You know Lenny and DeeAnne. They’re members of your church. They’ve attended for more than five years. They’re a sweet couple who come to church every week, help out in kids ministry, and are a part of a community group. One morning you receive an email from Lenny asking if they can meet with you within the next couple of days. As soon as they walk in the door, you know the talk will be about marriage problems.
Their marriage is crumbling. They have years and years of pent-up issues that they have no idea how to deal with. You feel crushed for them and even a little responsible for not recognizing how much they were hurting. Whether they’ve indicated it or not, you know they want you to “fix” them with “three easy steps”, but their issues are so deep and so complicated that you don’t even know where to start.
Situations like this, while extremely common, are not ideal. You, like most church leaders, desire a healthy church with healthy couples who have the capacity to serve and encourage others. While marriages in crisis have always been a part of the church, what would it look like to have that percentage greatly decreased? What would it look like, to have couples encouraging one another toward a God-glorifying commitment instead of waiting until the last minute to dump all their problems on you, the church leader?
Marriage problems are usually from lack of skill, not character.
Marriage author Gary Thomas says, “Divorce often occurs not because of a partner’s character but because of the lack of marriage skills in both partners.” Experiencing the pain and destruction of marriage problems and divorce within our congregations is devastating for a church leader. The Lenny and DeeAnne scenario is particularly disturbing because it comes out of nowhere, and we are left feeling helpless. A lot of the time, couples wait to even come to the church leadership until the marriage has reached a point where counseling has little to no positive impact.
Marriage problems shouldn’t be so common.
Marriage problems and divorce in the church is a very troubling issue. According to CDC reporting of divorces, in 2017, in the United States, there is one divorce approximately every 40 seconds. Shouldn’t marriages inside the church be different from those outside? The Bible tells us that God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). It is brought on by the schemes of the Enemy. Culture dictates that divorce is an easy way out, and, unfortunately, the people in our churches are listening. We need to be the louder voice in their ear, encouraging God’s version of a thriving marriage covenant.
Crisis in marriage isn’t the only problem. Many marriages within the church have gotten to a point of stagnancy and complacency. Those marriages are not “healthy” either and need to be revived and renewed in order serve the Lord with joy.
Grace Marriage Mission
What’s your strategy to reduce marriage crisis and see couples thrive? Download your free guide for how to reduce marriage crisis in your church and let us know how we can help you.