The Northview Blog

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Northview offers help for married and engaged couples

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012


The beautiful wedding happened on a clear, sunny day; the bride was breathtaking and the husband couldn’t stop beaming. During the honeymoon, the radiant couple frolicked on the beach and dreamed of their perfect life together. Now the happily married couple can kick back and grow old together, just like the fairy tales they grew up watching.

Then the wife starts picking up her husband’s clothes, now littering the bedroom floor. She sits with her husband on the couch while he watches golf and action movies. Her eyes start to glaze over and she wonders why he has stopped taking her to her favorite chick flicks.

The husband begins to notice that his wife no longer puts on makeup or fixes her hair. She has put on a few pounds and plods around the house in sweatpants. She starts to nag him incessantly about fixing things in the house.

The fights escalate and the couple starts to wonder why they even married in the first place. Their single friends seem to have a lot more fun. The attractive, bubbly new coworker catches his eye. His wife is suddenly jealous of her best friend, whose husband takes her to flower shows and makes enough money so they can travel overseas each year.

How does this happen? Doug Starkey, assimilation pastor at Northview Church’s Carmel campus, explains.

“Couples have happiness expectations and think that the marriage depends on the spouse, whether the spouse can make them happy,” he said. “Couples need to work on themselves individually. What’s happening in us will determine how the marriage goes.”

Issues such as communication, conflict, finances, and problems with in-laws can rear their ugly heads and cause trouble for countless couples.

“During the first year of marriage, there are surprises and adjustments, even after living together for some time,” Starkey said.

Couples who go through the Becoming One Premarital Class are assigned a mentor couple who will meet with them for up to six times before their marriage. In addition, the mentor couple is available on an as-needed basis to help the couple during their first year together.

Second marriages are no exception. Starkey and his wife Shelly have counseled many couples at Northview’s Carmel campus who face additional challenges of blended families, including ex-spouses, custody arrangements, raising stepchildren, and handling holidays.

“This is not the Brady Bunch,” he said. “A lot of people highly romanticize a happy family with rose-colored glasses. Chances are this is not the way it’s going to work. Even with Christ in the center of a marriage, it’s hard.”

Doug and Shelly are both in their second marriage with blended families. They use their own experiences to help others.

“Having gone through that already, we know the special challenges they have,” Starkey said.

Whether a couple is in their first year of marriage, have been married for a decade or more or are on their second marriage, help is available through Northview. Resources are available in Capstone Café and Bookstore. Starkey recommends books such as “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, “His Needs/Her Needs” by William F. Harley, and “Every Man’s Marriage” by Stephen Arterburn.

A video that the Starkeys advise as well is called “Staying in Love” by Andy Stanley.

“The DVD talks about the whole scriptural basis of husbands loving their wives and wives respecting their husbands,” Starkey said. “Men learn how to share their emotions.”

This coming weekend, a class and a retreat is offered through the Carmel campus. The Significant Marriage retreat is being held May 4-6 at the Barn. Couples will learn how God wants them to use their unique marriage to make a difference as a couple. The cost is $195. Couples can register at and look for Significant Marriage.

Dynamic Marriage, a nine-week interactive and educational course, is available to engaged and married couples. Cost is $145 per couple. Scholarship help is available if needed. To register please visit or email

For more information on either the retreat or course, contact Derek Irvin, small groups pastor, at or 317.846.2884.

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