After the Lord miraculously reconciled their marriage in 1979, Mike and Marilyn Phillipps spent the next three years as born-again, Spirit-filled Christians seeking God's heart for Christian marriage. They both were growing mightily in their individual walk with the Lord, but they did not know how to grow together in the Lord. Added to that were the many wounds and painful areas that had been inflicted on their relationship during the years of marital turmoil. They did not know how to get healed; they did not know how to grow as one-flesh. "What is the benefit of being married in Christ?" was their constant question. The answer eluded them as well as most of those they asked during those three years. The hunger to know the depth of marriage in Christ would not diminish, though, and in the fall of 1982 they began searching the Word of God for the answer.

As soon as they sought an answer from His Word, God began revealing to them the blueprint of His Word for marriage. They knew in their hearts it was exactly that for which they had hungered. The Holy Spirit began to show them from the scriptures what God had planned for marriage from the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

About that same time, a prophetic word was given to them regarding God's desire to establish around the world powerhouse Christian homes based on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. The homes were to be lighthouses, beacons to a lost world, and oases of peace to their own neighbourhoods ministering salvation, healing, and deliverance that can only be found in Jesus. Mike and Marilyn knew in their hearts that this was the type of home for which they had hungered and they longed to see these homes multiplied around the world.

When their own marriage began to heal and grow as they applied the principles of the Word to their lives, they were encouraged to share what God had given them with other couples. They became part of a national marriage ministry team and the next few months were spent seeking God for His exact blueprint in detail. Then, in May of 1983, the very first Married For Life group began in Mike and Marilyn's hometown of Denver.

That first group was a collection of five couples all of whom had known Mike and Marilyn when their marriage was a disaster and their home was disintegrating. All of the couples were sceptical that God might choose to use that couple or that He could even speak through them. Yet at the end of that first group, every marriage had been touched by the hand of God. What a testimony to His greatness!

That first group multiplied into two groups in August of 1983 and in September the first out-of-state couples were trained for Group Leadership. God showed Himself strong in each of those groups and marriages began to be transformed across the United States. In 1986, Jim and Judy Johnson, originally from Minnesota, felt God's call to emigrate to Australia to sow this new work in our nation.

For ten years the ministry was called Nova Shalom but in 1993 the name was changed to Marriage Ministries International to better reflect the mission of the ministry.

In 2003, the ministry changed its name in Australia to Families For Life Australia to reflect the focus on other relationships in addition to marriage. Groups now meet in more than 90 nations on six continents using over 30 different languages. Training Courses are being held around the world to accommodate the rapid growth and continuing demand for Group Leadership.

MARRIED FOR LIFE ministers to couples in any stage of growth in their marriage, from those who are barely hanging in there to those who have been happily married for years and have a solid foundation upon which to build. Shaky marriages are healed, mediocre ones are brought to new life, and solid ones sky rocket into excellence.

As FFLA has continued to grow and mature as a ministry, it has become evident that one of its major assignments in the Body of Christ is to train up powerful one-flesh leadership. All around the world couples are discovering that God desires to use them, united as one, to minister mightily in their own churches, neighbourhoods, and communities. They are seeing people saved, healed, and delivered in their own living rooms as God teaches them to be that lighthouse to the lost. Couples who know how to walk in the power and unity God intended for their marriages are strengthening their local churches and going forth into the ministry call that God has specifically designed for them.

Now these powerful one-flesh teams are also able to minister to couples before they marry with FFLA's premarital course, ONE FOR LIFE. ONE FOR LIFE was birthed in 2000 with the arrival of Chad and Cristine Arnold in Head Office. For years God had been stirring the idea of a pre-marital course in the hearts of Mike and Marilyn and in leaders around the world. Chad and Cristine have years of experience working with teenagers, and a heart to lead these young people through the next chapter of their lives: preparation for marriage. FFLA leaders are deeply touched when leading ONE FOR LIFE groups as they get to see couples learn the biblical principles of marriage before they go to the altar.

In 2003, the PARENTS FOR LIFE course was launched. The course was developed by Mike and Marilyn and Larry and Judi Keefauver and it teaches Godly principles to assist parents to fulfil their responsibilities. It has the same Holy Spirit anointing as the first two courses and uses the same in house structure previously developed.

The Lord has spoken that the time is here for steady growth in foreign countries and requests for ministry and training continue to pour in from around the world. The ministry has been directed to begin working with missionary couples, both aiding in their preparation for going to the field and also ministering to them as they return for furlough. In obedience to this directive, the ministry now networks with many missionary-sending agencies. The command of our Lord to make disciples of all nations is being fulfilled by mighty one-flesh teams around the world. The world is our ministry field and the home is our classroom as we learn what it means to help "equip the saints for the work of the ministry" Ephesians 4:11-13.

A new season in the growth of the ministry was launched in late 2006 in America with a fresh mandate to make the power of covenant marriage known throughout the world: "2=1 Discover the Power"


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