Let me introduce you to Rosie and Guy. Childhood sweethearts, they were married five and a half years ago. They live in Newcastle where Rosie is a doctor and Guy is a town planner. They both love the outdoors and any opportunity to keep exploring the Lake District. They love their church family and have just welcomed their first baby into the world!
Rosie and Guy have recently been part of a ‘Together’ group (a nine-session group resource which aims to answer the question, ‘Can we have a marriage that is alive and kicking – even amidst the stress and busyness of life?’ We asked Rosie and Guy about their experience.
1. How did you come to be in the Together group? What motivated you to join?
We went along to ‘A Day Together’ and that was where we first heard about ‘Together’ groups. Our friends were starting a group and asked if we’d like to join. We had said all along since getting married that anything to protect or encourage us in our relationship was always going to be a good idea and something to try and prioritise! After first thinking we may not have the time to commit – we just ‘went for it’!
2. Tell us about your experience overall. Was it enjoyable? Challenging? How about the group dynamic?
We really enjoyed our ‘Together’ group experience. It was a good balance of time with other couples and time spent chatting with your partner. We had a lot of fun, but it was also important to our group that couples were able to share more tricky or sensitive things without fear of being judged or feeling awkward. There was never any pressure to share anything we didn’t feel comfortable sharing with the group, but we found it a great tool for bouncing our thoughts and experiences off other couples and realising that we are all walking similar walks and all needing similar prods and encouragements along the way.
3. Were there sessions that were particularly helpful to you? What helped you?
We are so different in a lot of ways! The session called ‘living positively with our differences’ was a helpful one for us. It was good to talk around sources of conflict, but it also led to some really great chats about the ways that we love the differences in each other. These kinds of chats helped us come up with ideas to support the other in being different and having different strengths and interests in our relationship and how this looks differently at church, in friendships and our wider family. I think the title of the session sums it up – we can live positively with our differences – they do not need to be the source of tension in a relationship.
The session on deepening our spiritual intimacy was really helpful to us too. We talked through why praying together had felt hard and it was good to realise that both of us were wanting this to change and didn’t really know how the other felt about it.
4. What did you learn about each other?
We learned lots of practical things about each other. Guy is an internal processor, Rosie is definitely not. This should have been obvious from day one of our relationship, but it was good to think through (Guy…) and talk through (Rosie…) how this affects our relationship day to day.
We both had different approaches towards forgiveness and conflict resolution, we still do – but we have learned more of the importance of meaningful apologies and the words ‘I forgive you’.
5. What did you learn about God?
We have both found that when we intentionally take time out to try and honour God with the way we do marriage – he always shows up. God loves marriage, he loves our marriage, he loves to redeem and has redeemed many of the things we have got wrong over the years. We really need to keep him in the picture for us to thrive!