Throughout the majority of my engagement to Adam, I rented a room in a house owned by a young married couple. While most people would view this situation as less than ideal, I’d argue that this up close and personal experience with a happy marriage was a great blessing for a soon-to-be bride.
I witnessed this couple fight and forgive. I saw them work through the stress of home renovations, a lost job, and financial strain. I saw how they dealt with differences with their in-laws. I was also there when they joyfully brought home their first-born son, and saw how taxing those first few weeks with a newborn can be. I saw them continually work at loving one another better. Most importantly, I witnessed their commitment and belief that no matter what trials came their way, they were married for life.
Even though Adam and I now live 10 hours away from this couple, they’re still one of the many role model couples we look up to and surround ourselves with for support. Marriage can be trying and difficult at times, and our culture doesn’t do much to uplift marriages, either. It seems like every which way you turn, marriage is more about what benefit I can get out of it instead of examining how I can love and serve my spouse better.
Adam and I have purposefully stayed close to people who experience and want the same things we do. These people believe marriage is for life and children are a blessing. They also inspire us by their witness to love one another more deeply. We’re also there to support one another through some of the times that can cause strain on a marriage, such as the death of a parent, birth of a child, sickness, and the search for employment. When my daughter was born a year ago, we received meals just about every other night for almost three months! But we also support each other through prayer, phone calls, emails, and cards.
Surrounding yourself with couples who will support your marriage takes some effort. For Adam and I there was some chance involved, but much more of it was in our control. As we met people and discovered who shared many of our same values, we made a point to invite them into our home for dinner, drinks or just to play a board game. We put effort into building relationships with like-minded couples and that effort has paid off. One of the couples even decided to start a monthly potluck gathering where anywhere from 10 to 15 couples attend.
Depending on where you live, finding these couples can be difficult. But just remember, while a physical support system is important, don’t discount those couples who live far away. In fact, some of our deepest support comes from couples we now only get together with a couple of times a year. Despite the distance, they’re still an important part of keeping our marriage thriving.
Adam and I have found that it’s impossible to do marriage alone. This is why we have found it necessary to surround ourselves with others who are trying to make their marriages the best they possibly can. It has taken some work, but it’s been a very enriching and humbling experience.
What about you? Where do you find support? Is it difficult to find support?