Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thoughts From a Judge

posted by Michele Olson

A Judge Who Cares About Marriage

What happens when a judge cares about marriage?
In June, 1996, James Sheridan founded the organization, Marriages That Work in Lenawee County, Michigan, to address the problem of divorce. He spearheaded a gathering of local ministers and civil officials who perform weddings to work on the issue and invited Mike McManus of Marriages Savers® as the primary speaker. The group met on February 14, 1997, becoming the largest gathering of the type in the history of the county. The result was striking: sixty six members of the Lenawee County clergy and all thirteen civil officials authorized to perform weddings agreed to require education in communication skills and dispute resolution, in addition to taking a premarital inventory, before they would perform weddings.
This was the first time in the United States all the civil officials in a county have joined together to require premarital education. The media went wild. James Sheridan was interviewed by over a dozen radio talk shows from across the United States, the BBC in England and Germany. Articles appeared in publications quoting Sheridan extensively in Europe, England and many cities in the United States. He was interviewed on ABC Good Morning America, The CBS Evening News, The ABC Evening News along with local news shows from Detroit and Toledo. He was also an invited guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Thoughts from Judge Sheridan:
What we have to keep in mind is that the marriage movement is a process, not an event. Each of us has to do the small part we are able to do. Collectively, these small steps will make a big difference. I am a great believer in what I call "the straw theory of life." You have obviously heard the phrase: "the straw that broke the camel's back." Question: what causes the back to break? Answer: the back is already loaded down with straw and that last straw is one too many. I believe each of us is obligated to throw our "straw" on this problem. If we don't, the pile will never build up and the "last straw" the one that "breaks the camel's back" will never be reached. The good news is I can see more and more straws being thrown. It is a long, slow, tedious effort, but the pile is growing. What we have to do is not get discouraged, but keep throwing our straw at every opportunity.
- Judge Jim Sheridan

Hey! Are you doing your part to prevent the “last straw?”

To hear our interview with Judge James Sheridan…visit the media page of

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