I’m going to tell you the story of Jack and Jill. (Not their real names, and they don’t live on a hill).
On our RV trip (fall-2015 to summer-2016) we visited the church Jack and Jill attend. After the service during a time of sharing, Jack seemed eager to be the first to speak. He said he wanted to let everyone know “we are back in one house” – which was well received. He said they had a long way to go, and asked for continued prayer. We later learned this couple had been living apart for some time while they both dealt with their own issues.
During our last trip around the country this spring and summer, we were close enough to Jack and Jill to go by and see them. We spent some time in their living room asking them about their experience. This was no recently wed couple – they had to be close to 20 years together. Some months before our first visit, their problems had reached a crisis point, and the church leadership stepped in to help. They found someone to take Jack in so the family wouldn’t take a financial hit from him having to get an apartment. They encouraged both spouses to get help, and did a good deal to point them in the right direction and provided some financial help.
The most radical thing they did was call the couple to the front during a service and tell the congregation of the temporary split and encourage prayers. I love this because it made it public and did a lot to limit gossip and speculation. It made a marriage in trouble something to fight for, and it set the expectation that it would work out.
Jack said he got calls from many married men in the church, offering prayers, moral support, and a willingness to spend time together. There was no shaming or cold shoulder, people cared and went out of their way to show they cared. Jill was treated the same way.
One thing that stood out to me was Jill said she really trusted the leadership of the church before all this happened. Jack felt similarly. They felt the leaders had spiritual authority in their lives and they trusted God to work through them. This allowed them to trust what was said and done by the leadership even when it felt difficult. In retrospect, they don’t feel everything that was done was perfect, but they see God’s hand in it.
Jack and Jill told us some of their individual problems that had contributed to the marriage difficulties, and how they had and were continuing to work on those things. Both understood how their spouse’s “stuff” had hurt the marriage, but each was focused on dealing with their own stuff and trusting their spouse to do the same. I know they were encouraged on this path by their church, and I know their church would speak up if they saw either become too focused on what the other was or wasn’t doing.
From where I sit, Jack and Jill are married and growing because of their church. In another church, the odds are they would be divorced or permanently separated. Their current situation shows divorce wasn’t inevitable for them.
I hope this story shows us all how powerful community and friendship can be. And, if you’re a leader in your church, I hope this inspires you and causes you to ask if your church could or would have done what was necessary to help this couple save their marriage.
Article from: The Generous Husband, by The Generous Husband
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