"My marriage was a mess": Corina and Maurizio's story

Corina and Maurizio

Corina and Maurizio are just one of the couples who experienced a transformed marriage through attending The Marriage Course. According to Maurizio, “I think we had both resigned ourselves to getting a divorce,” but, he says, doing the course saved their marriage.


Corina: Despite being very successful in my career, my marriage was a mess. We got married when we were very young and we didn't have any role models in our personal lives, we didn't know how to handle conflict and soon grew apart. By the time I heard about The Marriage Course, seven years into our marriage, we were close to divorce – we didn't talk, we hardly saw each other, constantly arguing, and it felt like we were living separate lives. We had just been going to Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) [Church] for a few weeks when I first heard about The Marriage Course and I thought, "Let's give this one last shot". I didn't know what to expect but I knew our relationship couldn't get much worse. I thought it was our last chance.

Maurizio: I wasn't a Christian or a churchgoer. I was deeply sceptical of church and what I thought it stood for. Through a string of strange circumstances, we found ourselves at HTB a few Sundays and I heard about this thing called Alpha for people who don't believe in God and have a lot of questions. I thought it would be interesting to check out, then at least I would know for sure whether any of it was true or not. At the same time, Corina heard about The MarriageCourse at church and asked me if I would go with her. I couldn't help but think, "What could a church teach us about marriage? I don't want to be judged by some know-it-all priests who know nothing about life". Corina insisted though and we made a deal that she would come to Alpha with me and I would go to The Marriage Course with her. At the time, our marriage was a complete disaster. We were constantly fighting and didn't enjoy each other's company. I travelled a lot for work and didn't want to come home at the end of the week, knowing we would just argue. I was extremely selfish and always wanted things to go my way, regardless of what Corina wanted or needed. If something didn't go my way, I would explode in a fit of rage. I think we had both resigned ourselves to getting a divorce.

Maurizio: I still remember the first night. It was very different from what I expected. Instead of being judged by others, Corina and I sat at a table together listening to Sila and Nicky talk about struggles in their marriage and how they overcame them. I was very intrigued – how did they face similar challenges to us but stay happily married? Wait, did they just mention the word sex in church and say it’s important for their relationship?! This did not feel at all like judgment being passed down from an ivory tower. Then we started getting into really practical exercises. I discovered that I didn't know Corina as well as I thought I did, but also that I never articulated the things I appreciate the most. I used to always buy Corina expensive presents and I was always disappointed that she didn't seem to "appreciate them enough".I would buy her a new handbag and she would ask if I took down the trash today– in my mind buying a handbag counted for at least one year of trash duty! But it was only through the "love languages" exercise that I learnt about what she really cares about: acts of service and quality time.

Corina: I was very nervous that first night. Will this be awkward? Is Maurizio going to stick around for it? We hadn't really talked in months, so I wasn't expecting him to open up anytime soon. But as the evening progressed, I realised the course was extremely well structured and had very practical exercises that forced us to listen to each other (I couldn't remember the last conversation before that where Maurizio didn't check his phone). The pace was quite fast and the evening went by in no time. I started discovering more and more about Maurizio and myself and when in the taxi ride back home he put his phone away and said, "How did you find it?" I had to keep it together, because I felt it was the first time in a very long time he was actually really interested in how I felt. Over the weeks, we discovered more about each other and what makes us happy as a couple. It also gave us the tools and habits we need to overcome conflict and lead a happy relationship (like"date night" and "no arguments after 10pm"). I can't say we are as disciplined as we should be, but I can say that we now have the tools to fix things when they break.

Corina: I can now honestly look back and say that both The Marriage Course and Alpha saved our marriage. We don't have it all together – far from it – but we know how to work on it. Coming to faith together was an incredible experience and profoundly changed our lives. I see a huge difference in Maurizio, sometimes it's hard to believe he is the same person. Having a strong relationship also gave us the strength to take risks in our careers – because we know we have each other's back. It helped us realise our potential and calling together and as individuals in ways we never thought possible and I really want as many people as possible to get this second (or third, or fourth...) chance in their relationship.

Maurizio: I can honestly say it saved our marriage. Over the course of doing both Alpha and The Marriage Course I was transformed. I was able to truly open up to Corina about my feelings, I had the tools to overcome conflict, a deeper understanding of her as a person and most importantly a different sense of what marriage was about. Instead of asking myself, "What has Corina done for me today?", I asked myself, "What can I do for Corina today?". And strangely, that made me happier! It also gave me a different idea of what church was about – this was the first time for me that I saw the church doing something for people like me who were not Christian, did not have everything together, were not righteous but deeply broken and in need of help. In the course of doing both Alpha and The Marriage Course I came to faith and was baptised two months later.