Marriage ministry means a lot to us. We love helping couples build strong marriages. And we love helping hurting couples restore their marriages. But sometimes couples won’t let us help. Then when we watch a marriage fall apart it reminds me of a time I watched a family’s home burn to the ground.
I was a teenager at the time. My family and I were driving down the highway, almost home, when up ahead of we saw the flashing red lights of fire trucks. As we slowed down approaching the scene we could see a house was on fire.
We pulled off the road and tried to make sense out of what we were seeing. Because the fire department on the scene was doing nothing to put the fire out. It didn’t look like a controlled burn because we could see the people were begging the firemen to do something.
We then got out of the car and moved in closer. After asking questions, we learned the fire department was just watching because they were out of their jurisdiction. They were from the nearby county, a few miles down the road. They arrived on the scene first. But they could not do anything until the local department arrived.
There they were fully equipped and ready to put the fire out. But instead, they had to stand there and watch the home burn until the other firemen arrived. By the time the local units arrived it was too late. The home was gone.
That was a sad thing to watch. And just like the firemen that had to watch that home burn, too many times we have had to stand by and watch someone’s marriage end.
With open arms, we have been in a position to help. We have taken the initiative to reach out to hurting couples. We have experience and understanding on how to overcome difficult marriage issues. And God has given us the grace to work in an arena where many ministers try to avoid.
Yet we still find ourselves in the agonizing position of simply watching as couples choose to give up or they continue with destructive behavior that eventually brings the marriage down.
Every marriage is different with unique dynamics and what we have experienced may not match what others are going through. And marriage is a private matter between a man and woman and very often couples are reluctant to reach out for help.
But there are times when a marriage falls apart simply because couples don’t know who or where they can go to for help. Then there are times couples fight so hard over whose fault it is they’re unaware of the danger they’re in. Then they lose all hope because the trouble has gone too far.
I’m saying all this for two reasons.
- First, for anyone who is aware that someone around you is having marriage problems, DO SOMETHING. I’m not saying stick your nose into other people’s business. Nor am I saying become somebody’s marriage counselor.
But you can tell them about resources that are available. You can put a book in their hands or offer to mentor them. You can recommend to them a marriage class. Let them know about a local pastor or ministry that helps with marriages.
Tell them about a marriage conference or retreat. Refer them to websites such as www.focusonthefamily.com, www.familylife.com, or one of the great marriage blogs at www.upliftingmarriage.com. And of course, you could send them here to us and tell them to contact us.
Whatever you do, just don’t stand by and watch someone’s marriage fall apart.
- Second, for anyone who’s marriage is in a difficult place. Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help. There are people like us who have been where you are. And we have all given our lives to help other marriages.
If you don’t know where to turn, start in your local church or community. Reach out to us. Or, go to the websites I have mentioned above. There is help out there and you just have to be persistent at reaching out for it.
Also, don’t turn to people who are not equipped and capable of helping. Your marriage is too important to just listen to the advice of friends or family with good intentions.
Finally, don’t overlook your problems and think it will somehow work itself out. You might be smelling the smoke of something more serious. The last thing you want is to look back at this time and wonder why you just stood there and watched your marriage fall apart.
Just like that night when I was a teenager, it is a sad scene when families are standing by watching their home burn down to the ground. Their hard work, their memories, their hopes for the future, and their place of belonging and security all gone in one cruel event.
Still, the scene of a marriage and family destroyed from divorce is more tragic. Simply because no one knew how to prevent the fire or how to put it out once it started. In today’s age of information, there is no reason for couples to not get the help they need to keep their marriage from falling apart.