Monday, October 12, 2015

Marriage Mondays: Who is in your tribe?

Alright... This is the first blog in the Marriage Monday series. This will have little editing (mostly rolling thoughts). I am pretty passionate about people having healthy marriages and relationships so read on if you'd like and hopefully there is something for you to glean.

One of my favorites parts of a wedding is when the pastor asks the couple to look at the crowd. He (or she) illustrates that these people are here to witness, support and celebrate but also to journey with them. That they are committing to these elements of life on their wedding day and moving forward. What a beautiful picture of community, love and commitment!

Last night Charles and I (and so many people we love) attended the wedding of two very sweet people: James & Shelby (now) Alley. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Alley!

I was Shelby's (and a whole crew of great ladies) youth leader for her 7th-12th grade years. These were some of the most amazing years. Here's a few reasons why:
  1. I co-lead with a very special woman, Joyce, who brought much love, growth and fun to my life. 
  2. The group of girls I got to know, share life deeply with and journey through good and bad with are so incredible. It really was/is an honor to have shared those years of multiple days a week together. 
  3. I still get to share life closely with many of these girls along with reconnecting throughout time. It's a joy to have these long term people in my life. 
 Ok, so what does this have to do with marriage besides the fact that we went to a wedding?

I love weddings. They are so pretty, special and fun. They are usually the biggest party of someone's life! But I love even more that they mark the beginning of a lifelong journey. This wedding and the crew of people we were surrounded by were such reminders of how important a tribe is.

Something I have always been passionate about and sold on is the idea of community. I can't do life without my people... my family, friends and friends who are family. I know I need the support, truth, love, grace, honesty and joy people provide. Life is richer. I am known. I get to know others. In years of watching people begin a journey of marriage and in my own few years of marriage, I know a group of close people is a non negotiable.

Isolation is a total tool of the enemy and I believe makes life much less rich.
So, today I am writing about my values in a tribe and why community is so, so important in marriage. Here's what I've got:
  1. Be known & Know: I desperately need people who truly know me and allow me to know them. This is so true in regards to my marriage. When we experience challenge, a new season with unknowns, deep joys, sorrows or just normal life; I need people who know me, know my marriage and can speak into both. I also need people who can share their past or current journey. Authenticity that allows full self creates space for truth. Truth is so needed to experience good and bring wisdom or accountability when needed.
  2. Rejoice & Morn. "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" Romans 12:15. If I am excited I definitely want my people to be excited with me. And when they know me, they know deeply why I am excited and can celebrate with me. And when I am sad, hurting or fearful they can relate, offer empathy and support me. If I am not known this effort feels like a pat on the back and less rich. 
  3. Create memories: Our communities change and not everyone is in our life forever. But, for whatever time they are, live life with people. Life is richer when shared. I love looking back on moments with people and reflecting on "how long ago that was". 
  4. Accountability: This goes along with number 1 but needs it's own point. We all need someone (or someones) who can call it like it is. These are safe, trusted people or someone invited into our process. Some people desire this more than others. For me, I want and expect this of my people. Lets not dance around stuff. If you see something that is not good, call it out. If I have a pattern that has led me to be a less that honorable wife, bring it to my attention. If I have something in my life that is unhealthy or concerning, tell me. For me, these people allow this to be a two way street. I want this but I also know I NEED this. We can't always see little habits were forming or patterns we've created that aren't good. Or sometimes we need helpful nudges to make needed change. I get pretty fired up about how much being known and accountability is needed for healthy marriages that thrive and last. 
 I've know some of these ladies since elementary school. I am so grateful for the longevity pictured here.

Overlook the poor quality of these instagram photos.. These are from a crew of friends that all got married the same year. Many of us get together every 6 weeks or so to share life and our journey intentionally. 

And this crew.. A photo from our wedding and two from yesterday. This crew of ladies (and gentleman) have been in my life richly for many years. It's crazy my little babies are getting married but such an honor to share life with them.

Missing a few but so thankful for this tribe.

So for marriage or any season of life, I hope you have a tribe.. be it one person or many. Sometimes we really have to seek out our tribe. Sometimes, they are so close and regular in our life.

Whatever the case, I encourage you to make the effort to have that person or people who know you and invite you to know them, who celebrate and empathize, who share life with you and who do the hard work of accountability.

Who is in your tribe? 

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