Special thanks to Dr. Kim Kimberling, counselor and founder of Awesome Marriage, for this blog post. Find free resources from our partner Awesome Marriage on Open Network.
There’s a huge gap between God’s plan for marriage and the actual state of many unions today. Many couples in your pews, small groups, or even on your staff are struggling. The difference in divorce rate between Christian and non-Christian couples is negligible.
As pastors and church leaders, we have real, practical tools we can use to help the marriages in our churches grow stronger. Here are five ways you can improve the state of marriages in your church.
5 Ways to Help Marriages in Your Church
- Model a healthy marriage. As pastors and leaders, model a healthy marriage and be appropriately transparent with your attenders. As a Christian counselor, I know that I have to be open and honest about my marriage both in the counseling room and through all of our Awesome Marriage platforms. People need to know that I’m not perfect and don’t have a perfect marriage, but that I’m committed to ‘practicing what I preach’ and building a marriage that’s Christ-centered. And the same is true for you. The good news is that where we lack, God does not. We can come to the Creator of marriage and find solutions that work in the midst of our trials or disappointments. Need help strengthening your own marriage? Read “Putting Your Spouse Above Ministry.”
- Lead with love not judgement. Couples who need help with their marriages are very cautious of seeking help because they don’t want to be judged. Our first goal as the Church must be to show God’s love and grace. Meet any conversations with sensitivity, respect, and grace.
- Highlight the root cause. Very few couples take the time to analyze how the family they grew up in affects their marriage today. How they communicate, handle conflict, parent, pursue God, and view sex is heavily influenced by family. As the church we need to provide resources that help them break unhealthy cycles and learn healthy ways to work through marital differences.
- Combat culture. At its core, the things Christian couples struggle with have not changed that much over the years. What has changed is culture and how those issues are dealt with. For example, financial problems are a consistent issue for many couples. People seem to either be spenders or savers, and how that mixes in a couple’s marriage can create strife and frustration. To make matters worse, debt has become more culturally acceptable. As pastors and leaders, we must lead families to embrace God’s standards and values. View free sermons, outlines, and graphics for series that tackle cultural issues like Outlasters, Different, Weird, and Making Change.
- Encourage them to seek God together. When couples put God first and their spouse second, transformation happens. As they seek God, they begin to focus less on themselves and more on living a life that puts others first. They learn to embrace each other’s differences and to value each other as a gift from God. Tell your attenders about Plans with Friends, a feature in the YouVersion Bible App that allows them read Bible plans together. Download Putting God First In Your Marriage and view Dr. Kim’s marriage plans on the YouVersion Bible App.
Get More Resources from Dr. Kim
Want more helpful tips from Dr. Kim? Dr. Kim was live with us on Facebook recently to talk about handling tough pastoral conversations.
Visit the Awesome Marriage partner page and get dozens of marriage small group resources like “7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage,” “Preparing for Marriage,” and “Conflict Resolution,” all free on Open Network.
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