I’m in the process of writing the manuscript for my premarried book, Ready Or Knot?: Questions to Answer Before Tying the Knot. One of the main components of the book features interviews with other couples who either prepared well for marriage or who have marriages I believe others should emulate. I’m meeting with and interviewing couples about whom I can say, ‘follow them as they follow Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
One of the couples I interviewed reminded me of something powerful they did as a premarried couple. As part of their marriage prep, this couple reached out to around 10 different married couples to learn from them. They asked each couple the same set of questions:
- How did you meet?
- What was your dating to engagement story?
- What does dating in marriage look like? And what are you doing to continue to pursue each other?
- What do you do really well?
- What’s hard in your marriage right now and what are you working on?
- What kind of marriage do you have? How would you describe/characterize your marriage?
Essentially they asked these married couples, “You’re the experts—what do you think we should know?”
My friends took a humble, teachable posture to their relationship. They took notes when the married couples responded, and applied to their own relationship what they learned. They had a GREAT premarried relationship but wanted to maximize their learning. I walked away from my interview with them humbled and challenged by their intentional efforts to learn and grow. I often say teachability is the characteristic that distinguishes the good couples from the great ones.
My second reminder to be humble and teachable came a few weeks ago. Watermark’s Lead Pastor, Todd Wagner, asked our church staff what lessons we’ve learned about communication and conflict resolution over the years. Our senior staff shared some incredible lessons they’ve learned over the years. The best lesson I’ve learned about communication and conflict resolution is the power of humility and the blessing of being teachable and learning from others. In 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6, Peter and James write the same thing: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
As I reflected upon my friend’s questions and Peter and James’ counsel to be humble, I found myself convicted. I had to ask myself a question I often ask others: “What are you doing, right now, to grow your marriage? How are you demonstrating a teachable spirit in marriage?”
During this busy season of writing, fall sports, and back to school, I’ve allowed our marriage to coast on autopilot. We’re doing great and enjoying married and parent life, but we’re not as intentional in our growth as I’d like for us to be as a couple. So today I write for my marriage even more than I do for your marriage!
- What are you doing to intentionally grow your marriage?
- What couples are you learning from? Do you meet with a mentor couple or with peers? (A few weeks ago I shared about the power of wounds from friends.)
- Are you having fun together as a couple? Any good date nights?
- What books are you reading and what are you doing together as a couple to grow your marriage? Here are a few books I’d suggest checking out:
- Cherish, by Gary Thomas – I’m recommending this one to pretty much any and every couple. Here’s my review of Thomas’ book.
- The Mingling of Souls, by Matt & Lauren Chandler – Great exposition of relationships through the Song of Solomon. Here’s my review of Chandler’s book.
- Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit, by Ryan & Selena Frederick of Fierce Marriage – I haven’t read through these yet, but knowing Ryan and Selena, they will be great!
- I just compiled a comprehensive list of resources the marriage team at Watermark recommends. Check it out! (I also have a list on my site, but I need to redo it with my new site redesign).
- What podcasts are you listening to that help you grow? Any marriage sermons/series? Here are a few I’d recommend checking out:
- The Fierce Marriage Podcast. I love these guys! (5 episodes so far).
- The Married People Podcast from my friend Ted Lowe. Like the Fierce Marriage podcast, this one is also relatively new (11 episodes so far).
- My old church in Atlanta, North Point Community Church, is doing a married series called What Happy Couples Know. Check it out.
- If you’re on the premarried side, The Porch, an incredible young adult ministry at my church, just wrapped up a dating series called First Comes Love. They did a great job! Check out any one of the messages in this series.
- Are you on mission together? Serving together as a couple?
My manuscript is due on November 1, and I look forward to upping my marriage game as soon as we make it through this season. I get the privilege of taking small steps now to grow my marriage and look forward to some bigger steps Kristen and I can take together in a few weeks.
- Very simple today: Discuss this post and answer the questions above with your significant other.
- What can we learn from you? Please share any responses below, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
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