Marriage is no doubt a journey, with changes in terrain (highs and lows) and different seasons (being a family of two, raising kids, having an empty nest and everywhere in between). Whether you’re newly married or have been married for many years, we need community to support us as we travel along the journey of marriage.
Community may look different from couple to couple, there’s no specific formula for what works for you and your marriage. Perhaps your community is a small group from your church. Maybe it’s a couple who mentors you, your Bible study group or a group of friends. Your community might be a mix of non-believers and Christ followers. If so, what an opportunity it is for you and your spouse to invest in the lives of non-believers through how you handle your marriage.
Having a community or network of people is important because it brings:
Support and Encouragement
Marriage can be tough. Two sinners with unique life experiences, wounds and temptations will inevitably struggle trying to become one. There’s so much in this world that’s against marriage and we see how many couples give up. Marriage is hard work!
Having a group of people who support you and encourage you and your spouse is so important. Doing life with other people gives us the opportunity to help one another, in ways big and small. You can pray for each other, when times are both good and bad. You can help take care of each other’s kids so that you can spend time with your spouses.
It can be encouraging to see how other couples handle life’s trials and marital struggles. Your marriage can be an encouragement to others too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 tell us that we can comfort others with the comfort that we’ve received from God during our own trials.
Sometimes we can’t see past the end of our nose and we need someone to bring a different perspective to the equation. There’s always someone ahead of us on the journey who has experienced what we’re going through. What can we learn from them?
Sometimes we may not get the perspective that we really want to hear on an issue (I know from experience), but having a trustworthy people to teach us helps us to grow and become a better spouse.
Being in community reminds us of how all couples struggle from time to time, it’s normal. When we isolate ourselves from people, we can often feel like we’re the only ones who do. When we do life with others, we can get a more realistic picture of everyday married life.
Beth More says, “Be authentic with all, transparent with some and intimate with a few.” From within your larger community, is there a person or two who can help hold you accountable to doing what’s right in your marriage? The right people, whom you trust, can provide accountability to you individually and as a couple. It’s vital that you and your community have healthy boundaries in place to protect what is sacred in your marriage. It’s appropriate and godly to seek counsel, but it’s crucial to do so with your spouse’s best interests in mind. Talk with your spouse about appropriate boundaries of sharing within your community before anything is shared.
Do you have such a community? If not, who in your life could offer support to you and your marriage? Pray about it with your spouse and wait with anticipation about how God will bring the right people to your life. Also think about how you can support the marriages of other couples within your sphere of influence. Act on those ideas this week!