Church Leadership Lab is a podcast that seeks to empower healthy churches. Through conversations, interviews, and stories, we explore what's happening in ministry today and how pastors and leaders can navigate what lies ahead.
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How can you create a healthier marriage? In this episode, we talk with Ted Lowe, speaker, author, and founder of Marriedpeople.org, 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.
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.
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.
We all desire healthy marriages, but what makes a marriage healthy? Here are some red flags and ways to fight them.
How to Fight Red Flags:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.