Hallmark cards and chocolates don’t make great marriages. We believe the love of God does. If the Church is about equipping the saints, we ought to be about equipping married people (and people who want to be married) to love better.
Here are 7 ideas for investing in your church’s marriages this year. And none of them involve a Valentine’s Day banquet. You’re welcome.
- Enlist the help of several couples with strong marriages to write a blog on marriage topics throughout the year.
Include couples who have been married only a few years and couples who have hit the major milestones. Ask them to share honest stories and perspectives that will encourage other couples. Promote the blog regularly! Mention it as a resource in pre-marriage counseling. Use the stories it highlights in your Sunday messages. There’s a wealth of wisdom in the marriages in your church.
- Every week, share articles, videos and resources on marriage via your social media channels.
I feel like churches have gotten a little too hung up on the idea of a “series.” Your church members are spouses all year long. Think about how you can be equipping them all year long.
- Care for your singles.
I remember Valentine’s Day being dubbed “Single Awareness Day” by friends in college. Recognize that many young adults are in a lonely season of life. I’m a big fan of creating young adult groups that actually do ministry together, rather than singles groups who just gather for coffee and to check each other out.
- Invest in your staff’s marriages.
Remember their anniversaries and give them a gift card for a great dinner or weekend getaway when it comes.
- Prioritize your marriage above all other relationships.
This should be a given for pastors. But it’s not. Your church is watching you and will assume your marriage is a good model for them to imitate. Take that very seriously.
- Plan a marriage series each year and don’t teach the whole thing yourself.
Everyone’s relationships are different; multiple perspectives are good. I once listened to a marriage series, and after hearing story after story about the challenges the pastor and his wife faced, I just remember feeling like I couldn’t relate. My relationship wasn’t at all like that pastor’s. It’s also a good idea to involve a woman in the teaching or creative process if at all possible. (It doesn’t have to be the pastor’s wife.) Women and men experience marriage very differently, and a woman can help communicate things that only a woman will understand.
- Dispel cultural myths about what love and romance is.
Use clips from TV shows and movies; reference popular books and even video games. (Do you know how some of the most popular games portray women? Yikes.) Our culture is not timid about pushing its views of love and marriage, and as the Church, it’s our job to help people navigate the truth from lies.
Do you have other ideas that have helped you build healthy relationships in your church?
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