Destiny In Bloom

Your Marriage is Worth It!!

Your Marriage is Worth It!!

posted on April 25th, 2012 / by Crista Ashworth / 11 Comments

Several years ago, I sat alongside two other church women in a living room full of young wives and mothers. We had been invited to be panelists who would give opinions and “wise” answers to their questions about marriage and family issues. We had fun! The younger ladies had great questions—about how to stay spiritually focused and still let your husband be the spiritual leader, about personality differences, about becoming a mother, about how to honor your husband in the real world.

What I loved about the other ladies on the panel was their love for God’s word. They had scriptures coming out everywhere and wonderful truth to hand these younger girls. But one thing stuck out to me negatively that night—like a thorn on a rose—and I haven’t been able to shake it ever since.

One of the questions the girls had for us was: “What do you think about marriage conferences?” Before I could even formulate a complete thought, another panelist began to shoot down the whole idea of a marriage conference. She claimed that they were dangerous because you might start comparing yourself to everyone else and that you would only hear the teaching in light of how your spouse needed to change. She said that a marriage conference could actually do more damage because you would see how poorly your husband measured up to what a Godly husband should be. She took about five minutes to expound upon her position, and honestly, by that point I was totally flabbergasted. I had no words. I wasn’t even able to utter one sentence to the contrary because the wind had been knocked out of me!

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m ALL ABOUT tools to help you with your marriage. I think marriage is so important. And a marriage without help and support is doomed to failure. I feel like this panelist did those women a terrible injustice by convincing them marriage “conferences” were not worth their time. My husband and I have been working with a couple who began a marriage ministry a few years ago, and we just can’t say enough good things about it. In fact, one of the very points they make as they teach is that couples should ingest as much marriage help as possible! Every book they can get their hands on, every teaching, every conference, everything!

May I just reinforce that point? May I gather up the negative words and thoughts floating around out there about marriage workshops and conferences, and put them into the trash can? Your sneaky, lying enemy would like you to think that your desire to attend a marriage event is just a stupid idea. He would try to convince you that your husband would make you feel dumb for bringing it up. The enemy brings shame and condemnation on you for having a Godly desire—how twisted is that?!

Your marriage is important! Your marriage is valuable! Even if you are not currently getting along with your spouse, it is worth trying to fix! Just like it takes time and effort to grow spiritually as an individual, it also takes time and effort from both of you to grow together spiritually in your relationship. It takes work to learn how to speak your spouse’s language. Sometimes the work is hard and sometimes you have to deal with uncomfortable subjects. BUT IT’S WORTH IT.

The marriage ministry we work with is amazing. Couples go away on a retreat out in the country for a weekend, and you should see their faces and read their body language on Friday night. Wow! It does not take a mentalist to read the novels they are writing by their unspoken cues. But by Saturday morning, things have already begun to shift. The Holy Spirit has been massaging hearts as these couples sit in the presence of God and hear His heartbeat for their relationship. Then, as Saturday closes up after some really good, really meaty communication work, these couples look totally different. On Sunday morning, we’re all dancing and celebrating what God has done in their hearts, their marriages and their outlook on life. There are lots of joy-tears, lots of embraces and a whole lot of laughter.

Could a husband and wife come into that weekend comparing themselves to all the other couples? Sure. Will they experience conviction from the Holy Spirit for things they might have said or areas they have neglected? Sure. Will there be some difficult moments? Probably. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

My husband, Tim, and I have ministered at six marriage weekends now, and we have taken something fresh and applicable away from the same teaching EVERY time we have heard it. We have taken those opportunities to be vulnerable with each other and bare our hearts. And through some difficult and painful moments, we have been healed. We have grown our trust for each other and because of that, our love has grown. And now we even LIKE each other!

God is the one who thought up marriage and He does everything with purpose. A man and woman united in marriage are the picture—the representation—of God on the earth. That’s worth fighting for. That’s worth pushing through some uncomfortable moments for. Don’t let the enemy of your soul try to tell you otherwise.

If you have never tried a marriage conference, marriage group or marriage weekend, I hope you will soon. All of us come into this covenant relationship with issues. Baggage. And all of us need help figuring out where and why we get stuck. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful teacher and He is gentle. He works tangibly through people to speak into your heart, to embrace you in your desperation and to show you the path to life and freedom.

So, no more Mrs. Nice Church Lady when somebody starts bashing marriage events! Next time, I’ll have a very formulated rebuttal. And I’ll save you a seat at the next workshop!

 

Helpful Marriage Resources I recommend:

Marriage Today, Jimmy & Karen Evans: www.marriagetoday.com

Encounter Marriage Weekend, Rick & Brenda Laurence: www.encountermarriageweekend.com

Gateway Unity, Gateway Church’s Marriage Ministry: http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/marriage-family/about-0

11 Responses to “Your Marriage is Worth It!!”

  1. Brilliant post – totally agree! As someone who didn't do any marriage prep (as my husband was working ridiculous hours as a record producer) I can certainly testify that we suffered a lot in those early days and having had some older, wiser married couples to speak into our lives would have helped enormously. After some huge highs and lows, and a change of career for him (he's now a pastor), we can say after 18 years that man marriage takes a lot of work, you need all the help you can get, but it is soooo worth it. We head up the marriage prep etc at our church now and I am totally passionate about that – and about steering couples to courses etc that we think could help in their situations. Why do we always think that we don't need help, don't need to be honest and accountable about our struggles? We think we are the only ones – conferences and courses are so refreshing as, as long as they do dig deep, you find out everyone else has faced similar things too!
    Thanks for sharing
    Claire Musters

  2. My husband and I wouldn't be where we are today as a couple without marriage counseling. We do need good counsel and advice in our marriages. And I love the idea of the panelists meeting with the younger women. Sounds like it went really well with the exception of what the other panelist had to share. I wonder if the point your friend was trying to make is to be careful not to come away from a conference looking at the log in your spouses eye. And instead, turn your eyes upon Jesus and let him show you how you can serve your spouse. In a sermon from my former pastor, he mentioned that each person in the relationship should be doing everything they can to meet the needs of and serve their spouse. There is a risk with any book or conference that the couple will not be pointed to the One who can change their marriage.
    Thanks for sharing. I love being able to dialogue.
    Sharon

  3. In 2003 my husband and I were on the verge of divorce. I remember calling up to our church offices and making an appointment to meet with a pastor. After prayer and there and more prayer at home that weekend I told (yes told, I would love to say I gracefully asked him) my husband in an ultimatum type way that either we sought counseling or I was done. There was so much help that we needed, that I needed. marriage counseling, marriage classes and a very special couple coming along side us and walking through it with us is what got us through. I will never forget a month into classes the Lord told my husband and I we were going to be marriage ministry leaders and we thought the idea was absurd, after all we were a mess ourselves, what could we possibly have to offer. He took our ashes and made something beautiful. It was at the end of that first semester of classes that we started leadership training, our God is a God of Redemption.

    Crista- thank you so so much for posting this. I think you hit the nail on the head, the devil doesn't want us receiving healing and freedom in our marriages so he makes it shameful, embarrassing, tells you that your lack of success in your marriage determines your self worth and value. Freedom is about us getting past our self and the shame of what we are going through or the mess we have made, to get to the cross and allow His love to embrace, cover and fill every aspect of our marriage and our life.

    Love, love, love….as you can tell I am quite passionate about marriage and the redemption of marriage too! ;)

    jess

  4. In 2003 my husband and I were on the verge of divorce. I remember calling up to our church offices and making an appointment to meet with a pastor. After prayer and there and more prayer at home that weekend I told (yes told, I would love to say I gracefully asked him) my husband in an ultimatum type way that either we sought counseling or I was done. There was so much help that we needed, that I needed. marriage counseling, marriage classes and a very special couple coming along side us and walking through it with us is what got us through. I will never forget a month into classes the Lord told my husband and I we were going to be marriage ministry leaders and we thought the idea was absurd, after all we were a mess ourselves, what could we possibly have to offer. He took our ashes and made something beautiful. It was at the end of that first semester of classes that we started leadership training, our God is a God of Redemption.

  5. Crista,
    Amen! Great word, I hope many married people read this.Each point is beautifully said, it speaks the heart of God for us as married couples.
    I love you lady! Blessings,
    Jerri

  6. Thank you Crista, for the reminders. :)

  7. Crista, you make such a great cheerleader for the kingdom! A marriage conference was given to us as a wedding gift, weekendtoremember.com (through Family Life) and I LOVED that they talked about some very uncomfortable things because we were able to tread on some uncomfortable situations early so that we were prepared when it was knee deep later! If we had it our way, we would attend every year!!! You and your husband, Tim have also spoken some beautiful words of encouragement into our marriage when we were having a rough time. It was so refreshing to be able to talk openly and unafraid because we knew we weren't being judged…instead we were being loved and prayed for! God is a goooooood God!!!! Now, I'm a cheerleader for the kingdom and marriages…hoooray, hooorah!!!!

  8. Crista,
    This phrase said it all for me,
    " I think marriage is so important. And a marriage without help and support is doomed to failure."

    This phrase is actually fact, backed up by studies done on marriage success and failure. All hell breaks loose against couples determined to live their life and marriage for Christ. Without, friends, mentors, teaching, retreats, prayer and determined scheduled face- time with your spouse, you won't be living happily married, guarantee it. Rick and I are so thanful, and blown away by all that you and Tim add to each Encounter Marriage Weekend experience!! Preach it Girl, it's the truth!
    Love you,
    Brenda Laurence

  9. Crista! YES, YES, YES! Well said. I think anything we value is worth investing in. And then when we invest in it, that only increases its value. Mark and I have benefited from all 3 of the resources you listed–each one has a different approach and focus, but all three have strengthened our marriage, and I also highly recommend them. The Encounter Marriage Weekend with Rick and Brenda was especially fun because it was a weekend away from all the distractions. Great post.

  10. Thanks for sharing Crista. I agree that my marriage is worth the work, granted, its taking a lot of it, but every piece of Godly wisdom and counsel has benefited us! Praise be to God for people willing to be vulnerable and share their marriage experiences and wisdom to help others!

  11. It has been our GREAT honor to be a part of your team, Brenda! We love what EMW offers and all the good fruit it has produced!!! You and Rick are amazing marriage coaches/mentors and we love seeing how God is leading you guys into new seasons of influence for His Kingdom!!!