[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
Dr Gary and Barb Rosberg are co-founders of the international ministry America’s Family Coaches, respected marriage conference speakers, executive life and marriage coaches, award-winning authors and radio hosts. Together, they have written over a dozen prominent marriage and family resources and DVD series with almost 1 million total copies in print worldwide. Their books include ‘6 Secrets to a Lasting Love’ (Gold Medallion winner under the title Divorce Proof Your Marriage) and ‘The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women’, a Gold Medallion finalist. Selected books are available in more than 12 languages. Gary and Barb met at Drake University where Barb earned her BFA and Gary earned his doctorate in counseling (Ed D). Following graduation, Gary conducted over 25 000 hours of marriage and family counseling. Today they are Board Certified Life and Marriage Coaches through Light University and coach executive couples through The Rosberg Group. Married since 1975, Gary and Barb have two adult daughters and eight grandchildren.
They have fallen inlove with South Africa and have been coming here for the past five years to minister healing and restoration to marriages. This, their sixth year, also marks their 40th wedding anniversary. The Rosbergs are very passionate about strengthening marriages and seeing them grow. This vision they share with their local partner Focus on the Family Africa. On Tuesday (October 13) they hosted in Cape Town their new project, Kiss and Make Up, which was well attended. They will also be hosting Kiss and Make Up events in Durban and Johannesburg.
I wanted to find out about their marriage and family ministry, their South African tour and some lessons they can share with us on their 40 years of marriage. Barb spoke on behalf of her and her husband as he was in a training session:
Neziswa Kanju: Barb Rosberg welcome to South Africa. You launched your new project/campaign Kiss and Make Up in Cape Town on Tuesday. What is the motivation behind your Kiss and Make up project?
Barb Rosberg: Every marriage needs refreshment and a renewed glow! We wrote Kiss and Make Up in order for couples to have FUN and learn how to take their marriage to the next level! We have been thrilled with the response throughout Cape Town — people are loving it! We are presenting strong tools which give personal insight, brand-new, and refreshing for couples. (they can take it home and easily apply them!). We believe that as the marriage goes so goes the family. It feature principles parents can easily teach their children to better communicate, understand one another and really connect as a family. It’s a great evening with lots of laughter and is a feel-good date night but it’s combined with deep and rich tools that couples can safely takie home and use to begin anew in their marriage.
Neziswa Kanju: You are coming to South Africa for the 6th time (not that we are complaining)!! What keeps you coming back?
Barb Rosberg: We came the first year thinking it would be a one time trip. As we were here we heard the call of God to return yearly and help strengthen marriages throughout South Africa. When we heard the voice of God He gave us the courage to follow.
Neziswa Kanju: Tell us about your partnership with Focus on the Family Africa.
Barb Rosberg: We are 100% behind and supportive of Focus on the Family Africa. This is an excellent, outstanding ministry that strengthens family in a multitude of ways providing many kinds of events and seminars for marriages, parent, teen programmes and taking care of community needs that extend even to caregivers of orphans and guardians. We love and treasure them deeply. We strongly support Focus on the Family.
Neziswa Kanju: Tell us about your organisation America’s Family Coaches. When was it started and what is the vision behind it?
Barb Rosberg: America’s Family Coaches has a vision to strengthen marriages and families. It is a ministry that is 25 years old and we have spoken, written over a dozen books and videos and continue our work through radio and podcasts throughout the United States and beyond.
Neziswa Kanju: You have a number of books on marriage and family that you have written. If a couple is on the verge of a divorce which book would you recommend to them?
Barb Rosberg: There are two books that we would HIGHLY recommend. The first is “Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage” and the second book is “6 Secrets to a Lasting Love”. “6 Secrets to a Lasting Love” is our hallmark book on showing couples how to get home when they have felt alone in their marriage. There are stories, techniques, even a map where you can find yourself in your marriage and it shows you how to find your way back home. The biggest question I would ask is “are you teachable?” If you have a broken and teachable heart and have gone to God and asked him for help, then this book is for you. God will take you by the hand and move you into a place of coming home to your spouse. It is a book for every married couple no matter where you’re at from a dream marriage to that of being broken and at the place of emotional divorce and beyond. We are very thankful to God who gave us these rich principles in order to share with couples worldwide.
Neziswa Kanju: If you were to sum up your marriage in 5 words Barb how would you describe the last 40 years?
Barb Rosberg: God’s greatest gift to me!
Neziswa Kanju: What is the one thing that has sustained your marriage these 40 years?
Barb Rosberg: Our commitment to God. Also a commitment to be willing to make the changes we need in order to take our marriage to the next level. Marriage is the classroom for us to love one another but it’s also a place where we can learn the grace of God when we hurt, let our mates down and grow beyond our circumstances and become more of who God called us to be! It’s supposed to be hard at times so that you allow yourself to let God take over and make you better than you are! And usually that comes through being humbled.
Neziswa Kanju: During times of “intense” conflict what drew you back to each other?
Barb Rosberg: When you commit your life to Christ even in the midst of difficulty you need to examine yourself and surrender. In times of deepest conflict it’s a surrendered heart that’s willing to admit pride, and every kind of issue that can get in the way and find your way back to Him first and then find your way back to your spouse.
Neziswa Kanju: What was your most trying time in these 40 years and how did you pull through?
Barb Rosberg: We had a season where we watched our child live through a disease, my husband had cancer, my father was dying, and my mother had Alzheimer’s. There’s no perfect way to pull it off. As we live we live reaching out for God. Other times we know that there are words we cannot speak but He is reaching out to us continually. It is during those times that it’s the prayers of friends the prayers of the body of Christ that is getting you through. Some days you just do the next thing and that’s enough to get you through. But ultimately it’s the love of family that keeps you on the path in step and keeping going. As I look back I can only see that it was God who carried me through it.
Neziswa Kanju: What practical steps can a couple take to make their marriage great?
Barb Rosberg: In our book “6 Secrets to a Lasting Love” we share very openly about a map for couples. When you are surrendered to Christ and are willing to grow with a teachable heart you can identify these principles that will make a lasting change: forgiving freely, serving humbly, persevering courageously, guarding vigilantly, celebrating joyfully, and renewing daily. All of these are based upon a relationship that we have with Jesus Christ; it’s foundational for every couple and every marriage to work. Spend time reading Philippians Chapter 2, and Chapter 4. Though it’s not a marriage verse it is all relationship.
Neziswa Kanju: So many people endure marriage instead of enjoy marriage. How can we make our marriages more enjoyable?
Barb Rosberg: Let it begin with you. You be the one that goes to God and ask him to fill your heart with Him. To make your marriage go to the next level don’t wait for your spouse. No human can do that. Many times God will use our marriage and hurts and the struggles we go through to do a greater work within us and as we are renewed we have something brand-new to give to our marriage. Your spouse will see you and your children will observe it and everyone will observe it. So don’t wait; go to God — let Him take your marriage at whatever level it’s at and let Him show you how to make it a great marriage.
Neziswa Kanju: What words of advice can you give a couple who are about to get married on how to make it to 40 years?
Barb Rosberg: Begin your marriage in prayer. Take time daily to connect to one another. Don’t give your spouse the leftovers from today but leave enough room to be excited at the end of the day to share what you’ve learned, what you’ve done , what you have accomplished. Openly take the time to give to one another, even 20 minutes a day. Marriage researchers report that can make a good marriage great. Take the time to build openness and safety in your marriage.
Neziswa Kanju: When and where will you be ministering in South Africa?
16 OCTOBER at DURBAN CHRISTIAN CENTRE
39 GARTH RD DURBAN
DATE NIGHT at 6:30pm for 7:00pm – 9:30pm
17 OCTOBER at DURBAN CHRISTIAN CENTRE
MARRIAGE CONFERENCE at 8:30am for 9:00am – 12:30am
22 OCTOBER at DOXA DEO MIDSTREAM
10 CHORGES STREET, MIDSTREAM ESTATE
DATE NIGHT at 6:30pm for 7:00pm – 9:30pm
23 OCTOBER at DOXA DEO
MIDSTREAM 10 CHORGES STREET, MIDSTREAM ESTATE
MENTOR TRAINING at 8:30am for 9:00am – 12:30pm
Neziswa Kanju: Thank you Mrs Rosberg for your time. All the best with the rest of your South African tour.
Barb Rosberg: Thank you so much for this opportunity. You have been so kind to us to ask us these question