When Russ and I first signed up in 2008 to facilitate Thrive small groups I was nervous. Thrive is an 8 week marriage curriculum created by Northpoint Community Church. We still experienced conflict regularly. We still had days when we would get angry with each other. How were we equipped to lead other married couples? Sometimes couples in the Thrive group were married even longer than us, which was 5 years at the time.
During the first evening of all our groups, Russ and I share our marriage story. After we finished sharing the good, the bad and the ugly, a wife in all seriousness asked why we were the ones chosen to lead the group. Apparently, we appeared pretty messed up.
Some people think you can arrive at a place where your junk no longer impacts you, where you don’t have conflict and prayer has solved all your problems. We must have disappointed her initially but I have to give her credit for staying with the group.
Here are just a few of our observations in sitting on the front lines of watching couples transform during the Thrive process:
- ALL couples have conflict whether it’s in the form of fighting, taking flight or freezing.
- Some need permission to know that conflict is healthy.
- The secret sauce in managing conflict is in how you repair that shows you care.
- Most painful interactions between spouses are usually tied to a deep emotional wound.
- All family of origin brings some type of baggage into the marriage.
- Couples still feel a stigma in going to counseling. We hire personal trainers for our fitness goals, accountants to help us with our taxes, why not proactive counseling for the most important relationship in the family?
- You’re the only chance for romance for your spouse. (I stole this one from Thrive!)
Have you thought about signing up for a married small group? If you’re local to the Atlanta area, Thrive will be opening up registration this Fall. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to peer into other people’s marriages and find out just how similar we all are to each other.