Recently one of our families at the Church, Patrick and Michelle Tsai had the idea to offer a small group study called, Vertical Marriage. As a household WELL, that Welcomes in Jesus, Engages with Neighbors, Listens to Others and Loves to Try after going through the 5 weeks study once they asked if they could open it up and offer it again. I asked them a few questions about leading the study and why they wanted to do this. Enjoy reading their answers.
What made you want to host a study about marriage?
It's so easy to focus on our kids, jobs, house projects, hobbies and really easy to not spend any time focusing on our marriage. We wanted to spend devoted time with God focusing on our marriage. Some friends mailed us this study a while ago so we decided to try it. It looked fun, meaningful and did not require a ton of time. We considered doing the study on our own, but thought it would be a great blessing to invite others to join us (and it definitely was)!
How many people participated in the first round and then the second round?
In the first study, 4 other couples joined us. In our current study, 11 other couples have joined us.
What has been your biggest take away from Vertical Marriage?
This is a tough question because there are a lot of take aways. I'd say two of the biggest for us were:
We need to have a relationship with God in order to show up in a healthy way in our marriage. Our marriage and how we treat our spouse speaks volumes to those watching us - how are we representing Christ?
What is something that you have learned from leading this study?
There are many times in the study where Dave (the husband) explains what is going on in the husband's head/heart and where Anne (the wife) explains what is going on in the wife's head/heart. When the video would get done and we'd come back to discuss what Dave and Anne had just shared, the wives would ask the husbands in the group if what they said was really true for all of them (and vice versa). And it was! It was encouraging to know that other men/women are experiencing the same things we are. These topics were able to help us learn a lot about what the other spouse is thinking so we can show up like they need us to show up.
If you could give an engaged couple advice about marriage what would you say?
Michelle: Be humble and willing to forgive. Speak life to each other. And you can't truly do either of those well unless you understand how God continuously forgives you and how much He cherishes you AND your spouse.
Patrick: We need to exercise our marriage muscles on a constant basis.
Daily = practice patience and love your spouse as Christ loved the church
Weekly = grow deeper together with some special reserved date time alone
Yearly = recalibrate and educate by seeking out a marriage conference or class to refocus your priceless relationship with God and your spouse.
What questions do you wish I would have asked? (Or what would you like those who are reading this to know?)
How do we learn more about Vertical Marriage? You can go to https://www.familylife.com/verticalmarriagestudy/sample/ to watch a trailer for the study and go through the first session to see what it's like. It's fun and quick but still very impactful and meaningful. No matter where your marriage is at, this study will bless your marriage!
THANK YOU Patrick and Michelle for being willing to try something and for welcoming in Jesus to the conversation. Thanks for sharing your experience with us here. May God continue to bless your marriage as you continue to represent Jesus to the world.