Marriage and family take place within the larger family of Christ’s church. Church is not just a building or a dutiful Sunday attendance; it is a community of faith and accountability, and for marrieds, a support system and place to serve. Churches are made up of imperfect people and are therefore imperfect institutions, but it is within our church family that our marriages have a place to thrive.
For years it seemed like Josh and I could not come up for air. During engagement, Josh struggled to find a job after college. The job he found was unpredictable and kept him on the road every day, sometimes away for a week or more at a time. Once we were married, not much changed. We found out we were pregnant on our first anniversary and from then on experienced a succession of job changes, losses, financial set backs, out of state moves, more babies, moving again, starting a business – it just didn’t end.
If you’ve ever perused the Facebook comments on a popular Christian page, you know exactly why I’m writing this article. Facebook comment threads are a window into raw humanity, are they not? And this is true of all social media, not just Christian pages! So why do Christian commenters seem no different from their unbelieving associates? The attitude, tone, and name-calling is exactly the same – maybe with a few less swears. It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to say: Something isn’t right.
We’re told that having kids can be the death knell of a marriage. We’re told kids can ruin, wreck or render painful a relationship otherwise well preserved. But the truth is that kids don’t ruin marriages; they reveal them. Serving the children God blesses us with will expose our patterns of sin and selfishness, things we were better able to brush under the rug without little humans around. In this episode of the Honest Marriage series on Verity Podcast, Josh and Phy talk about how parenting changes marriage, how they get on the same page, and how to communicate about parenting decisions (especially in the little years).
We know God is holy. We know is kind, good, just, gracious, and all the spiritual qualities we observe in Scripture. But if we are image-bearers of Christ… created to echo His creative and loving power… is our playfulness an echo of His heart?
In my interdenominational work I frequently see a “theological pendulum swing”: negative experiences in one corner of Christendom driving believers into the opposite persuasion. Changing opinions are not a problem; they’re often a sign of maturity. The problem? When those believers turn and shout at the corner in which they used to stand, worried everyone who remains there is on the brink of deception.
Marriage comes with its stressors and challenges. Add onto that the challenges of pregnancy and postpartum, and marriage can feel incredibly hard. Emotions and hormones are running high, both parties can feel neglected, all while caring for a tiny human! There is so much going on in this season marriage can sometimes take a back burner. But it’s a season where we need one another more than ever.
In the early years of my marriage I struggled deeply with anger. While I still struggle in this area, the amount of anger I spent on Josh in those early years was much greater than it is now. The change in my heart – and marriage – didn’t come from learning anger management techniques (helpful as those might be) or counting to ten and breathing through my nose. The progress in my marriage began with the affection of God.
Friends – SO many great books launched in Fall 2021. I was honestly overwhelmed. I have a stack as big as my torso on my desk and wanted to do individual book reviews for each, but since I want these in front of you before 2023, I decided to shorten my summaries and compile them in one place! If you’re looking for some great gifts, or want to keep this post for future reference, save it in your browser because this is one to come back to!
In our early years of marriage we did not fight fair. We lectured. We withdrew. We were condescending and rude. Even when we learned to fight with more grace, we ended up in the same unhealthy patterns of communication – fighting over the same things and ending the same way. Josh struggled to forgive, I struggled to apologize. While we still struggle in these areas today, we’ve been equipped with tools to better navigate our fights and to communicate our needs graciously.