“For decades, Dr. George Kenworthy has been a trusted voice as he has empowered ordinary couples to have an extraordinary impact on the marriages around them. The ministry he founded equips people to have a generational impact on neighbors, family members and friends. I am grateful that Dr. Kenworthy is releasing a valuable new series of tools and resources that will make a difference in the lives of families.”
President and Founder of San Antonio Marriage Initiative (SAMI)
“Growing up in a broken home, I know all too well the impact divorce has on a family. That is why Mahoney Media has so enthusiastically partnered with 2Restored to produce tools that can help friends speak encouragement into the lives of people struggling with their marriage.”
Author, Filmmaker and Founder of Thinking Man Films
“In these days when so many marriages fail both inside and outside of the Church, it was a sheer delight to read Dr. Kenworthy’s book Marriage Makeover. It was so fascinating I couldn’t put it down… I highly recommend it… it is a testimony to the fact that the power of the gospel and of the living God are both able to do what increasingly most others think is impossible. Counselors, pastors, and married couples will find this book to be a breath of fresh air!”
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Former President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
“Marriage Makeover is a terrific book for anyone seeking a stronger marriage. Based on the proven foundational principles of God’s Word, combined with Biblical teachings, hands-on applications, and inspiring success stories…gives us a practical guide for putting God’s Word into action in our lives.”
Former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins
“[The book] gives seven steps to married couples… When you are finished reading, you’ll be aware that true love in marriage is dependent on agape Christ-like love… At times, your spouse can be your worst enemy. Kenworthy reminds us that, through Christ, forgiveness and care for our mate is possible no matter how estranged we have become.”
Former Governor of the State of Minnesota
“Is your marriage just bumping along over potholes? Or hopelessly lurching toward the divorce court? The unique secret of this book is that Dr. Kenworthy has carefully formed his counseling strategy from the Source of truth —God Himself — who recorded it for us in His sacred book, the Bible.
Best-selling Christian Author, What Happens When Women Pray and Lord Change Me
A detailed endorsement of George Kenworthy and his book Before the Last Resort by Amy Morgan, Feature Writer for San Antonio Marriage Initiative (SAMI)
“Many have felt helpless watching a friend or family member struggle in their marriage. George Kenworthy, M.Div., D.Min., feels the same heart tug. As he began pastoring churches, he realized the depth of the need of those experiencing marital difficulties and the passion of his conviction to help. He began training others how to conduct marriage and family counseling in the mid-1970s and in 2006, founded the marriage ministry that became 2Restored based on the best practices he’d developed.
Dr. Kenworthy began sharing techniques and developed relationships with leading national relational ministries like Focus on the Family and Family Life Today, being noted as one of Focus on the Family’s “Best of the best” broadcasts in 2007 and again in 2011.
In 2006, Family Life released his book, Before the Last Resort, 3 Simple Questions to Rescue Your Marriage,which was distributed through 1400 Walmarts nationwide, among other venues. Family Life is reprinting the book in anticipation of increased demand as 2Restored launches a new website and has revamped corresponding resources for greater online access and application.
Before the Last Resort packs a powerful punch. Dr. Kenworthy designed it to be used by one whose marriage was in trouble, or better still, as a resource to help a hurting friend. The book promises hope that a marriage can be restored, even in the most desperate of circumstances, and it is filled with stories of couples whose lives testify to that truth.
Because marital restoration has the best chance for success when undergirded with external support, Before the Last Resort includes a Help-Me-Help-My-Friend guide. The last third of the book contains a short manual that outlines in great detail how a concerned individual can walk their friend through the previous chapters. The simple plan, beginning with appealing to the strength and power of God, is presented in eight steps to guide someone as they help another get their marriage back on track.
2Restored Founder and President Dr. Kenworthy, and colleague, psychologist and licensed professional counselor, Amanda Horton, Ph.D., 2Restored Chief of Counselors and Research, catalogued this strategy into a newly available streaming resource called Friend2Friend. The turnkey program allows churches, small groups, ministry partners and individuals to train to become a first responder when a friend’s marriage is in trouble. The program includes leader and participant manuals, online teaching from Drs. Kenworthy and Horton, as well as newly taped example videos that apply to a variety of modern family situations. These resources, as well as links to Before the Last Resort and Dr. Kenworthy’s other book, Marriage Makeover, can be found at 2Restored.com.
The Friend2Friend curriculum provides a game plan of what to say and do to help a loved one in a troubled marriage, allowing one who feels called to step forward in confidence, knowing they are equipped with effective tools endorsed by the leading relationship experts. Family Life endorses Friend2Friend so strongly it is making it a cornerstone of their new neighboring initiative.
Now any lay person can learn how Dr. Kenworthy’s unique blend of talent, skill and ability to apply the grace, mercy and love of Christ in his counseling sessions has helped restore hundreds of marriages.
More about Before the Last Resort.
How, might you ask, has Dr. Kenworthy’s team succeeded where others have fallen short? Dr. Kenworthy founds his counseling approach on a couple’s willingness to agree to three simple things:
- Believe that there is a God
- Be willing to apply the principles of the Bible to their lives
- Pray for God to strengthen themselves and their spouse
This simple agreement opens the door to the presence of God to work powerfully to change hearts and minds, even and especially, those grown cold toward each other or deeply entrenched in destructive attitudes and behaviors. The first few pages describe why one should believe God cares about the state of their marriage and has the desire and power to intervene. It encourages the reader to pray to God for love, strength and fullness. The presence of God is the “secret sauce” that makes this book, and Dr. Kenworthy’s approach, more than just another volume of “tips and tricks” to improve marriage.
Would a non-religious person be interested in appealing to a God in whom they may or not believe? Would those participating in what the religious world would call “sin” be willing to risk the idea that God might want them to change their behavior?
Surprisingly, Dr. Kenworthy says yes. “When people are hurting and desperate, they are looking for a lifeline,” he says, “and they are not put off by help coming from a religious source. They don’t care that it’s Jesus, they care that it works. They instinctively believe the church is a place they can find help with marriage and parenting problems.”
Along with suggestions, Dr. Kenworthy shares true experiences of couples he counseled in his more than 30 years of pastoral ministry. During his most recent post in Minneapolis, he and his team of trained coaches saw, “God heal about 90% of the marriages of all the couples we counseled,” according to the book’s introduction. And those marriages had, “deep, hardcore problems. Couples ensnared in a thick web of deceit, adultery, physical or verbal abuse.”
The book also offers a handful of useful, practical tools for couples to address some of the obstacles that have created the “soft” problems in marriage. Techniques can be taught to overcome lack of communication, sexual intimacy issues, male/female differences, and to learn to fight fairly.
Dr. Kenworthy believes that even a practice as simple as the suggested communication date becomes more successful when another is walking alongside to coach best practices and hold a couple accountable for outcomes. And the hard problems —overcoming an ongoing affair, rebuilding trust and eventually rekindling love between spouses —requires a skilled, trained practitioner meeting regularly with a couple.
Dr. Kenworthy’s Journey
Dr. Kenworthy dedicated his life to Christ in the summer of 1967. Although raised in a traditional Lutheran family, he focused on academic achievement until the Christ-like example and tragic death of a college roommate ignited his passion to answer the Lord’s call to pastoral ministry. “Everything changed for me then,” he said. “I had the heart of a pastor.”
After seminary, Dr. Kenworthy continued to devour advanced classes in counseling, eventually attaining not only his M.Div. from TEDS in Chicago, but a Ph.D. in Bible from the University of Iowa, and D. Min. in Persuasion from Denver Seminary.
Dr. Kenworthy is not content merely to counsel — he demands results. He does not consider his work effective unless he saves the marriage.
“I want to see lives changed and marriages saved,” he said. Over the years and at subsequent churches, Dr. K continued to refine his practices and techniques, eventually incorporating the use of a female co-counselor to add an empathetic ally to address women’s emotional needs. “Every church where I pastored developed the reputation of the church where marriages were saved,” he said.
Dr. Kenworthy offered this example of a couple’s success story: A wife with whom he was acquainted came to him in marital crisis when she overheard her husband on the phone with his lover. Not only was her husband caught in an affair, he made clear to her that he no longer loved her and actually preferred the other woman. As difficult as this situation may seem, it is actually typical of the hard problems facing most of those who wind up in Dr. Kenworthy’s counseling sessions.
Dr. Kenworthy was able to persuade them to agree to the three questions, then, surprisingly, did NOT insist the husband give up his lover. Rather, he listened to both of the parties individually, searching out the root causes for the affair without condemnation. (To be clear, Dr. Kenworthy does not condone infidelity in any way.) However, he has found that drawing a line in the sand at the outset of counseling is not effective. Instead, he allows room for God to change the hearts of individuals, trusting that God will lead the straying spouse eventually to decide to divest themselves from an adulterous relationship. A voluntary action is much more powerful and likely to bear fruit than one half-heartedly submitted to out of guilt or duress.
“I help them realize their motivations of their affair,” he said. “I tell the so-called ‘guilty party’ I understand how hard it would be to give up their new best friend. I don’t shame them, nor do I tolerate or excuse it. I want them to discover why it happened, so they can get back to God’s design for their marriage.”
Dr. Kenworthy told the husband he’d pray that God would give him the strength to give up his lover. “I understand how unrealistic it sounds,” Dr. Kenworthy said. But in this case, as well as many others, God worked powerfully to motivate the husband to end the affair and restore trust, love and connection in the marriage.
Dr. Kenworthy’s keeps another ace up his sleeve — his habit of connecting each spouse in counseling with a personal Ambassador of Hope, one whose story closely mirrors the other’s.
“I ask if I have their permission to allow somebody with a story almost identical to theirs to call,” he said. Hearing the success of someone who has walked in their shoes provides a sense of hope. The Ambassador of Hope offers support, encouragement and a sounding board, vision-casting a hopeful future for a positive outcome for their marriage.
“The Ambassador of Hope throws a lifeline,” Dr. Kenworthy said. “After hearing from the Ambassador of Hope, they can believe that maybe God can do something for them, too.” Once again, the support of a caring friend can make all the difference whether a marriage is restored or fails.
Dr. Kenworthy has been married to his best friend, Joan, for 51 years. It was Joan who inspired him to share his experiences to encourage others.
“I couldn’t shake the conviction I had to do something,” he said. “This is a book about Jesus and what he has done to save all those marriages. The first step is to know your marriage is in trouble. Then we can help you.”
Dr. Kenworthy has been a senior pastor in various churches for the past 32 years. He and Joan have three married children who are Christian workers around the globe.”
Feature Writer, San Antonio Marriage Initiative (SAMI)