When you walk through a storm, Hold your head up high, And don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of a storm, There’s a golden sky, And the sweet silver song of a lark, Walk on through the wind, Walk on through the rain.
Though your dreams be tossed and blown, Walk on, walk on. With hope in your heart, And you’ll never walk alone. You’ll never walk alone – Liverpool Anthem.
I have a group of lovely lady friends. We meet once a month where we get to study a book together and share our experiences. We have been doing this for more than five years now and it is an amazing journey. We recently met and were discussing how sad it is that the high rate of separation or divorce does not shock most of us nowadays, not even to the Christians. It was a little scary and a little humbling to imagine that we too may form part of the statistics, a reality that sobered our discussions. There are many cases around us. What could the reason be? Was lack of accountability among married couples a contributing factor? Do people feel alone when going through issues?
I remember when we had our first major fight with my husband (though I can’t quite remember what the fight was all about). I thought my world had come to an end. No one had prepared me for this part of relationships. I knew that the best thing for me would be to pack my bags and leave. I remember packing a few of my clothes so that I would not go back to my matrimonial home. I put the suitcase in the boot of the car and off we (yes, both of us) went to work. He had the car. I had no place to go to and therefore after work, I saw it fit to go back home that evening. And the next. And the next. After two weeks, my husband came to the house with the suitcase that I’d left in the car and told me, ‘I guess you’re not going anywhere and won’t be needing the suitcase.’
We went for our marriage enrichment group meeting after a few days. I was charged to read the riot act on my husband. I thought that our situation was unique, after all I’d seen couples around me looking so lovely together. We must be the mad ones, the ones who don’t get it, I thought to myself. I wanted to be out of this mess. When we got to meet with our friends and share our struggles, some laughed (coz they thought the issue was funny); others wondered what the big deal was coz they do fight. We were encouraged to listen to each other and know that we are not alone. Couples disagree. It is fine. What matters is how you handle the issues at hand.
We have been part of the marriage enrichment group for a number of years. What I love about the group are the friendships we have formed, sound advice we get, and encouragement to soldier on because our aim is to see our marriages thrive. We want to do marriage God’s way and need to be cognizant of the following: not everyone wants the best for you (listen to some advice out there and you will agree with me); the enemy does not want marriages to thrive because they form the foundation for families the way God intended; you can easily be distracted and consumed with how you aren’t getting what you want and miss out on the bigger picture.
That is why this group is really important for us. We know we are meeting with people who have our best interests at heart. We ask each other tough questions. We rebuke each other in love. We pray for each other. We study books together to build our marriages. We do life together, celebrating the milestones in our lives. If you raise an issue in the group, you are guaranteed to get the perspective of both men and women and see things through the lenses of the other.
It will take a level of VULNERABILITY to allow people access to areas that you would rather keep to yourself. It will take TRUST to allow others to be part of your marriage walk. In such a group, you have to maintain high levels of CONFIDENTIALITY because people are sharing personal aspects about their lives. Your PERIMETER OF VALUES as a group must be aligned.
One may wonder how such forums are supported by scriptures.
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance. Proverbs 27:17.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24–25
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16.
I would like to encourage those who are dating and in marriages to consider and look for such groups of people that desire to make marriages work. Ask God to guide and lead you to such people. Know that when storms come your way, you are not alone. Walk with those who have walked or are walking that journey.
A marriage is like a house. When a light bulb goes out, you do not go and buy a new house, you fix the light bulb. – Happy Wives Club