Guest blog by Roxanne Maroney, co-author of Hope After Hurt
The bible offers verses that encourage community and connection … such as “two are better than one” and “don’t forsake assembling of yourselves together”. When I read these, I sometimes take it as merely a suggestion. But in His wisdom God means it as more than just a good idea. He knows we grow deeper in our walk with Him and others by being in a safe and connected community. In our fast-paced society it seems easier to go it alone, read something quick on our phone, catch a sound bite now and then, watch church on YouTube, and miss out on a critical component to our growth and fulfillment … gathering with others who also desire to connect and grow.
I recently hosted a brief study group with women to discuss our new book Hope After Hurt. The group included women who were married, single, in a great marriage, divorced, or treading water in a stale relationship. I wanted to see what it would be like to read and discuss our book as a group, rather than just reading it alone. I read tons of books by myself (mostly for information), but I’ve learned the power of a group, and I thought the dynamic of group interaction around the topics in our book would be more impactful.
The purpose of the group was to offer hope, encouragement, practical tools and perspective to women who wanted to know more about themselves and how to express the love of Christ without the pain of defensiveness and hurt.
Although I wrote the book, I wanted to be more of a guide rather than their teacher, or marriage “expert”, which I’m not. I wanted to create an environment where they were free to share their thoughts and feelings and discover greater awareness about themselves without me pointing it out (groups are really good for this!). In our first session each woman unpacked her history with the group – what she saw, heard and experienced growing up that formed her understanding and beliefs about relationships. This helps lay the foundation and connect the dots for what she experiences in her adult relationships.
Maybe this was a particularly open group of women, but I found they were very willing to open their lives to one another. I saw the compassion for one another rise as they heard pieces of one another’s stories, how they learned from one another, and how they shared similar experiences of what to do and what not to do.
You might be thinking, “there’s no way I would share my story”, and a few of these women said the same thing. But afterwards they were so glad they did. Here are a few of their responses after we wrapped up the group:
“I really enjoyed your book and group sessions. I learned a lot about myself and how to better communicate.”
“Doing the timeline of my history and significant life events, and discussing how these early experiences influenced how I love in marriage was most helpful. I would love to spend more time on this material.”
“Thank you so much Roxanne for being a great instrument of God in our lives. You are a blessing to us.”
“So much great and valuable information. It was like drinking from a fire hose. I will need time to review and work on putting all these tools into practice.”
“The personal refection questions were excellent and relevant to each chapter and helped us get closer as a group as we shared. It was quite profound and impactful, and it helped me not feel so all alone.”
“I would like to do this study again with my spouse if it was offered to couples.”
“THANK YOU SO MUCH ROXANNE for inviting me to be a part of this incredible class to go even deeper in my faith and growth journey with myself and my hubby. The book was so good, and I know will help anyone who chooses to read it. I will be passing it along. You are such a blessing to so many and I’m so grateful to know you! So great to meet all of you amazing ladies! Let’s plan a gathering soon to check in on each other and our progress from what we have learned!”
“Thank you so much for this book, your story, the time spent with us, and the group. I hope to stay in touch with anyone else that is interested. You are truly a blessing and I felt honored to be a part of the group.”
“I liked the homework, especially the exercise on belief systems and core values. I especially liked the chapter on Intimacy because of what it teaches about boundaries. I think it’s a common misunderstanding that boundaries are used to ‘punish’ others instead of forging a healthy relationship.”
I appreciate the kind feedback from the group, but most importantly I appreciate how they learned from one another more than from anything I said. So, if you are considering reading our book, I encourage you to find a few trusted friends to work through the questions together. To help you guide a discussion group, we also offer a Leaders Guide on our website at (www.eyesightcoaching.com).
God designed us as social and relational creatures. While we need time alone, we also need time with trustworthy friends so we can grow and develop in the healthiest way. Going it alone often seems easier, and community can sometimes be messy, but it is one of the most important ways we grow, become more secure, and relationally healthy.
Hope After Hurt
By Roxanne & Rob Maroney
Is your marriage a mess? Are you disconnected, struggling, or stuck even after counseling? Or are things between you and your mate too tidy or perfect but you’re wondering what happened to the adventure, the passion, and those feelings of your first dates?
If distance, distrust, and despair define your marriage and you just hurt too much to see any hope, read Hope after Hurt before you do anything else.
During their many years of teaching, coaching, and counseling, Roxanne and Rob have seen countless couples grasping for that last hope, perhaps like you, desperately trying not to give up.
But that’s only a small part of their story. In Hope after Hurt, Roxanne and Rob reveal not only how their marriage was rescued from becoming another casualty in the rising divorce rate but how they were set on the path to create something entirely new. They offer a transparent telling of how their early histories unknowingly haunted their marriage and their choices and how they dramatically changed their destructive path.
They open up about secrecy, lies, broken trust, loss of connection, and damaged intimacy. This is not just a story of two flawed people and their need for repair but also an honest account of more than forty years of healing using practical tools for greater connection and intimacy in marriage. Hope after Hurt offers hurting couples real-life examples and a roadmap to healthier relationships.
Connect with the authors Roxanne & Rob Maroney at EyeSight Coaching
If today’s blog was encouraging to you, take sure you sign up to receive blogs every week. TransformingFamilies.org was created to enable you to discover and develop authentic, healthy intimacy in all your relationships.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you would like to improve your relationships, or you want someone to talk to, e-mail me at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, and we’ll schedule a time to connect. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed child of God.