Our 20Twenty conversation with Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family is something that you might either like to invest in yourself, or a conversation you might like to start with someone who is having a tough time in their marriage. Brett and Kate are joining us to offer their help and hope for marriages under pressure.
When a marriage disintegrates, there’s a heartbreaking domino effect for everyone involved. It is devastating emotionally, not only for the couple, but also for their wider community of family and friends. As pressures on modern marriages are increasing, we might all be very interested in some initiatives to cultivate and enrich our relationships.
When the pressure is on, it’s not unusual for couples to be looking for a life line and some inspiration to get back on track. Many churches offer workshops and support for marriages. Focus on the Family also wants to help restore and promote strong marriages, through their “Real Life, Real Love” program, run by Brett and Kate. This is a low cost online seminar that will give you direct access to a marriage mentor.
Brett believes it takes a lot of effort to succeed in relationships. “You reap what you sow,” he says. “Investing in your marriage and fertilising it is so important. You have to nourish your relationship. It sounds funny to say, but take your relationship in for servicing. It needs a fine tune from time to time.”
Kate continues, “Marriage should be exciting, but instead we can often feel trapped, and wonder what we can do to enrich the experience. If you’re prepared to do the hard work, the end result is greater intimacy. If you persevere and journey together you end up being closer. It takes continual sowing into a marriage. Make sure you talk together and pray together. Don’t just drift along.”
Brett says it’s vitally important to be vulnerable, not only with your partner but with yourself. “The determination of a successful marriage is to look in the mirror. Would you want to be married to you? Why? You need to adjust and fine tune, and be aware you can have many blind spots. Because as an individual you want to be the best version of yourself you can be. It takes two healthy individuals to make a healthy relationship.”
Kate adds that when relationships break down, the effects are wide spread. “Children can become collateral damage. They grow up with no understanding of what a healthy relationship should be. We want to leave a legacy of health and well-being. If we haven’t had that role modeled, then we default to what we’ve seen. Staying in a marriage is not always about being happy, it’s about making choices to grow and develop.”
Brett says for those who are struggling right now, just start by being the best version of yourself you can be. “As we navigate life it’s going to be full of ups and downs, especially as we communicate and share our feelings and emotions. You both have to want what’s best and want to succeed. The Bible tell us to make every effort to live in peace. By showing love and concern, you are doing what is within your power. But there are no guarantees.”
Kate suggests that couples try and rediscover the love they had for each other initially. “Read Psalm 40. We can trust god, and He’s not finished with us yet. There is real hope for the future.”
Join Brett and Kate on Saturday, 18 September, 7.30-8.45pm for a free webinar on Intimacy in the marriage. Sign up here. Visit families.org.au for more resources and to sign up for their ‘Real Life, Real Love’ webinar. Listen to the rest of their chat with Neil below.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.