Sometimes they sit on the couch next to each other. Sometimes they are leaning in opposite directions, clearly on different pages. Sometimes they hold hands while we pray, and sometimes they grit their teeth. We have gone through lots of tissues on our couch. We have had huge celebrations of reaching certain milestones. After the initial work is done, we see them less often. We meet monthly or every 6 weeks. Eventually we release them…they do not need to come to us anymore. Oh— if our couch could talk!
After years of doing relationship work, much of it out of our home office, our family moved. In a bittersweet moment of getting ready to break down and pack the room, I posted a couple pictures on Facebook. It was a hard day for me, and similar to the closet in the Christian movie War Room, I was somehow hoping the couple who moves into that house senses the battle and victory of that room.
In just a few minutes, I noticed people were responding to my post. People recognized that couch! A brave woman said, “My marriage was saved on that couch.” Before I knew it others were echoing, “mine too!” or “us too!”. Some people texted me because they weren’t willing to put it on social media. The response was overwhelming and emotional. It wasn’t just a room of my house to pack up, but a room where God had done some incredible work.
I want to be upfront to tell you that not all good things happened on the couch. People ended their marriage on my couch. They told each other there was “someone else”. They admitted they had been lying. They revealed drug addictions or gambling addictions or pornography addictions. People walked out of sessions angry and people left crying. Sometimes we had to say we couldn’t help. Sometimes they told each other it was over. Not just marriages but all kinds of relationships. Relationships ended right before my eyes.
But even in the midst of the highs and lows of relationship circumstances, God was at work. Truth came out and light shined in dark places. Hurting people were helped and comforted while their loved ones did unspeakable things. Healing Separations were put in place to protect and allow healing. There was hope for restoration, and there was hope in Christ even when the relationship was not reconciled. The work on the couch was messy, but it was valuable regardless of the perceived “ending”.
God has been making it clear to me that there is so much work to be done. All this happened on one couch! There is an urgency for more couches where people can feel safe and get help. There need to be more people trained to coach these relationships and meet these very real demands. And people want trained! Many people have come to me and to Scott asking for guidance so they can do what we do. A unique model of 2-on-2 coaching. A mash-up of pastoral care, coaching, and discipleship. They want the resources we’ve created to use with their hurting people. And these people coming to us are no coincidence—it’s the very thing God has been telling us for months. We need to capture what we do on video, create more classes for training, and reach more people with truths and tools to equip relationships. We can only imagine the impact this will have on the local church, the foundation of marriage, and on our whole society!
You might wonder what they big deal is—why not just go do that? Well, it’s complicated. We’re not sure how the business model of training and videos works, and we need revenue to keep moving forward. And we love helping people face-to-face…it is how we have grown comfortable helping couples and families. But there is this very loud conviction in our hearts that an hour with a couple on our couch is an hour we aren’t spending on what God has asked us to do… to create opportunities for more people to get equipped. To pave the way for more people to be helping more people on THEIR couch, and to change the way so many of us do ministry. Sooooo… here we go! We are doing it. We are saying no to some things so we can say YES to what God has for us now.
So when we say “#MoreCouches” this is what we mean. We are obeying our very big God to do something scary that will help more people. Will you join us in praying? And if you help people on a “couch”, or you know people who do, please put us in touch with each other. We are ready to link arms and make a difference.