When my husband and I got married, we definitely got married with the whole, ‘till death do we part, in mind. I wanted him to be the only man to accompany me on all the date nights forever and ever, amen. While I knew that our marriage wasn’t going to be filled with cake pops and sprinkles, I thought that we would be prepared to tackle any and everything on our own! I definitely underestimated exactly how wonderful outside resources would be for our marriage.
Marriage is the deepest level of commitment that we can have with another person, and it takes a constant level of attention and intention to thrive. Sometimes, we need the help and support of those around us to cover us, lift us up in prayer, and minister to us.
My husband and I have seen lows and highs in our marriage and I am so thankful that we had (and still have, ‘cus let’s be honest, we still use quite a few of these) resources available to us, and that we were open to using them. Whether it’s been a book, blog, video, or podcast, my husband and I have personally used each of these resources, together and separately, to strengthen our union.
Wanting resources for your marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re struggling in any area or that you’re on the brink of divorce! You could simply want to encourage a part of your marriage that has been going well and you want it to be better, or you want to find a new way to do things. There should be no shame attached to getting the support you need for your marriage.
Marriage is such a sweet reflection of Christ and his church and it is so worth the time and effort to seek out. We need support, counsel, prayers, and encouragement from others if we are going to have successful marriages! Here are 10 resources that have helped my marriage. I pray that from this list, you and your spouse can get the wisdom and insight to make your marriage as wonderful as it can be
1. Francis & Lisa Chan’s “You and Me Forever”
Before my husband and I got married, we went to the Christian Bookstore and found You and Me Forever while we were perusing through the aisles. We bought two copies, would read it on our own time, and then discuss and fill out the questionnaires at the end of the chapters together. We both loved this book because it was practical and highlighted the fact that our marriage was not about us. Something magical happens when you stop thinking about your marriage as something that is supposed to make you or your spouse happy, and you begin to view it as a worship unto the Lord. This is a resource that we still frequent two and a half years later!
Find out more about their book here: www.youandmeforever.org
2. Jimmy and Karen Evans “MarriageToday”
MarriageToday by Jimmy and Karen Evans was a game changer for my marriage! I really can’t sing it’s praises enough. Jimmy and his wife have a way of taking principles and problems that can seem really daunting and overwhelming to overcome, and they simplify them so much that my husband and I have been left staring at the TV feeling so dumbfounded. Like, how in the world did we complicate that? They break the Bible down so well and couple biblical knowledge with their own personal experiences. It is funny, refreshing, and one of my favorite resources on this list!
Find all the MarriageToday resources here: marriagetoday.com
3. Jeremy and Audrey Roloff’s "Beating 50 Percent"
Jeremy and his wife, Audrey, are pretty well known by America through the show “Little People, Big World.” I apparently live under a rock, so I had never heard of this couple until I came across Audrey Roloff on Instagram one day. When I found out that she and her husband had a marriage blog, I was so excited! The Roloff’s are incredibly encouraging for newly married couples who are seeking to get a solid handle on communication. They speak heavily about this topic on their blog and I would recommend to couples who want to improve the communication in their marriage.
You can find more on Beating 50 Percent here.
4. Heather and Cornelius Lindsey’s Marriage Retreat
I truly adore the Lindsey’s and am so thankful for their ministry. They have retreats for single men, women, and run a church in addition to the marriage retreat that they throw annually. My husband and I attended their 2016 marriage conference in Scottsdale, AZ and it was truly eye opening for us in regards to areas of our marriage that we didn’t even really realize actually needed attention. The retreat is usually 4 days long and they cap the number of couples that can register for the retreat to keep the event close and intimate. This retreat is usually held in the Fall and is for seriously courting, engaged, and married couples.
You can find out more about Heather and the Lindsey's Marriage Retreat here.
5. Your Home Church
Sometimes, you don’t have to go too far from home to get the love and support that you need for your marriage! My home church was a great resource for my husband and I, especially in the first year of our marriage! There is nothing like sitting in the same room as your spouse while you worship and praise the God of all creation together. Also, being able to digest the word together can be so good and healing for a marriage! I encourage married couples to find a home church, if they don’t already have one, and attend together. The Word of God bears so much good fruit when it falls on open ears and open hearts.
6. Counseling with Our Pastors
This resource is in the same ball park as the last one, but is a bit different in that it is a lot more personal and tailored to each marriage specifically. I loved that in some of the most crucial points of my marriage, our pastors were there to listen to us and give us Godly wisdom and advice. If you trust your leadership, which you should (otherwise, it may be good to revisit why you are at that church to begin with) utilize them as a key resource for your marriage. Sometimes, it is best to speak with leadership before you go to your family members about things you are dealing with in your marriage. As always, don’t blindly follow any instruction and counsel you receive. Test every word given to you against the Word of God for yourself and ask for clarity and wisdom in your prayer time. The Lord is faithful to provide both!
7. Dave Ramsey’s "Financial Peace University"
This is a resource that is a bit more directed towards a specific area of marriage: Finances. Dun dun dun! Finances can be such a difficult area for many married couples to get a handle on. Merging finances with your spouse, who likely handles them differently than you, can be nerve-wrecking to say the least. But, there is hope! While many may not agree with each and every thing that Dave Ramsey teaches in regards to methods, there is no doubt that his principles have provided wonderful results for many couples!
8. "Conversations with John and Lisa Bevere" Podcast
John and Lisa are trailblazers in the kingdom in that they are unafraid, unashamed, and uncompromising to the truth and reality of God and his word in marriage. They speak heavily about being in ministry together and how that has impacted their marriage. There is so much knowledge that they share free and willingly and I love their candor and humor. This podcast is perfect for couples who serve together in any capacity, whether it be ministry, business, or raising a family.
To download and listen to episodes of John and Lisa's podcast, click here.
9. Francis Chan’s "Crazy Love"
This is a resource that I have used personally to get my mind set in the right place for my marriage. I actually read this book before I was married, and it totally reframed my perception of love. While you aren’t going to find marriage advice and counsel in this book, you will find the call to make sure that your heart is in proper alignment to give and receive love. After all, it is impossible for us to love others rightly when we don’t accept or understand God’s love for us. His love, as the title implies, is crazy for us! This book has encouraged me to love my hubby better because of the love that God shows me.
You can learn more about and order a copy of Crazy Love here.
10. Jonathan David & Melissa Helser Podcast
This podcast is so near and dear to my heart because of the depth of understanding that Jonathan and his wife, Melissa, have of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and how they translate their understanding so humbly to the masses. At their core, Jonathan and Melissa are all about sustainability within the kingdom. Living daily lives that are worthy of the call of God and sustaining the natural rhythms of love and grace that has been given to us. This podcast has challenged and encouraged both my husband and I in the area of community and relationship with and awareness of the God-head. This podcast is wonderful for those who desire to dive deeper into welcoming the presence of God into their marriage, and having their marriage revolve around Him on a daily basis.
You can download and listen to The Helser's podcast here.
Britnee is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog or via social media @b_brdshw!
Originally published Friday, 01 December 2017.