This month’s couple devotional is focused on the responsibilities of marriage and, in particular, the thriving marriage trait of community.

Pray

Begin your devotional by praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.

Assess

Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together.

Community:
Thriving couples realize that they need to be moving in a positive direction with other like-minded couples. They connect regularly with other couples for spiritual motivation and growth. They also recognize their responsibility in helping other couples to thrive and practically reach out to other couples with tangible assistance.

On a scale of 1-10, (1 = low, 10 = high) how are you doing in regards to connecting with other couples?

As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?

Read

Read the following Bible passages.

  • Acts 2:42-47
  • Ephesians 4:11-16
  • Romans 12:10
  • Matthew 26:38
  • Hebrews 3:13
  • Reflect

    Athletes get it. They find it motivating to hang out with other athletes. Hockey players hang out with other hockey players, tennis players hang out with other tennis players. Runners hang out with other runners. Chess players . . . well, you get the picture.

    Why is this? Because spending quality time with like-minded people keeps them focused on their game and sharpens their perspective. They have a certain lingo that they intuitively understand. They share successes and failures and give tips to one another. In short, the motivation for them to do well increases as they spend time with like-minded people moving in the same direction and with the same values.

    The marital parallel is easy to see. If a couple wants to run the marriage race well, they need to develop meaningful relationships with other couples who are moving in a positive direction. That doesn’t in any way mean that they snub those who are single. But if a Christian couple wants to move forward in their marriage, it is very helpful that they are connected to a church family. More specifically, that they have meaningful relationships with a small group of Christian couples in that church. When one has close relationships with other Christian couples, they can pray together and share together. They can discuss spiritual things together and can help each other learn certain principles that can be of great benefit to their marriage. They can encourage each other as they see each other making progress in their marriage. They can challenge each other as they see danger signs. They can both cry and laugh with one another.

    Some couples prefer the "Lone Ranger" approach, but that is neither Biblical nor effective. When couples are in isolation, they can easily assume their dysfunction is normal. If a couple does not have close relationships with other couples, it is much easier for them to throw in the towel.

    Take another look at Acts 2:42-47. Although written generally about the whole church, think about how those principles could be applied to your meaningful friendships with other couples. This is a beautiful picture of a Biblically functioning community, one that functioned the way Jesus wanted His followers to function. It was a powerful and compelling community. Notice several things about this kind of community:

  • They joined with the other believers.
  • They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
  • They devoted themselves to fellowship.
  • They devoted themselves to sharing in the Lord’s supper.
  • They devoted themselves to prayer.
  • Look at the other phrases in this description. They shared together, worshipped together, sold their possessions, gave to one another and shared meals together. This was a tight community, one that lived out the values that Jesus taught. And note that the unity and community of this church was so compelling that people in that area became Christians every day. People saw the love in action and were drawn to God because of it.

    Wouldn’t you just love to be a part of that kind of community with other married couples? Can you imagine the encouragement you would receive in your marriage if you were devoted to other couples in this way? But this kind of community doesn’t happen by accident. It happens as you grab hold of this vision and work hard to make it become a reality.

    Discuss

    1. As you reflect upon these principles from God’s Word, what do you sense the Spirit of God wants you to understand?
    2. If you are a part of a small group with other couples, how has that helped you in your marriage?
    3. If you are not part of a small group with other couples, how could you take initiative to see that happen?
    4. Is there another couple you know of who could really use your friendship and support? If God has done some good things in your marriage, pay it forward and help another couple. Ask God who He wants you to reach out to.

    Going deeper

    1. Make a list of three couples that you think would be cool to hang out with. Invite them all over for a potluck dinner party at your place sometime this month.
    2. If you are part of a small group at your church, suggest that the group study a marriage theme for a few weeks.
    3. If you are not part of a small group at your church, talk to your minister and ask them how you can connect with other couples moving in a positive direction.

    Pray

    Take a few moments to listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas in your marriage.


    Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.

    © 2013 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.  

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