Reframing Marriages in North America
“We live in a culture that promotes a Hollywood fantasy that if you’re with your soulmate, everything will be hunky dory—you’ll live happily ever after—and there will be no issues,” said Rev. Deb Koster, producer of Family Fire. “The reality is that we’re all broken, and we’re trying to find ways to live together in fellowship, sharp edges and all.”
Marriage is a portrait of God’s love for the church, Koster noted, and healthy marriages characterized by mutual forgiveness reflect God’s sacrificial love for the church. Marriages affect not only two individuals, but also children, families, church congregations, and whole communities. The mutual sacrifices required in healthy marriages bear witness to God’s lovingkindness. But people around the world struggle with ideals, habits, and cultural norms that hinder God’s purpose for marriage.
Through its agencies, ministries, and congregations, the Christian Reformed Church strives to help partners throughout North America and the world reframe, renew, and restore their marriages so they reflect God’s heart for redemption.
In a May 2017 article, Koster shared the story of Carletta and Lyndon, who started using Family Fire resources to restore their crumbling marriage. “I’m always looking for something that could enrich our marriage, but I hadn’t found anything that met our needs,” said Carletta in the 2017 article. “We fought, but not fairly. Then I found Family Fire.”
Two years later, Koster calls Carletta a Family Fire “superfan,” referring to the ways she tries to help others reframe their marriages. Carletta and her husband started bringing Family Fire resources to their church. She and her husband are also planning to lead their own marriage retreat using Family Fire resources later this year.
Carletta, in particular, is passionate about walking alongside women whose marriages are stressed or in crisis. She’s also an active member in Family Fire’s closed Facebook group “Women Praying for their Marriages.” With about 500 members, the group uses media to provide support and a safe place for women to share their challenges in marriage and to encourage and pray for one another.
“The biggest thing for people in hurting relationships is they don’t have great support networks,” said Koster. “[Maybe] they’re not wanting to tell their church friends their marriage is a mess, or they’re not wanting their family or friends to know how bad things have gotten.”
Because shame often prevents people from seeking help or confiding in family and friends, Family Fire provides support and resources to strengthen marriages in North America that people can easily access through social media.
But people throughout the world struggle in marriage relationships.
This story first appeared in the Banner magazine. Read the whole story.