communities.
Mary and Cecil Robinson have been married for almost 44 years and “empty-nesters” for much of the past 25. The Robinsons, both Family Life Ministers, have served couples in all stages of relationship for many years. As Director of Family and Adult Ministry for the 4,000-member St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson, Texas, Mary Robinson regularly teaches classes for premarital and married couples. Professionally, Cecil Robinson is an Operating Room Technologist. The couple began teaching PAIRS classes together in 2000.
1. What led you to want to teach marriage education classes?
We have always been thankful that we have had what we consider to be a very good marriage. However, when we participated in a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend in 1979, we learned more about ourselves, our family and about marriage. We were really on a “high” following that weekend and we felt called to share what we had learned with others who are married or who those considering marriage. We offered our services to our church and we have been serving in this area of ministry and education since that time.
2. What are some of the unique challenges facing couples/families today?
Families and couples face many stressors in our society today. The economy and the various components thereof affect many families today. The “busyness” of parents, couples and children allows for less time to form healthy relationships. When families do not have the “basics” of healthy relationships, it is difficult to break the cycle in future generations and old patterns repeat themselves.
3. How has being a marriage education instructor affected your family?
We are continually open to new ways of enriching our marriage. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn more, we take advantage of as many enrichment opportunities as we can. When we were invited to a PAIRS training, we did not envision the rewards that it would have on our own marriage. We especially benefited from the insight that we gained into “Caring Behaviors,” “Love Knots,” and “Emotional Allergies.” We teach PAIRS classes several times during the year; each time that we teach the classes, we are enriched in our own marriage. It helps us to continually grow in our marriage and in our understanding of ourselves and each other.
4. What are some favorite hobbies you enjoy as a family?
We “eat and breathe” football at all levels, especially college and the NFL. We also enjoy musicals. We like to play putt-putt golf and board games. We also like to imitate and act out the commercials that we see on TV.
5. What qualities would you like your family to most admire about you?
Cecil is patient, practical and engaging. Mary is committed, loyal, sensitive. Together we are committed to God, each other and our family.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like FatherhoodChannel.com to feature a Marriage, Fatherhood or Relationship Educator in your community, email their name, contact information, and a brief statement about why you’d like to see them featured to firstname.lastname@example.org.