The Healthy Church Hub

How can you create a healthier marriage? In this episode, we talk with Ted Lowe, speaker, author, and founder of, about how to cultivate emotional, mental, and spiritual health within your marriage and help you be a better leader both in your marriage and in your ministry. 

A Common Trait of Healthy Marriages

No marriage is perfect, but there are common traits within every healthy marriage.

One thing most healthy couples do differently than unhealthy couples is that they think differently. Our thoughts are not our actions or attitudes, but often our thoughts lead to both and can impact how you treat your spouse.

When observing a happy marriage, it’s easy to see how someone may feel about their spouse. You can see it by how they talk about the other person, the tone of their voice, and even the expression on their face. The overflow of our actions and attitudes often begins with our thought life and reflects how we feel.

The Power of Mental Health within Marriages

Every thought you think isn’t always true. Have you ever considered that? It can be challenging to discern the voices in your head from the voice of God, but it’s essential to know the truth when speaking to yourself. When you have a healthy thought life, it changes how you think about yourself and your spouse.

When we don’t have the correct view of our spouse, it can be easy to go down a negative path. You can begin to create a narrative about your spouse that isn’t true and begin to believe the worst about them.

One way to help correct negative thinking is to put Philippians 4:8 to the test and consider what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable about your spouse. When we begin to believe the best about our spouse, it helps reframe who they are and what we know to be true. Another way is by spending time with God. Spending time with God encourages you to love your spouse in a way you could never love them on your own. Following God’s Word and His way gives us a framework to love and serve the way Jesus did. When we do this, we can reconcile and forgive our spouse because we understand God’s grace and forgiveness toward us more. We can love deeper because we know the depth of Christ’s love for us. And we can continue to grow and be unified in our marriage from God’s strength and not our own. 

Our minds are powerful, and our thoughts can drive us. However, by marrying mental health with biblical truth, we can see that we don’t have to give emotional energy to unproven realities. Instead, we can continue to use God’s Word to help us know what is true and stay the course toward a healthier marriage.

Red Flags When a Marriage is Unhealthy

We all desire healthy marriages, but what makes a marriage healthy? Here are some red flags and ways to fight them.

Red Flags:

  1. Isolating and not having others to support you.
  2. Loving your ministry more than your family.
  3. Spending more time at the church than at home.
  4. Forgetting to follow the example of Christ and the Church.
  5. Not setting boundaries when it comes to your ministry and your marriage.

How to Fight Red Flags:

  1. Surround yourself with people who have healthy marriages. This posturing will help you learn and grow to have a healthy marriage.
  2. Make your family your first ministry. Choose to love your spouse and your kids more than you love your ministry.
  3. Be intentional about spending time at home. Be more deliberate and passionate about your family than you are about your ministry. 
  4. Reflect the love of Christ. If marriage is supposed to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church, then the purpose of marriage is to reflect the love of Jesus. Nobody’s marriage needs to do that more than those in ministry.
  5. Set boundaries. Identify boundaries to prioritize your marriage over your ministry responsibilities. One day we will all be irrelevant within the church, but we will never be irrelevant at home.

No marriage should be sacrificed on the altar of our ministry. Instead, as church leaders, we should be the first to give an example of the work it takes to fight for our marriages. It’s not easy, but with the help from those around you, you can stay the course and maintain health in your relationships.

Three Practical Ways to Maintain Healthy Boundaries

  1. Figure out times to practice the sabbath with your family. Even if it’s not the traditional weekend days due to your ministry responsibilities, consider how you can take time off to be with your family.
  2. Take some time to go away with your spouse once a year. Spending quality time together away from kids and responsibilities will allow you to reconnect and strengthen your relationship.
  3. Be intentional about asking hard questions. For example, ask your spouse if they have any feedback on your current pace of life or your choices regarding ministry that makes them feel unloved or second place. Be sure to receive the information and not get defensive.

Keep communications and expectations clear when it comes to creating healthy boundaries. Your time is important, and how you prioritize your time says a lot to your spouse and your family. Practicing boundaries will help you become a healthier leader and will overflow to your work, your family, and your coworkers.

Marriage Support in the Church:

Although marriage ministries may not be feasible for every church, we need to pause and remind people that creating healthy marriages within a congregation is essential and urgent.

Often when a couple is in crisis and comes to seek help from the church, it’s too late, and they no longer want to put in the effort and work to fight for their marriage. So, while we can still help them, we also need to consider how we can best help those who are teachable and still want to work on their marriage. So, here are a few ideas for being proactive even if you cannot start a full marriage ministry.

  1. Plan a date night
  2. Organize a couples retreat
  3. Create married community groups
  4. Provide marriage resources and blogs

This part of proactive marriage ministry isn’t emotional or measurable, so it’s difficult to see if it’s successful. Stay the course and keep in mind that you may not hear success stories until heaven because we don’t know what we’ve helped prevent. Trust that God is using your every effort and time to save and help strengthen marriages.

One Essential Component of a Healthy Church

One key component of a healthy church is to have healthy marriages in the church. As a leader, you must take care of your marriage. When your marriage feels off, everything else feels off, too – what you do, your relationships, and your priorities. When a leader takes care of their marriage, it overflows into every other area of their life and impacts those around them. One crucial part of this is having other leaders around you to help support you and keep you accountable. As leaders rally around each other and champion marriages, we will all grow to create a healthy church filled with healthy marriages.

Links from the show:

Connect with Ted Lowe:
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website | RightNow Media

Connect with Married People:
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Resources mentioned:

Book: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Book: Us in Mind: How Thoughts Can Change Your Marriage by Ted Lowe
Music: How You Love Me by Patrick Mayberry
Tech: Pause App