It was the last session of a marriage class we were taking at our church. I grabbed yet another cup of coffee and hid my nervous hands in my lap under the table. No matter how many times we’d been in that room, it still made me nervous. The hubby was actually engaged in conversation with the other couples in our group. I was just ready to finish. By the grace of God, we made it.
The class leader got up to make an announcement. “We are looking for more couples to lead the small groups. Let us know if you are interested.”
The leader of our group pointed at us. “Us?”
We looked at each other and laughed. We were just starting to live together again after being separated for a few months. We’d been through intensive counseling sessions, an expensive couples retreat, recovery ministry, and read all the books we could find. We were just beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to be married. Now they wanted us to tell others the way to happily ever after? We barely had a marriage. We said we would pray about it, but doubted we were ready or if God could even use us.
We often believe our marriage must be perfect before we begin dishing out advice (which is really not what it’s all about). We have this misconception that couples in marriage ministry pull couples aside, tell them all the things they are doing wrong then send them on their way to fix their marriage. Before you make a decision about serving in marriage ministry, let me debunk some myths for you.
Myth #1 Marriage ministry is about giving advice. As I mentioned above, giving advice is not really what it’s all about. It’s about modeling the attributes of a healthy marriage. It’s about listening. It’s about giving others hope and helping them decide not to give up. Most marriage classes are not set up like counseling sessions, so you’ll be going through the materials along with everyone else.
Myth #2 Marriage ministry leaders are all recovering from difficult marriages. Although many couples in marriage ministry have weathered many storms together, this is not always the case. Many couples with healthy, great marriages simply want to help other couples. You may not have been through something as difficult as infidelity or divorce, but all marriages have rough patches. Every couple has helpful lessons to share.
Myth #3 Marriage ministry will take us away from our family all the time. I know many couples involved in marriage ministry with several young children and full time jobs. It may be difficult to balance, but it’s not impossible. They are highly involved in their children’s activities and they make time to serve others. Modeling service to others will benefit your kids more than you will ever know.
There is a couple waiting to hear your story. They need hope and encouragement. They need to know it’s okay to want to give up, but they don’t have to. If God is telling you to help other couples, do it.
Is there an area of ministry you know you need to serve in, but you keep making excuses not to?