Two years ago, Brad Rhoads had the idea to invite the community to a faith-based event that would place an emphasis on marriage.

He called it Cherish, which is described as “a one-day marriage event that will draw you closer to Jesus and to each other!”

And on Feb. 29, Cherish is returning to the Riverpark Center from 1 to 6 p.m.

Rhoads, co-founder of Grace Marriage, said Cherish is for both struggling and thriving marriages.

“The purpose of the event is to refresh people in their marriages,” Rhoads said. “It’s a chance to laugh, to have fun, to connect and to gain key insights and skills into enjoying marriage more.”

The event will feature Dr. Greg Smalley, Focus on the Family’s vice president of Marriage & Family Ministries, who has spent the past 30 years studying and speaking about how to improve marriage.

Smalley will be joined by his wife, Erin, and the two will share their personal experiences as well as offer scripture to guide couples in their marital journeys.

Smalley said he and his wife, who live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have together written about 20 books based around the topic of marriage, and they have released a new one called “Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates.”

“That’s been a recent issue that we hear a lot from couples — ‘We love each other and we’re committed to each other, but boy, we’re just disconnected and we feel like two ships passing in the night; it’s like I’m married to my roommate.’ So what we’ll be doing for Grace Marriage is just helping couples reconnect.”

Smalley said marriages often suffer from busy lives and then it’s compounded by technology that also detracts from couples spending quality time together.

“We’ll focus on how couples can be intentional even in the midst of all the busyness; we’ll give them real easy, simple, practical things they can start doing immediately in their marriage,” Smalley said. “… For example, there are some moments every day that can be powerful connection rituals — like how we say goodbye in the morning; how we greet each other at night; how we say goodnight. … It’s how we take advantage of those moments; it can really make a difference.”

Along with the Smalleys, the event will feature national Christian comedian Dennis “The Swan” Swanberg. He is also a regular guest on Dr. James Dobson’s national broadcasts and other TV and radio stations throughout the country.

Cherish is hosted by Grace Marriage, which was founded by Brad and Marilyn Rhoads. They will also be featured speakers at the event.

Brad Rhoads, a former Owensboro attorney, practiced law for more than 20 years before leaving his firm in 2015 to pursue Grace Marriage full-time.

Since then, Grace Marriage has partnered with more than 90 churches to establish their own marriage ministries.

Rhoads said Cherish opens up the marriage ministry to an even wider audience.

“It’s unusual to have the Smalleys in western Kentucky,” Rhoads said. “…We just want to provide a unique opportunity for Owensboro and the surrounding area to be blessed by the highest level marriage folks that are out there.”

General admission is $35 with discounts available to pastors, veterans, first responders and Grace Marriage participants. To reserve tickets for Cherish, go to https://www.gracemarriage.com/cherish/.

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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