15th June 2017
Yesterday morning I read a powerful article by Kay Warren. It is an open, honest and deeply moving account of the difficulties she and her husband Rick have encountered in their marriage. She does not shy away from describing the challenges they faced; nor does she underplay the hard work needed to ensure that their marriage did not stay in a place of pain and disappointment. Their determination to work at and build their relationship means that they can now say with certainty they are “the best thing that has ever happened to each other”.
I find myself wondering why testimonies such as this are so powerful. I believe it is because they are not afraid to say that marriage can be hard - that a happy, successful marriage does not happen by chance, but by each person being determined to work at the relationship. I believe that when a couple as successful and high profile as Kay and Rick Warren have the courage to share their story and admit that their relationship has not always been perfect, it gives the rest of us permission to admit that yes, we too have experienced challenges in our marriages. I believe it gives us courage and faith to work on our relationships and not live in denial if there are problems.
Like most young couples, Deb and I experienced difficulties in the early years of our marriage. We had challenges in our love life, our communication, how we dealt with conflict and the expectations we had each brought into the relationship. And over the course of nearly 28 years we have had to keep on talking, learning, growing, apologising and forgiving. It takes work – it does not just happen – but although it has been painful at times, it means that we too can say “we are the best thing that has ever happened to each other”.
Our years in pastoral ministry have confirmed that our experience is pretty normal – most couples will encounter challenges in marriage. It is with this in mind that Deb and I host a marriage enrichment seminar each year called Sex, Romance and God. The morning aims to help each of us understand and learn to love our partner better. This year, it is happening on Saturday 24th June, 9.45am to 1.00pm, at our Catford site - further details here. Whether you’ve been married for one month or several decades, the seminar is an excellent opportunity to invest in your marriage.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.