I grew up in Eastern Kentucky where the word “wash” was usually pronounced “warsh.” My late grandmother would tell me how she would go with her mother and group of women to the creek (pronounced “crek”) with a warsh board in order to participate in a communal cleaning of each family’s dirty laundry. They would warsh their clothes in the crek by rubbing their dirty laundry against the warsh board using homemade soap. While warshing their clothes, they would tell stories, laugh, and comfort one another. These “warsh board moments” were true models of Biblical community for my grandmother and her friends.
Our families and marriages need more warsh board moments; times where families can come together in order to share community, joy, and cleaning. There are a few powerful things from my granny’s warsh board moments that can help us in our desire to have healthy marriages and healthy families.
You need other couples.
The warsh board moments experienced by my grandmother were powerful due to the community of the women who gathered in the crek. Simply gathering together to warsh laundry on a weekly basis showed these women that they were not alone. We are made in the image of God, who in the God-self, exists in and as community; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You were made for community. Your marriage was made for community. All throughout Scripture, older believers are told to encourage younger believers and younger believers are told to value the wisdom of older believers. Whether you are in a young marriage or are celebrating your thirtieth wedding anniversary, you need other couples to share life with in order to experience your God-given inclination for community. If you are in a young marriage, you need older couples to share wisdom and insight. If you are in an older marriage, you need young couples to remind you of the joy of a new union.
All throughout Scripture, older believers are told to encourage younger believers and younger believers are told to value the wisdom of older believers.
You need to laugh.
The warsh board moments experienced by my grandmother were powerful because those ladies came together and laughed with one another. Couples grow the most during tough times, but heal the most during the fun times. Scripture says that a merry heart is a good medicine. Neurobiology and physiology back up Proverb’s claim because it shows that laughter increases the strength of an immune system, relieves stress, and even promotes relational connection. In our fifteen years of marriage, Tara and I have had some of our best laughs about marriage while hearing other couples’ stories while also sharing our own stories.
You need to confess.
My attempt here is to build on top of another great Start Marriage Right article written by Dorothy Greco, “How Confession Transforms Marriage.” In her article, Dorothy highlighted the importance of husbands and wives confessing to each other. Confession brings sin into the light and its the light that overcomes the darkness of sin. When my granny would sit on the river bank and hear the women tell stories from their own families, she saw them shed tears as they spoke about their struggles, their doubts, and their sins. It was after these spontaneous confessions that the women were then able to practice accountability, speak forgiveness, and practice unconditional love with one another. I have found that when my wife and I share our struggles, our doubts, and sins with other couples, we find wisdom, forgiveness, and love. When we confess to other couples, we learn that we are not alone and that there is hope in the midst of struggle. James is correct, confessing our sins to other couples leads to healing, just like washing our clothes results in cleansing.
I have found that when me and Tara share our struggles, our doubts, and sins with other couples, we find wisdom, forgiveness, and love.
So, it might not be a warsh board in a creek, but couples can grow stronger in their marriages by gathering around a table, living room, or fire pit in order to experience community, laughter, and confession. How can you find time for “warsh board” moments in your marriage?
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