Marriage,  Messy Faith,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings

The importance of community in a Christian marriage

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I wrote the following words about my husband and my marriage in a private message to two close friends of mine.

“He has been getting on my nerves all day…”

Around the New Year the three of us decided that we would gather together daily on Facebook to talk to each other, reach out to each other, and hold each other accountable to the goals we had set for the year. Goals like healthy eating, weight loss, doing better on housework, reading books, and being better wives and moms.

But it has become so much more than that. It has become a safe place for all of us to share “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of our marriage. It’s where we go when we just need to hear a “ugh…me too!” or an “Oh that happened to me last week! I feel your pain!” It’s become the place where we share the joys, the happy days, the exciting things going on.

It’s been friendship…community.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
C.S. Lewis

The importance of community in a Christian marriage

Tonight when we got home from Life Group, I briefly checked my phone and noticed that one of my friends had asked about our days. As I sat in the glider in the nursery rocking Ezra to sleep, composing my message back in my head, this phrase of irritability worked its way into the message I would end up sending later. Today has been a long day. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I have been very irritable and frustrated all day long. And yes, I have even been frustrated with Russ.

But that’s not the point of this post. 

It occurred to me tonight that five years ago I wouldn’t have dared to utter such a phrase to a friend: because to talk about my husband in that manner would be disrespectful.

On some of the darkest days of our marriage – days when I honestly didn’t think our marriage would make it – I refused to turn to anyone for comfort, help, or advice. All in the name of respecting my husband. I suffered alone, not knowing what to do, how to work through the pain in my heart, how to find forgiveness and grace to carry on in the marriage. Not even my closest friends knew the burdens I carried.

I didn’t want anyone to think badly of him. I didn’t want people to see the ugly in our marriage. I didn’t want to bring shame to his name.

And I still don’t…

A wife giving respect and honor to her husband is definitely a Biblical concept and one that I try to follow. But what I have realized over the last five years is that there is value in community, friendship, and exposing the darker aspects of our marriage to others. 

I have sat in the pew with a chaplain’s wife, spilling my guts about the struggles my husband and I were facing. And I’ve had her grab my hands, encourage me to fight the devil, and give me advice about what to do. And then we bowed right there to pray for my husband and for my marriage. There was no shame. There was no disrespect toward the man I love. Only encouragement, grace, forgiveness. Only “I’ve been there too.”

I’ve sat in a PWOC Bible study with tears in my eyes of frustration over this or that issue that’s affecting our marriage, only to see other women nodding, even laughing at the normalcy of this thing called marriage.

The issue with over-emphasizing the respect of your husband, especially when you are struggling, is that it’s so easy to lose perspective on your husband’s humanity. You convince yourself that your husband is this horrible guy and you must be the only hurt wife who is suffering with feeling unloved, mistreated, disrespected, or simply frustrated over the petty things that we wives get worked up about–and then stay silent because you don’t want to shame him. But when you let down your guard for that moment, let out a little bit of frustration with sisters in Christ that you trust, and they share their stories about their husbands and their marital issues…you realize that there is an aspect where all guys are the same. And that sometimes the very thing that you are struggling with is the same struggle that women across the ages have had…simply because of sin and humanity. And it makes it so much easier to walk across the room and greet your husband with a smile and a hug, shrug off the issue as “eh, that’s just what guys do…and yes it drives women nuts, but that’s the beauty of marriage…” and go about your business.

The biggest lie I have ever believed is the lie that I am alone in my struggles. 

Vulnerability breaks that lie to pieces. Over and over again, as I have let my guard down and shared some of the ugly, I have been embraced with others who have been there too. Sisters have been there to offer perspective and loving advice.

Fear of disrespecting my husband to the point of never seeking advice or a listening ear didn’t make me a better wife…it left my heart a lonely and empty ground where seeds of bitterness grew that sometimes I am still endeavoring to unroot.

Dear friends and sisters…are you struggling today in your marriage? Is there an issue pressing on your heart? Are you suffering alone thinking that you must be the only one trying to keep a hurting marriage alive? And are you scared to share because you are afraid that people will think badly of your or your husband? Is the fear of disrespecting your husband keeping you silent when you need help? 

Let me encourage you this way: You don’t have to go through this struggle alone. Seek out friends, especially older women whose marriages you respect and desire to emulate. Share your struggles, your issues…from the silliest of frustrations like those darn socks on the floor to the biggest issues like affairs and sexual temptations. Ask for advice. Ask for prayer. Cry with them. Lay some of those burdens down at the feet of your friends and mentors and let them help you carry them. I think that you will be a better wife for it.

Sometimes, marriage takes more than two…it needs community.

“The aged women likewise…that they may teach the young women…to love their husbands.”
Titus 2:3-4

sometimes marriage takes more than two


  • mrsabbott

    I, too, have struggled with this, Aprille. We’ve talked some about it. Lately, it has been especially hard and I’ve kept alot of things inside. I met up with some friends for coffee and a playdate and it all just came bursting forth.. my frustration, anger, and immense hurt that had been building up. My friends just prayed for me and I walked away feeling lighter and more hopeful then I had in a long time.

  • Sara

    finally got a chance to read this one! i love it!! my husband is amazing and i look up to him more than anyone and brag about him constantly. but because we are both human and have flaws, we still get on each others nerves and have fights. there are lots of times he makes me angry! no marriage is perfect, not one. i have to reach out to other women whom i trust also, and it makes a HUGE difference!

  • Leslie McNeil

    I know my heart resonates with your post… I don’t believe I would have been divorced had I had a community of believers… older women with God’s wisdom and a bread basket full of wisdom from seeking His face, that I could have confided in, and looking back… would have given me advice about changing ME… not my husband. I gently suggest that while it ‘make take community’ — it also takes three. I’m married again, thankfully so! And aA cord of three strands is not easily broken. And that cord, involved in a covenant relationship works beautifully, I think. That relationship with girlfriends, that someone to talk to, should be one of constant SACRED trust, accountability, and seeking of the Lord in prayer, worship, and loving kindness… even when the truth is hard to speak. Thank you for writing about this! Titus 2:3-4 ~ YES!

  • Erica {let why lead}

    I completely agree! (I came across your post through you like on BTI’s facebook page, btw.) I wrote something similar in a post on my blog. About how I felt so alone and confused for the first couple of years of my marriage, because everyone I knew was stone silent about the hard parts. Great post!

  • Mai Dela Cena (@Story_Book_Mom)

    Thank you for this post. I have been feeling guilty these past few days. I have been in the exact situation like this. Husband and I had issues and I was so hurt and I thought I can handle it alone. Until I finally gave up and asked a friend to meet with me and we talked about our problem. I also asked my sisters in law to call me and I poured everything I feel to the two of them. I felt relieved after that hearing them say that they’ve been there too. And gave me advice to hold on and keep the marriage intact. Days passed, and hubby and I are getting along well again. My problem was I am now feeling guilty of sharing a bit of the dark side about our marriage. But with your post, I felt relieved.

    • Aprille

      I’m glad I could offer some perspective. Yes we have to be careful and only go to women who value marriage and God’s principles. But seeking advice truly can be a big help!

  • Selena Campbell


    Thank you so much for this post. (I am looking through your blog after finding you via FMF, and I saw the button for this post.) I know how you feel because my husband and I were treated like Prince Charming and Cinderella when we got engaged and then married. In fact, believe it or not, several of the single women got together and asked me to speak to them on how I found and married him (like there was a silver bullet method to being married??). At that time, we were several months into our marriage and I wanted to die I was hurting so badly, and I was TERRIFIED to tell anyone about it. And I also can relate to the way that secrecy created fertile ground for bitterness. The way our marriage has played out (we will celebrate 15 years together this January), it is truly a MIRACLE of God that we are still together. But I give Him all the glory. And our marriage is amazing now, compared to what it was, which gives me hope for the future!

    Thank you, again, SO much for your honesty. It is important that women understand how much we need support from each other.

    Blessings to you and upon your marriage!

    • Aprille

      Selena thank you for taking the time to look around and comment on this post. And thank you for sharing your story. I wish more women would be honest about how hard marriage is. I admit, I still don’t share an awful lot about my marriage but when I do, I try to be honest because I know there are people in GOOD marriages that still have a rough time. We NEED our brothers and sisters in Christ to help lift us up during those times, but if we are afraid to speak out because we might be viewed as sinful or disrespectful, everybody loses.

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