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Strengthening Marriages in Small Group

The Church is designed to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and discipleship of others in love.

Why is it important to strengthen marriages in the church?

We as believers are members of Christ’s body manifested here on earth (Ephesians 5:30) With that said, married couples have an obligation to live out an example that shows who Jesus is to the world. We could argue that marriage anchored to God is one of the foundations of a solid civilized society. “A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiates 4: 12)

How do we carry that mission out?



We do this through the help of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the ability to act in humility, service, and in sacrificial love towards one another. If the church and Christ are one, being unified under God’s direction, then married couples are called to be an example of being unified, as one, with each other under God’s direction.

Married couples are called to be an example of being unified, as one, with each other under God’s direction.

Since we live in a world that has been and always will be chaotic, uncertain, fallen and difficult to navigate, we as believers are called to be helpers. We have the ability given to us by our Creator to help others grow in their relationship with Christ and each other. Sometimes that means leading them to receive Christ.

“We always say, we need a better world. A safer world, a more peaceful world, etc., etc. Fill in the blanks. We could argue, if you want a better world, then you need better countries. If you want better countries, you need better states. If you want better states, you need better counties. If you want better counties, you need better communities. If you want better communities, then you need better churches. And if you want better churches, then you need better families that make up those churches. And if you want better families, then you need better marriages.” - Tony Evans, Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

If the enemy can destroy the marriage, then, he is destroying the individual members of the family, as the marriage relationship is the foundation of the family. Therefore, the Church can help strengthen marriages in several ways:

1) BE AWARE . . . of the epidemic that is plaguing marriages in the Church (Big "C" and Little "c").

2) OFFER RESOURCES . . . such as counseling or mentoring programs that take the primary responsibility off of small group leaders to be the sole or primary means to strengthen a couple's marriage.

3) ENCOURAGING ACCOUNTABILITY . . . to both husbands and wives by building and being in community with other believers. Why? Because a spouse cannot offer everything God designed us to need that's only found in fellowship with other Christ-followers.

4) PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER'S MARRIAGE . . . during the small group gathering. Outside the small group gathering and anywhere else you can pray!

5) TALK ABOUT MARRIAGE! . . . yes this is a simple one, yet easily overlooked and overthought. Just talk about marriage in your group. It doesn't need to be a deep time of confession and repentance, but merely simple things such as areas of one's marriage they're grateful for, date ideas, or sharing funny stories from their time of marriage together.

6) MARRIAGE STUDY . . . do a marriage study for a season to help intentionally and organically stimulate conversation to learn more about what a Christ-centered marriage looks like.

7) MODEL . . . what a healthy marriage can look like. Not a perfect one, but a healthy marriage pursuing progress in sharing struggles, failures, successes, and disciplines.

All these ideas for a small group strengthen marriages and can be accomplished through Bible studies (husbands, wives, or combined couples), one-on-one discipleship, developing marriage mentoring programs and fervent prayer for the marriages of the church whether they are struggling or not. Here's the reality:

The enemy is always lurking around to see a weak link in our relationships - no marriage is immune from spiritual attacks.

Marriage was meant to be a blessing, but many of the marriages we see today look more like a curse. Without God as the foundation of the marriage relationship, there will be an endless struggle that often leads to divorce. As small group leaders, we have an amazing opportunity to give hope to couples who are in difficult seasons, to point them to Jesus. As small group leaders, let’s not miss this opportunity. This is Kingdom work, so let’s get busy!


AUTHORS Marc & Wendy McNeal

Wendy McNeal is owner and therapist of Oasis Counseling & Consulting in Aubrey, Texas. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides counseling services to individuals and couples. She also has a marriage coaching business called, BOLD & BRAVE Marriage Coaching. This coaching program offers leadership training for church leaders, life coaches, men’s retreats, women’s retreats, marriage conferences and continuing education workshops for counselors. Wendy has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Wendy and her husband Marc have been married for 29 years and they have three amazing children! Marc works as a physical therapist and also partners with Wendy in organizing and speaking at retreats and workshops. They attend Midway Church where they both serve as leaders in a marriage mentoring ministry. In their spare time, they enjoy hunting, fishing and spending time with family and friends.


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