Marriage is good and marriage is hard.
The more we say it out loud the more we edify the thing that is marriage, as well as those enjoying and slugging through it each day.
Marriage is GOOD.
Genesis 2:18 reminds us that God calls marriage good.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Something God calls good, let us not call blah or outdated, second rate or defective. If He says it’s good, it’s good. Even when it feels not so good.
What is good in marriage –
two heads and two hearts for all of life’s problems
knowing and being known intimately
Marriage is hard.
Marriage is imperfect.
Marriage involves two sinners, two wills, two personalities, two ways of processing, two of everything.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reminds us that two, however complicated, has its benefits:
9 Two are better than one…Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Two sinners, saved by grace, willing to let Him work in all that is hard, and let His light shine in the dark places, that’s marriage at its best, folks.
We need one another.
For some reason we have entered the last centuries with an ever more conscious idea that marriage is a private thing, that in order to keep intimacy, we need to keep our marriage triumphs to ourself, and our marriage troubles out of sight.
There are private things. There are things just for the two of you, but when God created the Body of Christ, He also may as well have sent us a giant flashing red light that said, “You need each other!”
He knows we need others to build up our marriages, just as they build up our individual selves.
He knows we need safe and caring places and people to confide in, to get wisdom from, to turn us around, and to help us see our own sin in the matter.
He knows we need people who stand on the sidelines and pump us up for this wild marriage ride. People who will cheer us on as we get to mile five of the marriage marathon, and then will throw water in our face and yell at us to Never. Give. Up. at mile 23.
But all of this isn’t just common knowledge. Newlyweds need people in their lives to reach out and say it out loud –
Marriage is good. Marriage is hard.
They need people to open the conversation, and to keep it going, a safe space for advice and ideas, and someone to rip off that Band-aid of privacy even a little, so that encouragement can come in and heal.
Here are a few ideas for loving on and encouraging the newlyweds around you:
Be a marriage mentor, intentionally.
Mentors are a great idea, but we all tend to have a hard time finding them. Offer yourselves, not as an expert, but as a couple to walk alongside another couple. The difference between a mentor relationship from straight up friendship is that one person is more seasoned than the other and both parties are honest about that. Mentor relationships should involve a certain reciprocity, however. There is intentional love and intentional learning, in kindness and safety. Most people would love a mentor and have no idea who to ask. Offer yourself in humility and kindness, with genuine affection. Couples- seek mentors out. Just do it. Churches – consider creating a marriage mentor situation for couples who are newly married or in pre-marriage counseling.
Invite them to dinner
Take a newlywed couple out to eat or invite them into your home. Nothing creates good relationship like good food and good conversation. Love on them, literally. Shower them with a meal they probably can’t afford, show them what date night wow looks like, or feed them hearty food and hearty affection through your open door. Celebrate the good and the hard of marriage together.
What is marriage like for you?
What surprises you about marriage?
What differences do you see between yourself and your spouse? How are they helpful?
What is good about marriage for you?
What is hard about marriage for you?
Cook together or make freezer meals
Imagine if every newlywed couple in your church was invited by someone to make freezer meals – they leave with at least six meals, some good conversation, and a fuller heart. Or imagine that every newlywed couple from your church receives six meals with devotional cards attached and an encouragement to take it easy and just spend time together one night. This obviously could have nothing to do with “church” the organization. Find a newlywed in your life and love on them with some food prep.
Give them a surprise gift card for date night
Teach them confession and forgiveness
Ask them what they need and remember what you needed
More on all of this in the podcast, on the I Love My Shepherd podcast, episode 7, Ministry Moment: Loving on our newlyweds, linked below, or found on iTunes and Stitcher.
Do you have an idea to share? Please do so in the comments of this blog post. We’d love to hear your wisdom and suggestions!
Now, go to it! Loving on our newlyweds is a team effort.
Let’s rejoice in the good and hard of marriage together, every day.