Years ago when we moved to Atlanta, one of our first priorities was identifying a church home. We visited many churches during our search to make sure one main criterion was met. The church needed to have a strong marriage ministry which, in some ways, can be as effective as marriage counseling. We believed that marriage is a covenant between us and God. As a result, we wanted to understand God’s viewpoint and keep Him at the center of our marriage. With that in mind, I’ve decided to give you my top 10 reasons I enjoy attending a marriage ministry.
10 Reasons a Marriage Ministry Can Be as Effective as Marriage Counseling
In this article:
- It helps couples understand God’s plan for marriage
- Meet like-minded individuals focused on building strong marriages
- Identify a marriage mentor
- Reminds couples of the purpose of marriage
- Offer marriage education classes
- Helps couples focus intentionally on their relationship
- Other relationships can be inspiring
- Couples get to reflect on their actions within the marriage
- Reminds you to rejoice for the spouse you have
- Teaches how to reap the benefits of a successful marriage
Reason #1 – It helps couples understand God’s plan for marriage.
I had the opportunity to attend a couple’s breakfast that was thrown by the marriage ministry of a church that we have been attending. Lamar was traveling that weekend so I almost didn’t go.
I was really self conscious about showing up there alone. Would people think that my husband refused to attend with me? Probably…but who cares?
I went anyway and I am glad I did. The event felt like marriage counseling meets God’s word.
At breakfast, I was seated at a table with several other couples. A few younger couples and a couple of older ones. I surveyed the packed room of over 100 couples from newlyweds to those married for over 60 years.
Before the program started, I had a chance to get acquainted with the couples at my table. Some had been married for 25 years, 11 years, 8 years, and 3 years. We introduced ourselves and began to connect with each other immediately. Before the end of the day, we were swapping stories and even sharing advice on how to deal with certain situations in our marriages.
Reason #2 – Meet and connect with like-minded couples seeking to build stronger marriages.
It’s important to find an older couple who can impart some wisdom on marriage. If you are having problems finding a marriage mentor, then I am sure you will be able to find one in your marriage ministry. As we have discussed in various articles, it is very important that you choose the right person to provide you with marriage advice. While we love our family and friends, they are sometimes the worst people to consult when it comes to your marriage. You might think you are getting marriage counseling but they won’t give you the best advice.
Reason #3 – Identify a marriage mentor.
In a marriage ministry, there will be a pastor or elder or an older couple who you can connect with. Now I know some of you are saying, “Some church people have the worst marriages!” While that may be true in some cases, I still say you have a very good chance of finding a mentor at church.
Remember, the people who are teaching and/or attending the marriage ministry also want to keep God at the center of their marriage. They are there to understand God’s plan for marriage and want the best for their marriages and yours.
Reason #4 – Reminds couples of the purpose of marriage
Marriage is not just about that “lovey-dovey” feeling and being happy all the time. While that is important, it is not the most critical. You need to understand the purpose of marriage and why you are together. Understanding the true purpose of marriage will help to sustain you when you are going through the rough patches.
Reason #5 – Offer marriage education classes
In addition to fun activities such as couples parties, bowling, and more marriage ministries often offer marriage education workshops, classes, and retreats. While not technically marriage counseling, these events provide an opportunity for relationship cleansing.
Reason #6 – Helps couples focus intentionally on their relationship
A marriage ministry helps to get me back on track and re-focused. If you want a successful marriage, you need to constantly work on it. You need to be intentional about making your marriage work. So if I have gotten off track, then I am usually back on track when I leave.
Reason #7 – Other relationships can be inspiring
I am truly inspired by all of the couples that we meet through a marriage ministry. Their stories and examples inspire me and give me hope.
Reason #8 – Couples get to reflect on their actions within the marriage
I am looking at myself (not at my husband) and thinking about all of the ways that I can improve. Have I been selfish, mean, distracted? How can I improve and become more like the woman and the wife that God designed me to be? As I improve, so will my marriage.
Reason #9 – Reminds you to rejoice for the spouse you have
I am rejoicing because I truly do have a wonderful husband and a great marriage and I thank God for him.
Reason #10 – Teaches how to reap the benefits of a successful marriage
As Dr. Tony Evans states in Marriage Matters: “In order for a covenant to successfully function, carrying with it both the benefits and security that covenant supplies, it has to be set up according to God’s expectations and regulations.” We are keeping God in the center and we are reaping the benefits!
If you have not attended a marriage ministry function/meeting, then I encourage you try one. If your church does not have a marriage ministry, then find a church in your area and attend their functions (For some churches you don’t actually have to be a member of the church to attend their marriage ministry functions.)
BMWK family – Do you attend marriage ministry? If yes, do you find them to be beneficial to your marriage and how? Are you having problems getting your spouse to attend?
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on December 22, 2010, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.