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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

29 Aug '12

Marriage ministries in the local church

Posted by T.J. Addington in church programming, marriage
Yesterday I celebrated my 36th wedding anniversary and it got me thinking about marriage, the church and society at large. Those who have been married for a long time know several things. First, that marriage is not easy; second, that it is stronger after weathering the life and marriage storms through the years; three, that we are better people for having to learn how to live with and serve another and four, that stable marriages (even though imperfect) are the best place to raise stable children. 

Which caused me to ask the question: why don't local churches put more emphasis on healthy, strong marriages with a robust marriage ministry? I know some do and I applaud them but the vast majority do not and yet it is one of the most important foundation stones of healthy couples, children and society at large.

Think at what is at stake with healthy marriages. People are far happier married than divorced so it impacts the happiness and therefore the health of individuals. Children raised in stable (not perfect) homes are happier and healthier than those who see their family ripped apart with divorce. The lessons learned by going through the hard times (and we all have them) are invaluable and change us in positive ways if we allow them to. And stable families are the cornerstone of stable communities, and healthy churches.

I am not ignoring the fact that there are circumstances where separation or divorce is the best route for those who are abused or abandoned. That is a reality in a sinful world and I feel deeply for those who have experienced marriage dissolution. The church is far too condemning and exhibits far too little grace for those who have experienced divorce. God is in the business of healing brokenness and so should we be.

But if healthy and intact marriages are so critical to our communities, our churches and God's design for families it would seem that local churches would do everything they could to help couples grow in their marriage relationships. And, to help them weather the inevitable storms that life and relationships bring weather from outside or inside forces.

Marriage can be hard - sometimes very hard, sometimes needing the supernatural grace and forgiveness only available through God's power. But those who go through hard times and stick it out emerge with a greater love and commitment than those who don't. And they can help others do the same.

We focus on many thing in our church ministries. A focus on healthy marriages (and helping the unhealthy ones) is one of the most important things we could do.