For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them. Matthew 18:19
Over six weeks ago, Anthony and I began co-leading our summer small group. At the beginning of the year we went through Freedom and it really opened our eyes on how important it is to have good relationships with other couples. Coming from where Anthony and I have been, it’s hard to open up and share to others some of the challenges we faced and still face. We sometimes feel like even on the days we argue and have disagreements, we have to put on our “happy face”. The crazy thing is that we aren’t the only couple that feels this way. During our freedom group, we saw how positive it was to be able to open up to other couples and hear that they sometimes faced the same thing. The worst thing to do is to pretend things are going great when they aren’t. After our 12 week freedom class, Anthony and I felt a tugging in our heart to do a small group together. We couldn’t explain it, but we felt we NEEDED to do a marriage small group. We decided we would do one but we didn’t know what the small group would be about or consist of. We kind of just let it go and we knew that if we continued to pray, the small group would just come to us. During our spring small group Anthony and I had had an argument and we talked to our pastors about it since it was written all over our face that something was wrong. They asked us if we knew each others love language. We had no clue what they were talking about. They suggested we go online and take the test to discover what our love language was. They told us it would help us be able to communicate with each other better. So we did. When we got home, we both got online and did the love language test. After taking the test, we were kind of blown away at how accurate the test was. It made talking to one another much easier. One night we were talking about how small group sign up was fast approaching and Anthony got this look on his face….it was like a light bulb was resting above his head. He asked why not have a small group and read the book that the test was based on? Well now that was a pretty good idea. So that is how our small group was created…two people with a struggling marriage wanting to not only strengthen ours but others as well. Discovering Your Love Your Love Language with Your Spouse was born. We were both excited and nervous! We didn’t have much experience with a small group so we enlisted two of our close friends to help co-lead.
I remember the day at rally we were so nervous we wouldn’t have anyone sign up and it ended up being the opposite! We had over 12 couples sign up to do this small group and even people that weren’t in a relationship showed interest in it! It was couples we had known for a while, couples we saw a few times at church and couples we had never met before. One thing we were warned of before our small group even took off was that there would now be a target on our back. The enemy doesn’t want to see marriages succeed. The enemy doesn’t want people coming together and praising our God. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. We would be targeted because not only are we trying to bring others together, we are trying to help strengthen relationships. We took the warning to heart but still weren’t ready for what was to come.
A week before our small group was going to launch, Anthony and I had a very “passionate” conversation. We were arguing and could not agree on anything it seemed! We even got to the point of telling each other we are just going to call the small group off! We said we would let Chris and Yolanda take over completely. After several days of cooling off, Anthony and I sat together to really talk about what was happening. Why were we fighting so bad? Why were we calling off the small group before it had a chance to do so much good. Why? Because the enemy knew what was about to happen. The enemy knew this small group was not only going to bring couples together, it was going to offer a breakthrough to each person that showed up. We knew we couldn’t call the group off, we knew we couldn’t give up on what we had worked so hard to rebuild. So we agreed that no matter how hard it got, we were going to see this small group through to the end.
The first small group meeting was so much more than what we could have expected. We had couples that had their own stories to tell. We had women who were single but were bold enough to step up and discover their own love language so they could use it to create a strong foundation for finding what they wanted in their partner. Each couple told us a little about themselves, their marriage, their struggles and how they wanted a stronger relationship with their spouse. As the weeks went on, the masks we wore in public began to come off in our small group. We all knew that we were not the only ones that had bad days. We understood we weren’t the only couples arguing. I remember a week when several people told us how they weren't going to come to our group that Thursday evening. They had conversations in the car about not showing up. The enemy was working. There was a day, Anthony and I were completely transparent with every single person in our group. We told them that here we are leading a small group about strengthening marriages and Anthony and just went three days without talking to each other. Not one person in our group judged us. Each person did offer us prayers. They reassured us how much they loved us and had faith in us in making it. One thing one of them told us that I will never forget is how we need to remember that we are not at war with each other, we are at war with the enemy. Those words have never made more sense than they do now. The enemy knew there were incredible break through coming and he was in full attack mode. Luckily, we had a great group of people that came together and reminded each other of the bigger picture. This small group was a blessing like no other. Each person, each couple, was placed in that group for a reason. People who thought they were alone in their battles found out they could lean on another that went through the same thing. Strangers became friends and friends became family. This group may have only been for six weeks but the friendships will last a life time.
It’s not every day you find a wonderful group of friends that are walking the same path as you. The path to building a relationship with God. Every person needs their go to person. If I’m having a bad day, if I’m crying my eyes out because I’m taken to the darkness of the past, I know I have people that I can reach out to that will listen and bring me back to where I need to be. And after I’m done crying or venting, they will pray with me to help me realize God is always bigger than any problem or situation. The worst thing is going through life alone. Don’t do it. Don’t ever do life alone. Find your tribe and love them well.
P.S. The book was amazing!