Sharing the secrets to a long, happy marriage

Nicky and Sila Lee fell madly in love as teenagers while waiting to board a ferry to Ireland from Swansea in southwest Wales. Sila, 17, was an art student; Nicky, 18, was studying English at the University of Cambridge. They married four years later, blithely assuming their love would see them through many years of happy marriage.

But their first year together proved to be rough. Sila had no idea how to resolve conflict other than by shouting or sulking. They were very different people and didn’t know how make that a blessing rather than a curse.

“When I came into marriage, I was very un-self-aware,” confesses Sila, who with Nicky, developed Alpha‘s marriage course in the 1980s which has helped millions of people revitalise their marriages.

“I just thought, ‘Well, this is who I am. I’m madly in love with Nicky and then on we go.’ Then I realised, ‘No, that doesn’t really work.’ I thought my way of doing things was the right way of doing things – the only way.”

Speaking frankly with Eternity, Nicky adds: “I also thought my way was the right way and the only way.”

These resources have reached more than four million people in more than 120 countries and over 40 languages.

After Nicky got ordained in 1985, the couple joined Holy Trinity Brompton (HBT) Church in central London, where the vicar asked them to prepare a course for couples who were getting married in the church.

“We had three couples in our home, and that’s where we started developing the course. And it came together very quickly.”

From this initial experience, the Lees developed The Pre-Marriage Course and The Marriage Course, as well as The Parenting Children Course and The Parenting Teenagers Course. They also wrote The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book. These resources have reached more than four million people in more than 120 countries and over 40 languages, giving people practical resources to strengthen their marriages and family life.

This October – 38 years after the Lees welcomed those three couples into their London home to prepare them for marriage – Nicky and Sila will tour Australia to run masterclasses for those facilitating The Marriage Course in their local churches.

Click here to see where and when you can join Nicky and Sila for one of two courses:

The Marriage Course Masterclass will empower anyone who has run or would like to run The Pre-Marriage Course and The Marriage Course. Both these courses were updated and re-released in 2020 with new teaching content, creative short films, global stories, sofa couples, and insights from relationship experts. In this masterclass, the founders and presenters of these courses, Nicky and Sila Lee, will share how to facilitate and lead a course. Then you will be able to reach your community with these incredible free resources, helping to invest in supporting strong marriages through effectively leading one or both of these courses.

Bridging Hearts: A Discipleship Journey with Alpha and The Marriage Course. This event is designed for church and ministry leaders to learn how Alpha and The Marriage Courses work together as part of the discipleship journey from pre-evangelism to growing in life and faith. Over the last 38 years, the ministry of Nicky and Sila Lee has reached over four million people in more than 120 countries. It has given couples practical resources to strengthen their marriage which helps build strong families. Alpha works alongside The Marriage and Pre-Marriage courses in equipping local churches to meet the needs of their own communities.

Nicky and Sila reveal how they have sustained their own marriage in a full interview in Eternity’s summer magazine – out soon. Keep an eye out for the magazine in your church or on Eternity’s website and social media.