When most pastors talk about their marriage, they start by telling you how many years of “marital bliss” they’re celebrating. The truth is marriage is not always blissful, but with Christ at the center it’s always gracious if we allow Him to lead us. Meaning that during the seasons when bliss is absent, God’s grace is sufficient.
Some Marriage Advice
Every marriage has different seasons—good seasons, bad seasons, and testing seasons. If you stick with your commitment, your relationship will grow tremendously and you will pass the test. Unfortunately, some couples fail to realize that the covenant of marriage requires constant attention and a teachable heart.
The root of most marriage problems is selfishness. Love must be the dominant force and forgiveness must be quick. Communication is also key. Listening without talking is true listening and walking away with understanding is true communication.
How do I know all of this about marriage? How do I have the authority to give this advice?
First, this advice comes from my own marriage experience. My second source is listening to my pastor and attending marriage events over the years.
Why Your Marriage Ministry Matters
As a pastor, creating safe spaces for marriages to thrive is vitally important. Most marriages fail because there wasn’t a safe space for them. Like any living thing, marriages need to receive healthy nourishment to grow and be sustained.
As church leaders, you want families and married couples to participate in your ministry. But you need to put the right tools and programming in place for them. Otherwise, people won’t stay at your church. Or perhaps even worse, they will stay, but will remain spiritually unhealthy as a result.
Your members come to your church to get spiritual nourishment and encouragement. But they go home and still face challenges. They’re showing up, but are they getting what they need. Church leaders focus on growth, but what about church health?
Healthy marriages create healthy families, which produces more healthy marriages. Unhealthy marriages create unhealthy families, which produces more unhealthy marriages. We can decide whether this cycle is a positive or a negative one.
That’s why your marriage ministry matters.
The Landscape of Marriage
The culture and landscape of marriage is changing drastically. Culture is constantly redefining what marriage and relationships look like. And these changes make an impact on our church because they impact the people within your church.
Ephesians 5:22-33 gives powerful insights concerning the heart of God concerning marriage. These verses can also serve as the inspiration for our marriage ministries’ foundation principles. Your ministry can choose to follow culture’s view of marriage or God’s.
As pastors, your voice and example has the power to communicate the heart of God concerning marriage. When it comes to the trajectory of marriages, your voice matters.
How Marriage Ministry Saved My Marriage
Years ago, my wife, Shemika, and I were having some major challenges in our marriage. At that point, we’d been married about five years, but were on the brink of divorce. We couldn’t figure out how to make it work and how to get on the same page with one another.
I remember saying to myself that we needed some help. If that didn’t work, I was out of there. Shemika says she was at the same point. We decided to contact the marriage ministry at our church to set up some counseling.
This decision saved our marriage.
The wisdom we received in counseling changed the course of our marriage. The leaders in the marriage ministry gave us a second chance. It helped us understand each other’s role. Over a decade later, that advice is still carrying us today.
Now, we’ve been married 18 years and had three children together. That would not have been possible without our church’s priority for marriages. There’s still room for improvement in our marriage, but we’re in a much healthier place.
Shemika and I now travel together and speak at marriage ministries. We also have a premarital counseling program we conduct monthly with several couples a month.
6 Reasons Why Marriage Ministry is a Priority
- It provides wisdom and stability for the family
- It creates safe spaces for marriages to be vulnerable
- It defines the culture of marriage in the context of God’s heart
- It aides in creating a spiritually and emotionally healthy church
- It saves most marriages from divorce
- It helps grow the influence and impact of your ministry in the community
Make the investment and build a healthy marriage program in your church. Because there’s too much at stake if you don’t.
Minister Mike Owens is the founder of Ground Breakers Inc., a youth leadership development organization and outreach ministry to the city of Atlanta. He’s also the Senior Pastor and founder of EVOLVE ATL Church.