“How would you rate your marriage?”
Sounds so simple, right? As we would soon discover, that question would mark the beginning of one of the most intentional, godly, Christ-centered decisions our family would ever make. That was the first question of re|engage. We would spend the next 16 weeks “struggling well” on our ultimate journey discovering what it means that God wants our marriage to be holy not just happy.
Throughout our marriage, we experienced many ups and downs. The downs were things like substance abuse, infertility issues, and escalated disagreements. However, after coming to faith in Christ more than 5 years ago, our marriage and family were truly new creations in Christ, enjoying fellowship and love never imaginable before Christ. We were in a “good place” in our marriage. We were happy, right?
We began seeking disciple makers to help us on our journey to becoming long-term field workers in cross culture missions when we were approached by two different elders at GFC asking if we wanted to join the next semester of re|engage. We told them we did not want to do another book study – that we were seeking opportunities to study God’s word and experience practical application for our lives… we did not need marriage counseling. Luckily for us, we were challenged and convinced that re|engage is not marriage counseling. It is not just for struggling marriages but rather a Christ-centered community of fellowship focused on showing your spouse the love Christ speaks of in John 13:35. With doubts and reservations, we signed up and began attending re|engage with a group of unknown people from GFC.
So began the heart transplant. We found out very quickly that we struggle with communication patterns; for Jeff it was the use of invalidating language, and for Michelle, it was assuming the worst vs. believing the best. Not only that, but re|engage focuses on the importance of forgiveness, both asking and receiving. We did not realize how much we both needed to apologize and seek forgiveness. Our family began growing closer through the act of accepting the other’s sincere apology. Re|engage taught us to draw a circle around ourselves, not our spouse, and ask the Holy Spirit to individually reveal the sin in our own life so that we may become holier, closer to the Almighty God, and a better spouse.
At the end of re|engage, you make commitments of next steps for your walk with Christ, specifically in your marriage. We immediately experienced unity in the Spirit and emphatically said to each other, “we have got to do it again.”
Our misconceptions and assumptions about our own marriage had been so off, it is not even funny. Praise God that He is sovereign and continues to show us His righteousness and love. We are joining re|engage again this semester. Not just for our marriage, but for our ultimate journey together with others. Those “unknown people” are now our friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and wise shepherds as we walk in a new found HOLY matrimony.
Learn more about and sign up for re|engage online.
Jeff and Michelle Champlin
Posted on Wed, August 24, 2016
by Grace Fellowship Church