My wife and I celebrated our seventh year of marriage in 2019. This past year has yielded the most relational growth we have experienced yet as a married couple. One example in particular stands out. Last summer, a helpful friend highlighted a communication dynamic that has tripped us up since we got married. Interestingly, what he shared wasn’t sin on our parts (though it has often led to plenty of conflict where sin was present, and this dynamic often kept conflicts going). Rather, it was a difference in how we communicate. Understanding this difference in communication helps us better move towards one another in conversation, and understand more of what the other person is saying. It was a significant breakthrough for us.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, ordained by God and pointing us to the amazing reality of the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph. 5). We know that one of the primary ways God’s kingdom has grown from the beginning is through marriage and family.
But marriage is also challenging. God calls two people—who wrestle with their own sins, struggles, and sufferings—to be unified and one. Every marriage is filled with various strengths, weaknesses, and pressures. For some, patterns and habits long-formed simply need resetting with a fresh perspective, while other marriages need a more significant reset due to the depth of the challenges.
Healthy marriages are characterized by a trajectory of growth over months and years, not by reaching perfection in this lifetime. So on Saturday, February 1ST from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Hope Counseling Services is presenting a marriage enrichment seminar at Chapel Hill Bible Church with guest speaker Jonathan Holmes, titled Counsel for Couples: Building and Maintaining a Gospel-Centered Marriage. There will be opportunities for spouses to engage with one another throughout the morning, learning from our speaker and working through exercises together in order to strengthen and grow your marriage. We will explore the meaning of marriage, how God’s story of creation-fall-redemption-consummation shapes marriage, how to navigate disagreements and conflict, and keep growing together for the long-haul.
The reality is that no marriage is easy and every marriage takes work. Each day, both spouses must die to themselves, seek the welfare of the other as much or more than their own, and seek to love in sacrificial ways. Marriage includes routine repentance, routine prayer, and robust faith in order to keep growing. Even as my wife and I had a significant insight this summer, we still have to work with much intentionality to put into practice what we have recently learned.*
Would you consider taking a few hours out of a Saturday in early February to strengthen your marriage? And would you consider inviting some friends and neighbors as well? I hope to see you there! hopechapelhill.org/events
*I recognize that for some of you, marriage has been very painful. Others have experienced a marriage that ended. And there are some that long to be married, but God has called you to singleness. I am sensitive to these realities, and pray that you would know the tailored mercies in Christ for these particularly painful places.