I recently read an excellent article about marriage ministry by Todd Olthoff. He was passionate about marriage ministry in the church. He suggested that marriage ministry needs to be viewed as an integral part of the discipleship process at church rather than being something that falls outside the heart of church life. Perhaps, he suggests, this would help eliminate the temptation to compartmentalize our family life as separate from our spiritual life.
He also stresses the need for the church to encourage spouses to be the primary spiritual partners. Let me share an extended quote from the article:
“At a recent men’s retreat I had the opportunity to talk to the men about marriage. I asked how many of them wanted to see their character molded to look more like Jesus Christ’s. Of course every man was fired up from the retreat, so I got a resounding cheer of agreement. Then I asked them, “Why is it then that we go out and find a group of guys who don’t know anything about our wives or families and ask them to help us grow as we practice ‘controlled disclosure’ and only share what we know at some level is acceptable?” The group fell silent. Then I asked them when was the last time they asked their spouse where they needed to grow their character. I got a loud agonizing “Ohhhh” because each of them knew how real they would have to be and how painful true accountability is.
If we want to see couples in our church view marriage as vital to their spiritual health, we need to encourage them to see their spouse as their primary accountability partner and give them the tools they need to begin to help one another to grow to be more like Jesus Christ.”
Skyline’s marriage ministry has really impressed upon my heart the need for my wife to be a spiritual partner. Every once in a while there will be a day when Lourene and I can’t or don’t start our day together in prayer. I hate it when that happens. My day just doesn’t feel complete. If you don’t pray daily with your husband or wife, let me encourage you to begin today. There is nothing like it to join your hearts together in love.