5 Ways to Forge Great Relationships that Help Your Marriage

The importance of having other couples in your life

A couple of months ago my wife and I needed help. We were not talking, we were pretty rude to one another, and the worst part — we didn’t care whether we hurt each other or not. We had reached that nasty place where our hurts, frustrations, and disappointments with one another left us cold, detached, and numb.

At the same time we were preparing for our first speaking engagement as a couple in front of real people (versus online), which just happened to be at the annual marriage retreat we attend as a couple. In addition, I was preparing to present at the Sex Without Sheets online conference. 

An amazing connection

The timing of our issues could not have been worse. How could we help other couples when we were struggling ourselves, with no resolution seemingly in sight? We needed help. So, we called for help.

A few years ago at the annual retreat I mentioned, we had a major breakthrough in our marriage. The keynote speakers, Dr. Clarence and Brenda Shuler, were very transparent and shared lessons from their marriage that resonated with us. What they shared allowed Stephana and I to open up to one another and share things we’d never shared before — with anyone. We connected like we had never done before.

This couple made such an impact that we just had to meet them, so we did just that. We met and have since forged a great relationship. The Shulers have served as mentors and counselors to us. We’ve learned so much from them since meeting at the retreat.

Somebody there when you need help

When we were having the challenges a couple months ago we reached out to them for help. We needed someone to listen to what we were dealing with and counsel us through it. And the Shulers were there for us. We trust them because of what they shared at the retreat, what I’ve learned from Clarence’s books, in general conversation, and because we know they care.

It’s crucial to have couples whom you can learn from, and call on for help when needed. Throughout the years mentor and peer relationships similar to this have kept us together and kept us growing. You may realize the importance of relationships and this type of help but aren’t sure where or how to develop them. It’s happened for us in many ways.

Here are 5 ways to forge great relationships that help your marriage

  1. Attend marriage retreats. Not only have we connected with couples like the Shulers at retreats, but we’ve also connected with peers who are at similar seasons in marriage and life as we are. When you attend a marriage retreat you are not only receiving expert advice and counsel from the speakers, but you are surrounding yourself with other couples who have a desire and are taking steps to better their marriage.
  2. Join small groups. Early in our marriage, we joined a small group of couples who we met at our church. Our marriage was held together by that group when it was falling apart. We formed great relationships, we helped to enrich one another’s marriages, we held one another accountable and lived life together.
  3. Attend meetups and couples’ events. Last year our friends, Tony & Alisa DiLorenzo, from San Diego, hosted a series a marriage meetups as they were traveling the midwest. We connected with them to co-host the Indianapolis meetup. We got to meet them in person for the first time and since then have forged a great relationship. The common bond is we are working to build better marriages for us, and others.
  4. Attend marriage classes (online and offline). As newlyweds, we took offline classes at our church. Technology has made it possible for us to get the same great information online now. We’ve forged relationships with couples we’ve met online through classes, webinars, Facebook groups, etc. There is no shortage of quality marriage content that can help your marriage.
  5. Get coaching or counseling. I write and speak to help other couple’s marriages. But if I don’t take care of mine then it’s all wasted and I won’t be as effective. That’s why I’m thankful for couples like the Shulers. But even before we met the Shulers we went to counseling, in good and bad times. Don’t hesitate to hire a marriage coach or go to a counselor. People that want to do better at something realize there is no shame in having a coach. World-class athletes have them. Successful entrepreneurs have them. And successful married couples do too.

I’m hoping this encourages you to take the next step in getting help to improve your marriage. A great marriage is a relationship and is built with the help of other great relationships.

Question: How do you develop relationships that help your marriage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Good practical points Jackie. In addition, it’s always good to keep in mind that the very thing we love doing the most, believe in the most and would even die for, are the very areas where we will be attacked the most. Thankfully, we’re on the winning side 🙂 The attacks we experience can make us stronger. This is part of the reason why your marriage/ministry/business/blog are impaction and necessary for the world to receive from. Thanks for your transparency, and for pushing forward to make your marriage even better. It’s our passion too ;-).

    • Thanks for your encouraging words, Alex. I really appreciate them and you.

  • Hey Jackie, I love your transparency and honesty. Thank you for the way you share bits of your story and let us know that ups and downs are normal and survivable. A great list too. My wife and I are putting #2 into action, but your ideas let me know there is much more that we could be doing. Thank you for some great relationship building strategies! Hopefully one year, Jenny and I will be able to meet you guys at a conference.

    • Small groups are awesome! It’d be great to meet you and Jenny at a conference…hopefully sooner rather than later. 🙂