Last night we celebrated the end of our 8th Marriage Community Group. We have dreamt for years of having couples into our home for the sole purpose of building stronger marriages. What began in 2016 as a beta group, has evolved into a ministry within our church that is by God’s grace bearing much fruit.
We marvel at the fact that we have had nearly 50 couples so far, with another group planned in January. We have welcomed couples married only months to those married for decades. Couples of all races and religious backgrounds. Some go to our church, and some from other churches. We have walked with them through job losses, miscarriages, parental issues and unresolved conflicts.
Regardless of how many years they’ve shared or from where they’ve come, all have quickly realized healthy marriages require constant attention. And we are no exception to this rule.
We’ve heard it said, “The best way to really know a topic is to have to teach it.”
Nothing inspires study as being accountable in this way. Tom and I have had many challenges in our own marriage as we’ve worked through this material in the past four years. We are grateful for those willing to speak into our marriage and help us overcome conflicts and misunderstandings. We are a better “us” as a result of leading these marriage groups. Gratefulness abounds!
Have you considered starting a marriage group in your local church? It doesn’t have to be formal, but can start organically through relationships you already have. Community is a great way to grow your marriage.
Five Tips To Help You Begin A Marriage Community Group:
- Find couples who want to grow their marriage and are willing to meet together on a regular basis.
- Choose to read a book together. We highly recommend Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish. He provides DVDs that go with the book as well as a workbook. All are tools to help your group stay focused and challenged.
- Share meals at each other’s homes, or gather at a favorite restaurant.
- Plan double dates in between meetings to grow your friendships.
- Ask good questions of each other. Questions are a great way to break the ice and take the conversations to a deeper level. Check out our Date Night Questions on the tab at the top of this page. Some wouldn’t be appropriate for others, but many could be used in a group setting.
Above all, be intentional in your marriage. It really makes a difference. Don’t let conflicts go unresolved. They won’t go away–they will fester and come back worse than when the conflict first started.
Emotional Intimacy Prompt:
Talk about what couples would be the best influence to help take your marriage to the next level. Discuss what you admire about them and which of their character qualities you would love to see in your own marriage.
Date Night Idea:
Plan a double date with this couple to share with them the things you admire about them. Ask them good questions to find out how they got to where they are. And most of all express your gratefulness for their influence in your life.
(If you don’t have a couple, pray and ask God to lead you to someone you can glean from in your marriage. He loves to answer these kind of prayers!)