My wife and I have been doing groups for a while now. Marriage group is currently our main focus for about 3 years. We have found that it is usually a lack of fundamentals that is missing in the marriage. Please do not take it as me pointing out something that should be so obvious that I can not possibly understand why people do not do them. I do not believe that it is a lack of speaking about it either. I do however believe it is the lack of showing that it is possible.
I like to read. I even like to read manuals. The problem I encounter with manuals is that no matter how many times I read a manual I can not fully grasp the concept until either someone physically shows me or I attempt it myself. If I attempt it myself it is guaranteed that I will make many mistakes, and eventually get it right or at least good enough. I say good enough because how do I know it is not good unless I have a standard? If someone else shows me they usually show me what mistakes are common and eventually how and why something is right. This brings us to marriage.
Usually a couple coming into our group are having a terrible time in their marriage. We have had times when we were told our group was the last try at their marriage. Talk about pressure (if we thought we were in control, right?) Here is a short list of what we ask couples:
1. Do you read your Bible daily?
2. Do you pray daily?
3. Do you set aside time to read and study your Bible together?
4. Do you pray for each other and over each other?
These questions are important not to judge where people are but to guide them to where they need to go. Let's take each one and dissect them.
1. Do you read your Bible daily? I ask people how do you know what God wants in your marriage if you do not read the Word? Usually I'll jest with the husband while I say you do know in the bible it says that wives are suppose to submit to their husbands. While they are saying things like see even God agrees with me I ask them to turn to Ephesians 5:25.
2. Do you pray daily? Praying is our way of communicating with God. I would like to say so much more, but I'll leave that for another time.
3. Do you set aside time to read and study your Bible together? Now usually they know they should be doing the last 2, but admit that they just do not because of (insert excuses here). This question though is usually not done for entirely different reasons. Most of the time it is because they do not feel worthy. I remember that when I first started reading with my wife I could not do it because she knew who I was. It seems like that would be a good thing, but I could not get past that she knew I was unworthy. I had to forget who I was and live in who God was making me. I have to admit it took a long time.
4. Do you pray for each other and over each other? This usually has the same issues as the last question. At the end of every night we pray to end our group, but particularly on nights when we know that a couple does not pray together we make it a point to end as couples praying together. Usually a lot of tears are shed those nights.
We do not simply just speak about what to do, but act it out together. We even have couples comment on how easy we make it seem. We always make sure that everyone knows that we started with the same feelings they do, but God has changed who we are together. We are definitely not perfect but God is definitely working on us. I pray that in some small way this may help someone as a lot of sermons have helped me from this site.