The Love Walk encourages couples to spend time together without interruptions, to talk and learn to understand each other better and rekindle their first love. For singles, it was an ideal opportunity to find out more about one another and see if they share the same values and have any interest in dating.
This event is part of the Universal Church’s important outreach initiative to help singles prepare for marriage and offer couples skills to enable them to overcome difficulties and deepen and strengthen their life-long relationship, saying no to divorce.
Besides wanting people to live together happily, a successful marriage is the foundation of society and stable, happy homes are where children learn about relationships and thrive. The Universal Church undertakes this important work as an investment in transforming society for future generations.
Opening the Love Walk in Johannesburg, Pastor Wladimir stressed the importance of open and honest communication, saying that without this essential ingredient in a marriage, couples cannot develop their relationship and their marriage may not survive.
Speaking to married couples he said: “I encourage you to spend this time together to renew your first love. When we have been married for some time, we get used to having our partner around and the initial excitement wears off. We no longer have time for each other because the pressures of daily life are demanding. But, as Bishop Marcelo says, If you don’t make time for love, love will not make time for you. Use this time together to talk and listen and find each other again. Spend quality time together and leave here changed and equipped for a deeper and more meaningful partnership.”
For engaged couples, this was a morning to discover more about each other and prepare for their life-long union by developing essential communication skills.
Encouraging singles, Pastor Wladimir explained how the relationship with his wife started with a conversation. He found a chance to talk to her which initiated the process of learning about each other. They discovered what each other wanted in a relationship and whether they had the same vision for their lives. He said: “Start a conversation with someone. Use your faith, speak and share your thoughts with others. Take the lead in your love life, get to know someone, explore possibilities, see if they meet your needs and continue to invest in your future.”
Participants in the Love Walk were given life-skills on how to communicate safely and effectively about sensitive yet important issues. Knowing how to approach difficult subjects without fear of confrontation or conflict, offers a safe space where couples can communicate with trust, honesty and mutual respect as important foundations. When both parties want to find a mutually beneficial solution to difficulties or differences, they approach the issue as a business challenge and work together to find a win-win strategy.
Marriage guidance counsellors acknowledge that most marriages fail because of a lack of communication and even the most compatible couples often find it difficult to talk about everything.
At the Love Walk, couples were given a series of questions which helped direct the conversation and raise sensitive or emotional issues.
Authors of Bulletproof Marriage: Your shield against divorce, Renato and Cristiane Cardoso, had the idea of the Love Walk when they were in South Africa and went for a walk through one of Johannesburg’s parks. Although they had been married for 18 years, the experience of spending quality time together felt like they were dating again and strengthened their relationship.
Couples agreed that it was essential to set time aside to communicate, but that without making an effort to do so, days and weeks slip by without important issues being discussed. Small things, which could have been resolved, grow into big problems and it is difficult to resolve them without conflict. Others said that another essential ingredient besides talking, is listening. The Love Walk gave couples the time they needed to talk, be heard and listen. Through reflection, they identified areas where they could change to improve their relationship for the benefit of both parties.
One couple said that their newfound peace, contentment and happiness would have a positive influence on the atmosphere in their home. By presenting a united front, they would be better able to discipline their children and help them to feel secure, valued and loved.
The Universal Church devotes Thursday meetings to offering insights and guidance on relationships. These meetings, called the Therapy of Love, are held nationally and encourage introspection so that people can identify areas where they can change. By changing their attitude and behaviour, participants report that their partner changed in response, and their marriage improved.
Since April 2014, the international best-seller Bulletproof Marriage: Your shield against divorce has participated at The Wedding Expo in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, creating awareness of the life-changing toolkit and offering confidential relationship counselling. The Bulletproof Marriage team will have stands at The Wedding Expo at Hyde Park Corner on 30 and 31 March 2019 and at Carnival City on 8 and 9 June 2019.
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church’s public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.