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9th February 2017

Building a Marriage

One of the greatest challenges of leading a large church is coping with the sheer volume of pastoral news. In any given week, I will hear about numerous situations among our community at King’s, some good and perhaps a cause for celebration, others more difficult and occasionally tragic. Just yesterday, I congratulated friends on the safe arrival of a grandchild, received an email telling me that a young man has lost his faith and had a discussion in our elders’ meeting around the complexities of trying to help the many new people joining us who are struggling with relationship breakdown.

By far the biggest presenting problem on the King’s pastoral list is couples with marriages under pressure, particularly those in cross-cultural marriages. It is one of the reasons Deb and I continue to take part in leading our Marriage Course each year, and why I regularly address the subject of marriage on Sundays. I am very fortunate to be married to the love of my life, and as the years go by (we have been married nearly 28 years) we are enjoying and appreciating one another more and more. But one thing I know: a marriage is built over years. Tim and Kathy Keller, in their outstanding book, The Meaning of Marriage, describe the marriage relationship as “a deep oneness that develops when two people, speaking the truth in love to one another, journey together to the same horizon.” A healthy marriage does not just happen by chance, but is the result of intentionally learning how to communicate well and to understand and appreciate your differences. As I said on Sunday, sometimes you have to sit down together and talk things through.

Pastors and spouses face additional challenges with the blur of boundaries between work, church and friendship. That is why we take all our elders, pastors and senior operational team away for a weekend once a year, so that we can invest in this fantastic group of people. We held our most recent weekend just recently and on this occasion, Brian and Jo Watts gave us a masterclass in how differing personalities impact communication in marriage, through the lens of Myers-Briggs. To those of you who know the Myers-Briggs model, I am an ESTJ married to an INFP – definitely a case of opposites attracting! Understanding these differences in our personalities has helped us hugely in our marriage.

If you are married, I would like to encourage you to do The Marriage Course, a series of eight sessions, plus one Saturday morning seminar, designed to help any married couple strengthen their relationship. Each evening consists of a romantic meal for two, a short talk on subjects such as Communication, Handling Conflict and Good Sex, and time to discuss as a couple. There is no group discussion, and you do not need to disclose anything about your relationship to anyone else. We will be running our next course at King’s after Easter and details will be available nearer the time. And if you are not yet married but are dating, engaged or perhaps living together, I would highly recommend our one-day seminar Relationship Matters, designed to help couples build a strong relationship based on Biblical principles. Our next course is on Saturday 8th April on the Downham site.

Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert

Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. The church has seen continued growth since the mid-1990s, both in terms of size and diversity.

As well as leading King’s, Steve hosts and leads Newfrontiers, a fellowship of apostolic leaders with hundreds of churches around the world.

Steve is married to Deb. They have three grown up sons and one grandson.

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