marriage seminar

Everything changes when a chronic illness or disability enters a marriage.

couple_on_bench_77293257(2)Everything changes when a chronic illness or disability enters a marriage – ideas of “quality” time, the way spouses communicate, what they communicate about, their thoughts of equality or shared responsibilities, how they spend their time and money. Every aspect of the marriage may be impacted by the long-term illness of one of the spouses.

According to one report, 75% of marriages plagued by a chronic illness have the potential for ending in divorce. The stress of a chronic illness can be challenging to a marriage, even when two people have been deeply in love for decades.

Join us for a one-day conference that celebrates the joys of marriage, is realistic about the difficulties, and values the promises made to each other.

Participants will…

  • Identify the major threats to a marriage dealing with a chronic illness.
  • Discover the 5 essentials every couple needs for a strong marriage relationship.
  • Leave with effective tools for addressing stress, anger, intimacy, and caregiver issues.
  • Hear the experiences of others that can help a couple build a strong, healthy marriage.



Session Topics:

  • “Minefields in the Chronic Illness Marriage”
  • “5 Essentials for a Strong Marriage”
  • “Dealing with Stress in the Chronic Illness Marriage”
  • “Can We Talk?”
  • “Build a Stronger Marriage…Together”

Comments from Participants:

  • “Very glad we came. Overall, the seminar exceeded my expectations.”
  • “Much practical advice. The honest, real examples were so helpful.”
  • “It was wonderful to hear from people actually living the situation.”
  • “This conference was very informative and presented in a comfortable, first person manner that made it relatable.”
  • “The seminar far exceeded my expectations. It was very insightful, practical, had a variety of presenters, had time for couples to talk to one another, and good group interaction.”
  • “Thank you for choosing to invest in our marriages. This was way more than we thought it would be.”
  • “This was an incredibly helpful and informative conference!”
  • “This was a wonderful blessing. It was the first time we felt like someone ‘got it.’ And THAT is an enormous gift.”

who should attend?

Who Should Attend?

  • Couples with one or both spouses diagnosed with a chronic illness and/or disability.
  • Couples with a child having a chronic illness or disability and want to keep their marriage strong and healthy.
  • Any couple who wants to protect their marriage from the negative effects of a chronic illness or the aging process.
  • Marriage mentors, counselors, pastors, and others who want to learn more about helping couples with a chronic illness.
  • Individuals and couples who find themselves thinking, “This is more than I bargained for!”


Conference Cost

  • Advance Registration through October 3, 2014:
    $20 per person
    Walk-in registration:  $25 per person
    (Registration fee includes program materials and continental breakfast.)
  • We have done our best to keep the cost of this conference as reasonable as possible. However, we don’t want cost to be a barrier to couples attending. We do have limited financial assistance is available. Please send an email request to or call 603-692-4895.
  • CANCELLATION POLICY:  We are willing to refund a paid registration fee through September 28, 2014. After that date, we will NOT be able to make any refunds for any reason due to financial obligations we make based on registered participants. Your registration is transferable to another couple or can be applied to a future Family Builders event.

About Lunch

  • You may bring your own lunch or purchase a lunch in the hospital dining room.


Conference Schedule

9:00 a.m. Doors Open/Registration/Check-in
9:30 “Minefields in the Chronic Illness Marriage”
10:30 Break
10:45 5 Essentials for a Stronger Marriage
11:45 Lunch Break
12:45 p.m. Dealing with Stress in the Chronic Illness Marriage”
1:45 Break
1:55 Can We Talk?
3:00 p.m. Conference Concludes

Schedule is subject to adjustments.


Conference Speakers
WillieCindy_headshot_3002Willie Batson, MA – President, Family Builders Ministries

Willie and Cindy Batson have been married since 1972, are the parents of two married daughters, and have five grandchildren. Cindy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis more than 22 years ago.

Willie is the Founder/President of Family Builders Ministries, a New England-based non-profit organization with an international outreach. Every week finds Cindy and Willie coaching couples preparing for marriage, maximizing their marriage, or repairing their marriage.

Willie’s first book, Tools for a Great Marriage, was published in 2008 and is now in its third printing. The Batsons are currently working on a second book specifically for couples dealing with a chronic illness or disability in their marriages. Read more about the Batsons here

Cindy Batson’s participation may be limited due to her illness.
Other guest speakers are invited to speak about their experiences.



Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
Garrison Wing Conference Center
789 Central Ave
Dover, NH 03820

Click here for directions.

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Conference Center


Frequently Asked Questions (click on arrow for answer)

Why are you having this type of seminar?
The stress of a chronic illness can be challenging to a marriage, even when two people have been deeply in love for decades. Just knowing that they will live their entire lives (except for a healing miracle) having to cope with the ravages of a disease is an enormous burden to carry. We discovered that in marriages plagued by chronic illness, more than 75% end in divorce! Most marriage ministries are not focused on the unique needs of couples with chronic illnesses. God is calling us to reach out to those facing these stressors in their relationships. There are limited resources and expertise to guide them on those occasions when they hit major relational road blocks. We want to equip them with the tools that enable them to thrive, not just survive.
How do you define a chronic illness?
One in two Americans currently suffer from a form of chronic illness. A chronic illness is a disease or other health condition that is persistent or long-lasting in nature, sometimes even despite treatment. Examples of a chronic illness include: multiple sclerosis, cancer, lupus, heart disease, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a host of others. About 96% of people with a chronic illness have an illness that is invisible. They do not use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy.
Our marriage is fine. Why should I/we attend this seminar?
Our primary focus is to help a couple maximize their relationship. This seminar will affirm what you are doing right, and it will equip you for any challenging seasons that may come in the future. Just as our cars need occasional tune-ups, our marriages benefit from investments like this seminar. Willie wrote about this in one of his blog postings (read more).
What are your qualifications for leading this kind of seminar?
Willie & Cindy have been dealing with a chronic illness for more than half of their 41 years of marriage (read more). They also have been involved in marriage ministry and coaching for almost 40 years (read more).
Will I have to disclose my illness or any other personal information in front of the group?
No, unless you choose to do so.
Will there be a lot of small group discussions?
One of our hopes for this seminar is to give spouses the opportunity to interact with each other about their marriage and the influence of a chronic illness. There will be scheduled times when you will meet with your spouse to talk about the material being presented. Any small group discussion will be limited and will not be personally invasive.
Is the host site handicap accessible?
Is this seminar relevant to a couple who has a child with a chronic illness?
We recognize that parenting a child with a chronic illness or disability is challenging and can create issues in the marriage relationship. This seminar is primarily focused on how the health of a spouse influences the marriage. However, we see where some of the issues can be the same for a couple with a chronically ill child. We welcome you to attend as long as you recognize that we will be talking about how to improve your marriage relationship rather than your parenting skills.
Do both spouses have to attend?
No. You can benefit from the teaching and discussions even if you attend alone. There will be scheduled times when spouses will be asked to spend some time together discussing some of the topics; however, we can give you guidance on what you can do during this time. We will not embarrass you by pointing out that you are there alone.
Do you plan to video and/or audio record the seminar?
Yes, but at the present time we are not sure when we will be doing this.
Can I promote this seminar in my church or group?
Yes! Contact our office about promotional materials. Also, you can use the “share buttons” below to share this information via the various social media, as well as sending an email to your friends with the link to this page.
How can our organization/church/group host this seminar in our area?
If your group or organization would like to be a host partner, please contact Willie Batson at 603-692-4895 or by email at

Would you like to host this seminar in your church and community?
Click here to contact us for details.

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