Love and Marriage (Group)
I started this post a few months ago but with all the changes and new things occupying our time I never got around to finishing it! Still seems worth sharing so here’s a bit of a delayed description of one of my favorite ways God has called us to minister here this year.
Above is one of our engagement photos taken in 2010. As of today, Doug and I have been married for 3 years and 11 months. Gosh, I love that man! It doesn’t sound like such a long time, and yet part of me can’t believe that much time has passed already. There’s something amazing about two humans being an incredible match and getting to do it for the rest of their lives.
But this post isn’t really about us. Our relationship has been one of the many reasons I so highly value and am fascinated by human relationships. Growth in married life together is something we both have come to care very much about, both for ourselves and for other couples.
I mentioned a while back that I was exploring how I might be able to serve people through our church specifically in ways that heal hearts and strengthen family relationships. While it turned out to not be very feasible time-wise to work full time at the school and also offer therapy sessions through the church, we had the opportunity to start a group for young couples there. We had no idea who would be interested or what the dynamics would end up being, but it’s turned out to be a warm-hearted group that runs on a mixture of couple’s therapy, Bible-digging, and life-sharing.
We started meeting in October and finished going through a book by a well known couples therapist called Hold Me Tight before taking a break to have and care for our little newborn. The couples ranged from 3 months to five years of marriage and while we ran the group in English we had both Americans and Ecuadorians join us. During our weekly times together, it was wonderful to see personalities emerging, guards being lowered, and growth being sought. Doug and I even surprised ourselves with what we had to learn and the new things we shared that we didn’t even know were there to be spoken.
In respect of the group’s privacy I’ll refrain from sharing the details of some of the things we witnessed God doing in marriages through the group, but suffice it to say that its truly been a blessing to be a part of. I was continually surprised by the things God chose to use from week to week. On evenings when I worried we’d allowed discussion to derail too much we saw important friendships being allowed to form instead. When I feared we’d taken things too deep too quickly we heard how it had been a significant turning point for a marriage. In all its imperfection, there is truly much to be learned about Christ and about ourselves through watching and experiencing marriage, however imperfect we each may be at it. It’s a powerful gift that has the potential to refine, renew, and revive those who are willing to make the journey.
With baby Nolan in the picture, we’ve taken a break from facilitating the group until we have our feet under us again. But I miss having these people in our home and sharing life with them. We certainly hope to start meeting again, to possibly facilitate a couples’ retreat next year, and to continue being an active part of strengthening marriages in our community. It can be a real challenge at times but it is most definitely worth every bit of effort.
May 10, 2014 Uncategorized