Ryan and Melissa had been dating for three years and contemplating engagement when their friends and mentors, George and Tracy Maxson, invited them to attend Foundations in 2013. Feeling confident that they had learned much about each other over the course of their relationship, they wondered if they really needed to attend this pre-marriage course. After some prompting, the couple decided to sign up.
During each session of the 7-week course, a mentor couple presents a topic: Christ Centered Home, Expectations, Family Roles, Communication, Finances and Intimacy. Ryan shares, "Discussing these topics ahead of time was so helpful. We avoided a lot of potential conflict by talking it through with each other and the other couples." Each mentor couple shares advice gleaned from personal experience. Melissa says, "The couples were very encouraging. They were raw and honest with no judgment. The best part is that they're still here for us when we need them."
While attending Foundations, Ryan was a first-year teacher, coach and graduate school student. Melissa was commuting and working long hours. Ryan shares, "Life can be busy. It was invaluable to take a few hours out of the week to focus on our relationship."
One of the weeks that particularly benefited Ryan and Melissa was the week on expectations, goals and needs. The couples taking the course played a game to help reveal what they knew about each other. Melissa figured they had a good chance of winning, because they had been dating for a significant amount of time. But they didn't win. Though there were quite a few things that they already understood about each other, the game uncovered things they didn't know about each other as well. During this session the participants were given tools that Ryan and Melissa have found to be very helpful in their relationship.
Ryan and Melissa were married on June 27, 2015 in a ceremony officiated by George Maxson. Ventura Missionary Church has become Ryan and Melissa's church home. Ryan teaches Math and Science at VMS Middle School and Melissa recently joined the VMC staff as Pastor Ricardo's assistant. Melissa says, "We are incredibly thankful to have attended Foundations. We have Christ at the center, and we are learning to follow His lead."