This is awkward, but…can you help my marriage?

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Creative Commons user Marc Wathieu, edits mine

As a pastor, I’m supposed to have it all figured out.

I have a degree in theology.

I have been called to full-time vocational ministry.

I help other people work on their marriages.

I’ve even written blog posts about how to preach a marriage ceremony, for crying out loud.

But I don’t have it figured out.

My wife and I, in seasons of our marriage, have had to ask for help. Shore up some weaknesses. Make our marriage stronger. Get my wife to realize how awesome I am. :)

Does that mean we’re weak? And not where we need to be? And that we don’t have a perfect marriage? And that we don’t have all of the answers.

Yep. You bet it does.

Honest community

And we’re okay being honest about that. In being honest about times in our marriage when we needed help, we’re able to step alongside other couples and say, “It’s okay to ask for help. We have, too.”

There’s a perception that asking for help means you’ve got some sort of deficiency. That some disease has stricken your marriage, and now everybody looks at you like you’re a leper.

If that’s true, maybe it’s time to look for a new community where it’s okay to be yourself, scars and all.

It’s more than “okay” to ask for help in your marriage. In fact, I’d call it “wisdom.”

Time to wise up. Ask for some help from a couple that’s a little further down the road from you.

Ask them how they’ve worked through difficulties. How they’ve grown in their faith. How they’ve learned to argue well. How they’ve pointed their family to Jesus along the way.

Our marriages are too valuable to ignore our need for outside help.

The Spirit of God helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26), and He often does that through others.

There’s no shame in asking for help.

Umm…this is awkward…but can you help me with my marriage?





Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

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

  • Kristin

    God advises us all throughout scripture to seek wise counsel.  Why would we not seek it in our most valuable earthly relationship?  Dennis and I go to “Weekend To Remember” every year for this very reason.  The first year, we were in crisis.  We went to strengthen our marriage and grow closer to God.  We were restored, amazed, and in awe of all that we learned by those who were much wiser than us.  People prayed over us all weekend.  Our hearts were open to learning.  We felt God’s presence.  We have continued to go back, because its so enriching, so powerful, so inspiring, you can never have too much wisdom, and we were inspired to share that with other couples.  This weekend is a time to be alone, refresh, draw close to God, and talk deeply about our marriage goals and what we want for our life, our future.  Sure, we do that daily/weekly.  But life is hectic, we have two small kids and we both work.  This is kid free three days of non-stop dig deep devotional time of just us and we adore it.  We look forward to it all year long.

    • Ben Reed

      Why would we not seek it? Because it’s hard and exposing.

      Proud of you and Dennis for investing in your marriage!

  • Hal Baird

    There can be some trying times when two people become a family.  My wife and I are fortunate in that we’ve only had two or three big arguments over our almost 36 years of being married.  Those came early on when we were still adjusting to being a team instead of two individuals, each wanting his/her way.  We were blessed that we had people to consult and help us work through what turned out to be minor situations.  Your point is well taken.  No of us is perfect and we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask others to help us.

    • Ben Reed

      Wow. Only 2-3 arguments in 36 years? That’s crazy!

  • Chris Lautsbaugh

    More people need to be willing to say these things. When “normal” life struggles are hidden in shame or guilt, no one wins.

    • Ben Reed

      So, so agree, Chris. Nobody wins but the Accuser, who reminds us that we’re the only ones struggling, that if we’re honest it’ll wreck our lives, and that if we’re honest there’s no recovery from how far we’ve gone.


      That we’re not “that bad.” He also likes to minimize our struggles, sweeping them under the rug until they do take over our lives.

  • Julie

    Though I’m single, I wish more married couples were open about their struggles in their marriage or were bold enough to ask for help. 

    People are under this illusion that because God is present in one’s relationship or marriage that things must always be rainbows and perfect. Especially if the husband is a Pastor. “Oh but they can’t possibly have any issues in their marriage, he’s a Pastor, they must have it all figured out.”

    As a single woman, it would help me understand married life more clearly if married people were more transparent about their marriage.

    • Ben Reed

      Wow. What a perspective, Julie. That’s greatly encouraging, knowing that when we talk about marriage, it’s not only married folks that are listening. 

      Thanks for sharing this, Julie.

  • Jon Stolpe

    Excellent post, Ben.  And timely for reasons that don’t need to be shared here.  Investing in our marriages is important – takes work – is worth it!

    • Ben Reed

      Yes, it so is. Praying for you, Jon. Whether it’s you that’s struggling, or someone you know. I got your back, bro.

      • Jon Stolpe

        I appreciate that.  I’m sure that everyone’s marriage could use prayers – yours and mine included.  Your post was timely due to some struggles that some friends are going through.  Thanks for the prayers!  Pray that my wife and I would know how to help.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Not only should it be OK to be honest about marriage struggles, the church should not put additional pressure on the marriage. I have seen some churches put so much emphasis on service that the pressure to serve the church strains marriage and family life.

    • Ben Reed

      Oooh…that’s stinging, Mark. And I agree! The pressure to do more and more to serve others should never crowd out your primary responsibility to love and lead your family.