Reflect on one or two specific occasions when a Christian couple reached out to you and provided support, a “safe haven,” timely counsel or whatever was needed at the time. What did their willingness to include you in their home and relationship mean to you and your journey?

In what ways have you opened up your home (whether you are married or single) to provide such help along another person’s journey?

If your marriage is strong and you know of a couple in your parish experiencing difficulties, consider how you might embrace them more fully with your friendship and offer your home as a place to share, explore and seek perspective and support for their marriage. If you are experiencing difficulties, consider asking another couple in your parish for such support. Your pastor might have some ideas about whom to ask.

Consider teaming up with another couple and starting a marriage support group in your church or parish, if one does not already exist. Use the material in this section, if you wish, to present the group’s goals and philosophy to the congregation. Your pastor, Christian education director or local Christian bookstore can help you locate resources to get started leading such a group productively.

Together with your spouse, compile a list of the outreach and support ministries of your congregation and other local churches, as well as outreach ministries sponsored by your diocese or denomination. Add any relief or support needs of which you are aware that perhaps are not adequately addressed by existing ministries. Discuss together which draw out your interest and passion for ministry, try out a few, and discern together which one or two would best fit your strengths as a couple for long-term involvement.

Taken from Sacramental Life by David A. deSilva (c) 2008 by David A. deSilva. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove IL 60515-1426
David A. deSilva
is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. He is the author of a number of books, including An Introduction to the New Testament, Introducing the Apocrypha, and New Testament Themes. He is also an ordained pastor through the United Methodist Church.