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After the Lord miraculously reconciled their marriage in 1979, Mike and Marilyn Phillipps spent the next three years as born-again, Spirit-filled Christians seeking God’s heart for Christian marriage. They both were growing mightily in their individual walk with the Lord, but they did not know how to grow together in the Lord. Added to that were the many wounds and painful areas that had been inflicted on their relationship during the years of marital turmoil. They did not know how to get healed; they did not know how to grow as one-flesh. “What is the benefit of being married in Christ?” was their constant question. The answer eluded them as well as most of those they asked during those three years. The hunger to know the depth of marriage in Christ would not diminish, though, and in the fall of 1982 they began searching the Word of God for the answer.

As soon as they sought an answer from His Word, God began revealing to them the blueprint of His Word for marriage. They knew in their hearts it was exactly that for which they had hungered. The Holy Spirit began to show them from the scriptures what God had planned for marriage from the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

About that same time, a prophetic word was given to them regarding God’s desire to establish around the world powerhouse Christian homes based on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. The homes were to be lighthouses, beacons to a lost world, and oases of peace to their own neighbourhoods ministering salvation, healing, and deliverance that can only be found in Jesus. Mike and Marilyn knew in their hearts that this was the type of home for which they had hungered and they longed to see these homes multiplied around the world.

When their own marriage began to heal and grow as they applied the principles of the Word to their lives, they were encouraged to share what God had given them with other couples. They became part of a national marriage ministry team and the next few months were spent seeking God for His exact blueprint in detail. Then, in May of 1983, the very first Married For Life group began in Mike and Marilyn’s hometown of Denver.

That first group was a collection of five couples all of whom had known Mike and Marilyn when their marriage was a disaster and their home was disintegrating. All of the couples were sceptical that God might choose to use that couple or that He could even speak through them. Yet at the end of that first group, every marriage had been touched by the hand of God. What a testimony to His greatness!

That first group multiplied into two groups in August of 1983 and in September the first out-of-state couples were trained for Group Leadership. God showed Himself strong in each of those groups and marriages began to be transformed across the United States. In 1986, Jim and Judy Johnson, originally from Minnesota, felt God’s call to emigrate to Australia to sow this new work in our nation.

For ten years the ministry was called Nova Shalom but in 1993 the name was changed to Marriage Ministries International to better reflect the mission of the ministry.

In 2003, the ministry changed its name in Australia to Families For Life Australia to reflect the focus on other relationships in addition to marriage. ONE FOR LIFE was birthed in 2000 as God had been stirring the idea of a pre-marital course in the hearts of Mike and Marilyn and in leaders around the world. 

In 2003, the PARENTS FOR LIFE course was launched. The course was developed by Mike and Marilyn and Larry and Judi Keefauver .

A new season in the growth of the ministry was launched in late 2006 with a fresh mandate to make the power of covenant marriage known throughout the world: “2=1 Discover the Power” was launched as the new worldwide ministry name and was officially adopted in Australia at the “Rock the foundations” conference on the Gold Coast in 2009.

Groups now meet in more than 90 nations on six continents using over 30 different languages. 


Mike and Marilyn Phillipps share about the beginnings of 2=1 International

2=1 International is the combined ministries of Nova Shalom, Marriage Ministries International, and University of the Family.



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