Promote, Prepare, Preserve

Hi there! I’m Liza. I’ve been at MMJ for almost two years now since graduating from Western Michigan University (go Broncos!) with my Bachelor’s Degree in Family Studies. I am passionate about working with families and children, which is why I love Marriage Matters Jackson so much. Our vision is to promote, prepare, and preserve healthy marriages, and I’m sure we can all agree that when we have healthy marriages, we have healthy families and children.

My title at MMJ is Event Manager. I plan and promote our quarterly Date-Your-Mate events, including our upcoming Valentine’s dinner and movie event (pssst: tickets for this fun evening are available here! )

The MMJ Fab Five at our last event, “Get Some” in your Marriage

When I’m not at MMJ, I fulfill my passion for working with children by volunteering. You may see me zipping all over Jackson in my blue VW bug (that I’ve fondly nicknamed Miss Betty Blue) with my little sister through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, or dropping off one of my Brownie Girl Scouts after a meeting. I also enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, Nick.

Yep, that’s right- I said boyfriend. I am the only one on the MMJ staff who has not yet tied the knot. While some may see marriage as a prerequisite to working at a healthy marriage nonprofit, I see my job as a chance to prepare for the marriage I’ll one day have.

My boyfriend (not husband) and me

Another seeming contradiction to working at a healthy marriage nonprofit is that I am the product of divorce. My parents separated when I was just a year and a half old, and my mom remarried when I was three. Thankfully, I was blessed with an amazing man for a stepfather. He has been a constant in my life and the biggest source of support I have. I always say that the best gift my mom has ever given me was marrying Darell.

My wonderful stepfather, Darell and me

As lucky as I am to have such a wonderful step dad, however, doesn’t mean that it was easy growing up with divorced parents. Holidays were sometimes split, weekends were spent being shuffled back and forth between houses, and a lot of effort was spent censoring what I would say, as to not hurt the other parent’s feelings.

The effect of divorce was even harder for my older sister. While I was too young at the time of their divorce to know what was going on, my then 8-year old sister felt like her entire world was crumbling and the normalcy she once knew was being ripped away. The impact my parent’s divorce made on her did not just effect her childhood, but followed her into adulthood and future relationships. To this day, I see how hard my sister works to preserve a healthy marriage with her husband, as not to repeat what was modeled to her.

Although I am not yet married, I have seen first hand the devastation divorce causes to a family, and this has helped me to understand the importance of promoting, preparing, and preserving healthy marriages. I am passionate about Marriage Matters Jackson because even if divorce was part of my past, I know it doesn’t have to become my future.