It Takes a Village to Create a Strong Marriage
By: Amanda Idleman
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
We all have heard the “it takes a village” saying when it comes to kids. The same is true for strong, healthy, and Godly marriages. Accountability is vital to a healthy marriage. Strong role models of what marriage should be are extremely valuable. We need encouragement from others when we walk through hard seasons and it’s important that our community be one that reminds us that the mission of marriage is to do daily acts of love and good works for your spouse.
How many times have you wished you had a mentor couple to lean on or a couple that you both love that you can share date night with? Those kinds of relationships rarely happen by accident. We have to seek them out, reach out to others when a connection is made that feels right, and make time for these sorts of relationships in our lives.
A few years back my extraordinarily extroverted husband complained that we didn’t have a good group of couple friends to connect with. For the man I married, he needs at least one social outing a week in order to feel at peace. At the time, making sure we had at least one couple we truly loved to connect with a week felt like a chore.
Despite my reservations, I knew that he was right, we needed a community to lean on for the seasons ahead in our lives together. I started to seek out couples that could be “our people.” We began strategically inviting people over for dinner as much as our schedules allowed. Afterwards, we would talk through how we connected or in some cases didn’t connect well with the couple. Some people we loved but their lives were too busy for us to be a good match. In others, it took time to realize that we would be a good fit.
Eventually, we committed to creating a “supper club” with a handful of close couple friends. The “club” consisted of rotating hosting kid free dinners for one another once a month. Now a few years into this once a month commitment has become a sacred space. We can laugh, cry, and be brutally honest about our struggles. These are the places that true growth and joy in our lives can happen. These are the people that keep us motivated when trials come our way and celebrate with us when the big wins come our way.
Your village doesn’t have to be church, small group, or even anything with a formal title. It does have to be people that, you as a couple, invite into the real spaces of your life. They do have to be people that are trustworthy, righteous, and will push you as a couple closer to the heart of God. You will have to sacrifice time and even some babysitting money to make sure you regularly connect with your village.
For seasons, your village could even be a professional Christian counselor. The power of meeting together with a professional with the set intention of doing better at loving one another is unbelievable. When marriage hits a part of life that knocks the wind out of us; it’s not giving up to call for reinforcements. In fact, God honors when we reach out to find wisdom. There are so many occasions in which what we need more than anything is the eye of a trained professional to help us see our way through to change.
In our marriage, we just went through what I like to call our “10 year tune up.” We had just celebrated 10 years and while our love was strong, our habits were poor. Frustration was starting to fill all of our interactions. Inviting a trusted Christian marriage counselor was transformational. Just knowing we would have to soon meet again and report back on our behavior was enough to push us back on track.
Don’t be afraid to grow your village! It may require a sacrifice of time or vulnerability but it can make the difference between an okay marriage and a holy one that honors the Lord.
Amanda Idleman is a wife, homeschooling Momma to three amazing kids and is passionate about encouraging others to live joyfully. Amanda also loves to write as a freelance writer and on her blog (when she finds a spare moment for it). You can find out more about Amanda at her blog rvahouseofjoy.wordpress.com or follow her on Instagram at rvahouseofjoy.
For More Great Resources for Christian Couples, Visit Crosswalk’s Marriage Channel.