The Principle of Three Couples
My husband and I have been married for twenty-seven years. To get to this point, one thing we have done to keep our marriage on the right track is to foster a strong connection with three other couples. We were intentional about who these couples are. They had to be people who are raising, or have raised, sons in our community (we have sons). They also had to be humorous and fun, with Jesus as an important part of their marriage. These are real couples who own their mistakes, people who we want to share life with. The key is that each couple is in a different life-stage and we try to schedule some time to be with each of them at least once a quarter.
The first couple we like to share life with are "older and wiser" but not the age of our parents. They have been married a few more years than us and their sons are older than ours. We love to soak up their "been there, done that" attitude and their stories. They give us hope and help us relax in the middle of whatever the "latest struggle" is for us. They also are strong enough to speak truth to us and help us to laugh at ourselves.
The second couple is similar in ages, length of marriage, and ages of sons. This couple are the ones who we can compare notes with. And most of the time, we are not doing as bad and we think! I value the times we are together, as I get a different perspective on present circumstances. Seeing something through another couple's eyes can be a game-changer. They give wonderful feedback with best practices explained that helps us be more successful.
The third couple is younger than us, married for fewer years and have younger sons. We get a lot of fresh ideas from them. Sometimes we are able to coach them on what next to expect as the "been there, done that" couple, but a lot of the time, we get more out of the interaction than they do. Being with them reminds us of why we are together and trying to do the things we do as Christians. It's healthy to be on the path ahead of someone else as a beacon of hope for them.
We love all three couples and our marriage has grown because of their prayers, opinions, and influence. I believe that if we didn't have these relationships, we wouldn't be as strong of a couple. We always end our time together thankful for the friendships. The time spent with these other couples remind us of what is important to work on, to fight for, and to never give up on. They are such an encouragement to us.
So many of us can easily turn to the world for advice and fresh ideas but do you know the center of the core delivering the information? Don't trust the world for examples of a good marriage or how to be great parents. My advice is to seek out some other couples that are focused on Jesus-real people somewhere on the same path as you. Below are some Scriptures and some questions to ask yourself as you go along in life. I hope you and your spouse will take some time to think through them and find three couples who can support you in life.
"So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous." (Prov. 2:20)
Do you have someone in your life that can pour into you and your relationships like the first couple? Why is it important to have a coach or mentor who is also a Christian? Who is someone that you want to spend time with and receive some coaching from? If you could ask them anything, what would that be?
"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2)
Why is it important to have some friendships like the second couple where you can be truthful and share? Do you have a Christian friend that is sharing similar life experiences with you? Is there someone who can be a sounding-board for you when the rest of the world seems to be in a different place? If not, what are the things that keep you from having a friendship like that? What is in your schedule now that you could stop in order to make time for a new friendship?
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11)
Why is it important to have someone younger in your life that you can coach or mentor like the third couple? What are the benefits to having a real and truthful friendship with a younger person? If you don't have that type of a relationship, why not? What plans do you need to make?
"I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly." (Eph. 1:16)
Who in your life are you thankful for their friendship? Who or what couple helps you to be a better person or couple just by hanging out with them? Are you around them enough? Why does God want you to be in a growth-encouraging relationship? Who do you want to spend some time with? Make a list. Pray for God's help and make a plan for it to happen. Pray for those that are already in your life, who are "difference makers" for you.
I would love to connect with you! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless you and your relationships.
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