Alliance improves marriages

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott led a marriage seminar Sept. 9 at the Fairview Christian Church.

Special to The Chart

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott led a marriage seminar Sept. 9 at the Fairview Christian Church.

Rebecca Watts

Comprised of 55 churches, the Carthage Christian Ministerial Alliance Marriage Covenant is lending a hand to couples in the local area to improve their relationships.

“As spiritual leaders, we are making a declaration to assist in conflicts in order to avoid divorce,” said Dennis Uchtman, director of the Caring Connection in Carthage.

Uchtman said there were 856 marriage licenses in Missouri in 2005, but 900 divorces were recorded.

“If we look at the simple numbers, we can see something is wrong,” he said.

The alliance, which has no specific denomination, is dedicated to help and guide families through conflicts.

Approximately 15 to 20 members meet monthly to discuss problems within the area and the high divorce rate caught the most attention.

“We’re not scolding or having a judgmental approach,” Uchtman said. “What we’re going to do is get down in the trenches with them and work to avoid divorce.”

The alliance’s plan of action consists mainly of the Marriage Seminar, led by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. The event, which took place at 9 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Fairview Christian Church, was considered a success with approximately 500 attendees.

“We’ve never had anything this big before,” Uchtman said.

The Parrotts’ Becoming Soul Mates seminar is nationally known for its teaching ability to bring couples closer together and learn more about themselves.

Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating appointed the couple to serve as Marriage Ambassadors to decrease the divorce rate. They have written more than two dozen books, one of which is used by Uchtman in his counseling profession.

“Love Talk really helps couples communicate, which is one of the main reasons why a relationship fails,” he said.

Uchtman has counseled, coached, and consulted families for ten years in the Carthage area.

He has found the top reasons why most relationships fail are conflicts with finances, interpersonal problems, sexual and communication. Another significant factor in relationship failure is acknowledgment of a problem within the individual.

“The biggest obstacle is getting people to come out of a state of denial,” he said. “Most of us don’t want to admit there’s a problem. We’ll say it’s manageable, or that it’s not actually serious.”

Interpersonal problems consist of a difference in opinions, such as disciplining children or parenting styles. The point is to determine what the problems are, face them and solve them.

“As long as people can ask for help we’re going to give them the help they need,” Uchtman said.

The alliance pledges “to help one another by sharing resources, including speakers, workshops, classes, retreats, programs, and referral training. The resources should foster marriage and family growth and will also help meet the needs of individuals and families adjusting to separation, divorce, or the death of family members … it strives to help member’s faith communities improve the lives of individuals and families within the greater Carthage community through its ministry.”