the Liberty professor power couple who published book focusing on marriage and family

As Liberty professors Drs. Elias and Denise Moitinho pursued individual passions of marriage and family counseling at very young ages, they were wildly unaware this shared passion would lead them together in marriage and then into a new journey as authors. 

Elias, a professor of counseling who is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Denise, who is a professor of community care and counseling, released their new book in January, “The Dream Home: How to Create an Intimate Christian Marriage,” drawing from research and their 29 years of marriage experience to help couples and families in need of guidance. 

Elias Moitinho’s passion for counseling began in his last year of seminary as a 21-year-old in Brazil. He spent much of his time preaching, teaching Bible classes and visiting people’s homes. One day he visited a couple who was having a marital conflict and they asked for his help.

“My thought was ‘Lord, I’m young, I’m single, I don’t even have a girlfriend. … I can’t help them – I don’t know what to say,’” Elias Moitinho said.

Since that day, Elias Moitinho felt the pull to learn and to understand people who are in a relationship. He realized in order to help someone in need he had to be properly equipped with the necessary knowledge.

“God put in my heart a desire to learn marriage and family counseling to be able to help people just like that couple,” Elias Moitinho said. “I felt like they had a need, but I couldn’t help them.”

His wife Denise Moitinho had that same passion to assist those who desperately need it. When she became a Christian at 16 years old, she started working with poor children near her neighborhood in Rio de Janiero’s “favelas,” a Portuguese word meaning “slum areas.” 

Denise’s goal was to support and to love children as much as possible. Although she loved working in children ministries, she realized that often the parents needed help just as much as the children. 

“If you can empower parents to have a harmonious life, to love each other and really have a strong marriage, then you’re actually helping the child,” Denise Moitinho said.

Through their similar passions, the couple met in one of the only English-speaking churches in Rio. Elias and Denise Moitinho instantly became close through not just learning English, but also through their love for strengthening marriage and families.

“When I met my husband, we kind of turned those two angles and we always felt called to speak into the lives of families,” Denise Moitinho said.

As they taught classes and counseled couples, they both desired to write a book to guide couples and families. “The Dream Home” is unique, using the home as a metaphor to guide married couples in their daily life by applying specific principles. 

The book helps married couples to focus on a biblical worldview of marriage by using the various areas of a home to help them visualize a dream marriage. 

“We always had this desire to write something couples can use, what we have learned in our studies, what we have learned in our ministry … that we know helps couples, so we wanted to put it together in a book,” Elias Moitinho said.

The book and e-book can be purchased at the Liberty University Barnes & Nobles campus bookstore and online. The book is also available in most bookstores and on Amazon. Both the book and e-book also include access to eight 7-8-minute professionally recorded videos with the authors.

In their desire to reach more people beyond the classroom and the church, the Moitinhos started their own YouTube channel, called “Motivation and Growth,” and website,

Woolwine is a feature reporter. Keep up with her on Twitter.

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