In 2006, Carrie and I began ministering to married couples in the context of a small group within our Church. Now into our 9th year, we have very close personal relationships with several couples from the ministry. For many years now, I have consistently given Thanks to God for "surrounding me with such great friends!" Even though I am the teacher, my own marriage has been highly impacted. How? you ask. Through the fellowship and the close walk with other couples. Walking with others who love me, laugh with me, and pray for me, all while knowing the "real" me is a critical resource for me and my marriage. If I encounter one of those weeks that causes stress in my marriage or God forbid, the often-experienced "Sunday-Morning-Disaster" just trying to get out of the house and to Church, it only takes about 15 minutes in Sunday School class to realize I am not the only one with troubles, and in relationship with others, I am able to laugh at myself, experience peace, and overcome. Fellowship with others has a way of revealing the truth of situations and reducing the size of the mountain I am facing. I come to realize, "this thing is not as big as I have thought it to be."
I am ever reminded that the marriage covenant is under attack, whether through cultural influences like those that seek to redefine "family," unseen spiritual devices, or the ever popular differences (that we politically correct term "irreconcilable"). Marriage has become an intense battle ground in our culture, with a high-percentage ending in divorce. Often, when troubles arise in marriage, isolation is the option of choice and through isolation, one feels completely alone in the world, which causes the problem to become magnified. A better choice, then is to walk with others who love you and will be there to support you through the difficulty. I find it interesting how often others have experienced or are working through similar situations themselves. This type of interaction will often strengthen us and give us power and energy to overcome the obstacle that would have otherwise seemed impossible through isolation. If there was ever a day to walk with other couples that strengthen and support you, it is NOW! "Thanks be to God for those He has surrounded me with!"