Let’s count the number of times I have called a church member to help me with something when my husband was out of town. This will be a fun game, I promise.
1. When I was super pregnant during an epic snow storm and couldn’t shovel snow to get out of my driveway.
2. Four words: mouse in my kitchen.
3. That time I was pregnant (again) and about to pass out while trying to parent a 2 year old.
4. That time I was pregnant and about to pass out… waaaiit… ok, ok, I did this one about 6 times.
5-8. Pregnant, fainting, blah blah blah.
9. When my neighborhood had a rash of break-ins and one church member came over to help secure my house while another one housed my daughter and me for a night while the neighborhood drama died down.
10-100. All the times I called, texted, or got together with friends to pray as I worked through the challenges of being alone and missing my love.
In my last post, I used the word “fool” to describe anyone who thinks they can have a successful marriage without a strong church community. Harsh? Perhaps. But true.
God has specifically called us, his bride, to live in community together. Don’t believe me? Sigh … You would make me do this the hard way. Get out your Bible and read these in context:
- John 13:34-35 “love one another”
- John 15:17 “love one another”
- Romans 12:5 “members of one another”
- Romans 12:10 “love one another”
- Romans 15:7 “welcome one another”
- Romans 15:14 “instruct one another”
- 1 Corinthians 12:25 “no division…care for one another”
- 2 Corinthians 13:11 “comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace”
- Galatians 5:13 “serve one another”
- Galatians 6:2 “bear one another’s burdens”
- Ephesians 4:25 “members of one another”
- Ephesians 4:32 “be kind to one another…forgiving one another”
The list goes on and on. Do you see a theme? Christ died so that believers can live in harmony with ONE ANOTHER.
I can’t say what state our marriage would be in without our strong church community to bolster us both up. Would my temptation to resent him for being gone have devoured our affections? Would he be so ill-equipped to handle temptations while he was away that our marriage vows would be broken? I thank our loving Father in heaven that He gave us his church as a means to teach, admonish, and support us as we live each year as husband and wife, stronger than the last.
If your spouse travels, or if you have a long-distance dating or married relationship, look to your church for help. You cannot do it alone. You need Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and God has given us His church to be a context for that.
So, what does this mean? What does it look like? Aside from my damsel-in-distress list above, it means this:
- Build relationships, through small groups and social events. Strangers can’t mine the depths of your heart the way friends can. Only a friend can know me well enough to say “Laura, you are being incredibly resentful of Mike right now. Here (hands me coffee). Let’s talk and pray.”
- Go to church. Hear the sermon. Take notes. Be teachable, and apply those truths in your lives.
- If you have small kids, use your church members as babysitters so you can have date nights whenever possible.
- Be vulnerable to make friends; be vulnerable to your friends; be vulnerable to be taught and cared for.
- Ask for help. Whether it’s a mouse in your kitchen, or deep-seated conflict in your marriage, call and ask for help. It’s not shameful to ask another couple to counsel you. That’s called wisdom.
- Pray for your spouse. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your church community for your marriage and for others’ marriages. Satan wants to destroy these pictures of Christ’s love, but prayer is a powerful weapon against that.
Speaking of prayer, I just stopped typing and prayed for your marriages. You who read this, know that God is working in you now. He is FOR your marriage. And, for the record, so am I.