IMPERIAL VALLEY — Local Christian churches with couples from all over the Imperial Valley participated in a virtual Marriage Night conference Saturday, September 12, to keep love alive during the pandemic.

The conference was offered through Texas-based company RightNow Media (RNM), a Christian media company which offers biblical media resources for church or users who sign-up for the service, “like a Christian Netflix,” said Dennis Freeman, pastor for the El Centro campus of Christ Community Church.

The event featured three married couples to talk about a variety of topics regarding having a healthy marriage as well as entertainment from Christian Comedian and Actor Michael Jr.

Freeman said Christ Community invited couples to register for the event from Brawley, El Centro, Imperial, and Palm Desert.

“It's something that RightNow Media has had in the works; it's one of the only things we can offer to our congregation right now (in addition to our upcoming financial classes),” Freeman said, “and we were excited to enjoy the opportunity.”

Freeman said having a healthy marriage is something every couple should be working on — even for non-married couples who see themselves getting married someday.

“Finances, parenting, and marriage are some things that we always need to be working on; those aren’t the only things but those are three biggies,” he said. “If you want to go another step, physical and spiritual health. It's like general maintenance and that's something that we all need to be doing all the time.”

Freeman said with the COVID pandemic shutting families in together more than usual, marriage statistics have shown that instances of domestic abuse and other marital issues are on the rise.

Juan Benito, associate minister and Marriage Night event coordinator for Valley Christian Church in Imperial, agreed, stating families are struggling and divorces are increasing due to financial stresses during the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, Valley Christian also offered the Marriage Night event virtually.

“Our belief is strongly that if the marriage unit is strong then you'll have a stronger family, and especially right now with COVID, we see families are struggling,” he said.

He said he particularly liked speakers and authors Matt and Lauren Chandler as he saw them in previous years at The Rock Church in San Diego, noting their insights on marriage are very honest.

“I hope that (the event) opens up just some honest conversation and honest assessment of what their relationship is, and from there, maybe a desire to do something about it,” he said.

In the future, both minsters said they hope their churches can offer the event in person once the COVID-19 restrictions have lifted.


Roman has worked for multiple local news and non-profit orgs including IV Press and VW Mag, IVROP, St. JP2 Radio and is also with The Southern Cross. An El Centro native, he graduated from Marywood U in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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