HOW TO CHAMPION MARRIAGE
Have you thought about how to champion marriage in your church? How are you championing your own marriage? Not everyone in your church is married, but everyone in your church is affected by healthy or unhealthy marriages. What if you as a couple or your church added an element of marriage enrichment each year to champion marriage? Here are some strategies to help you nurture your own marriage and make an impact in the lives of couples . . .
- PRAY: Encourage couples to pray for and with their spouse. Schedule monthly prayer for married couples in your church during a morning worship service. Pair up older couples to pray for younger couples. Have you prayed for your spouse today? Have you prayed for couples in your church? Why not pause and pray right now?
- ATTEND: One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to attend church with your spouse. Bradley Wright indicates that the divorce rate among all Christians is 41% but the divorce rate among all Christians who attend church once a week or more is only 32%. Being engaged regularly in church provides some stability and spiritual health for your marriage.
- DATE: Date your spouse consistently. Your church can provide a date night with free child care for couples. Be intentional about your conversations during your date night. Dating your spouse regularly provides an opportunity to rekindle your relationship and continue nurturing your marriage.
- DISCOVER: Most couples have a limited knowledge of what the Bible says regarding marriage. Download 31 Key Scriptures on Marriage and discover what God’s Word says. Memorize a few of these key verses.
- READ: Commit to read a book on marriage each year. Some churches have a church library that could provide couples with a variety of marriage enrichment books for couples to check out and read together. Provide free books for couples to read in February.
- PREACH: One church strategically shares a Sunday morning message on marriage once a month. While most pastors won’t preach on marriage that frequently, it is vital to preach on marriage. A marriage series works well during February or within a family series between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
- TEACH: There are a variety of great marriage studies that you or your church can use to encourage and equip marriages by inserting a topical marriage series during Sunday school, Discipleship training, or a Wednesday night gathering. Encourage couples to attend with their spouse. Utilize a marriage topical series as an outreach tool or a way to get new people engaged in Sunday school or a small group.
- DATE NIGHT OR RETREAT: Plan a marriage date night or a marriage retreat for couples in your church. Attend a marriage retreat with your spouse each year. Consider planning a retreat on site at your church one year and then a retreat off site the next year. The Evangelism and Church Health Team regularly leads date nights and marriage retreats for local churches.
- BUDGET: When was the last time your church invested in the marriage of your pastor or staff? Bless those who lead in your church by budgeting for their marriage enrichment on a periodic basis. LifeWay hosts several Marriage Getaways each year. These marriage retreats are open to any couple to attend.
- COVENANT: A covenant marriage in Arkansas requires premarital counseling and lays a foundation that helps prevent divorce. Does your church require covenant marriages? Utilize this time in February to examine your church marriage policies and make some strategic adjustments that provide the opportunity for couples to have healthier marriage after the wedding day.
- CHECKUP: We know it’s important to get a yearly physical with our medical doctor but when was the last time you had a checkup on your marriage relationship? Purchase the book, “The Couple Checkup” by David Olson and you also get the opportunity to complete the Couple Checkup online assessment which will provide a couple with results of their strength and growth areas in their relationship.
- PREPARE: One of the best things churches can do is help couples prepare for marriage by providing and requiring premarital counseling before couples get married in their church. The Evangelism and Church Health Team provides Prepare-Enrich Training each year to help pastors, staff, and lay people provide quality premarital counseling.
- COUNSEL: Many couples struggle and need some specialized attention and help to enable them to repair their relationship for long-term relational health. There are a variety of Christian counselors available around the state to help couples.
- CELEBRATE: Last September my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their church schedules a time each year to celebrate with couples who have reached their 50 year wedding anniversary. I have 30 more years before I celebrate my 50th anniversary but I was encouraged and challenged by the example of those faithful couples. Honoring couples in your church will help emphasize the importance of staying committed to one’s marriage covenant.
What steps will you take this year to champion your own marriage and marriages in your church? Start you’re your own marriage first and then help other couples. Don’t implement all these ideas at once but strategically add specific elements gradually over time for long-term impact. Healthy relationships lay the foundation to produce healthier home environments and provide for a healthier church culture. If you need help or additional ideas related to marriage ministry, then please contact the Evangelism and Church Health Team.
Ben Phillips has been married to his wife for 22 years and enjoys engaging churches to help couples strengthen marriage relationships. He serves on the Church Health Team for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.