No Marriage Left Behind: Staying Connected to Your Church
- Monday, September 27, 2010
Editor's Note: Do you need sound, Biblically-based advice on an issue in your marriage or family? Dr. David will address questions from Crosswalk readers in his weekly column. Submit your question to him at: TheRelationshipDoctor@gmail.com.
Sitting in the crowded circus seats, my wife and I watched as the trapeze artists — three of them — flew through the air with the greatest of ease. So fantastic were their acrobatics, I barely noticed the net stretched out below.
While others maintained a keen focus on the acrobats, gasping with every twist and turn, leap and lunge, I mused on the safety net. As confident as these artists were in their skills, as talented and majestic as they were, they still felt a need for a safety net.
My musing led to further consideration of the safety net. I hadn't seen an acrobat fall, but suspected the net below gave them some measure of reassurance that should the worst happen, should the grip of a partner fail, there would be a something to catch them.
Continuing my reflection, I wondered if the church could provide that kind of safety net for couples. What if we were so connected, so intertwined, that no marriage could slip into trouble without other key people knowing about it? What if every couple knew if they were ever in trouble, if the grip of their partner ever failed, someone would be there to help them out?
I often consider the Scripture, "A chord of many strands cannot be broken." It suggests there is power and strength in gathering together with a common purpose. What if our purpose as Christians was to create a safety net for each and every couple in our congregation?
A recent email voiced concerns I have about this issue.
Dear Dr. David. My husband and I recently separated. My husband told me he needs space to think about his feelings for me and our marriage. While I'm frightened about the condition of our marriage, I'm disappointed in my church. At first people seemed to care about what was happening to us and then suddenly people stopped calling. I feel so alone as I face this uncertain time with my husband. I know I play a role in what is happening and need to reach out more to the caring people at my church, but I'm ashamed of our situation. I also think it would be so nice if people would reach out to me and help me save my marriage. Is there something I can do to have the church help me save my marriage?
I'm saddened when reading emails such as this one, knowing this woman represents thousands of others who fall between the cracks. Statistics indicate that couples losing their grip with each other often tragically fall out of the grasp and safety of their church.
While there are no simple answers to marital separation and divorce, I wonder what would happen if our churches functioned as the early church? Scripture paints a picture of the early church being a tightly woven group—a safety net: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." (Acts 2:44-47)
Can you imagine a gathering of people who gave to each other as they had need? I dream of a world where no marriage can slip away to become another tragic statistic. I envision a world where every couple feels connected, cared about and within a phone call of immediate and appropriate help. Perhaps that help simply takes the form of encouragement; perhaps it takes the form of a group of prayer warriors gathering for support, or simply a team of trained persons ready to come alongside us.
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