Can you relate to any of these?
“I hear people talking about how their small groups or Sunday School classes are just awesome. Everyone clicked, and community just oozed from the time they were formed. But we didn’t have that experience. We like our group, but no one really gets very deep. No one really talks about the things that they truly struggle with…”
“We know people who make friends wherever they go. They never struggle with finding other couples who they can really open up to, but that’s not the case for us. We’re not extroverts, and it’s hard to find two people that we both really resonate with. We don’t even have one go-to couple who knows us well…”
“We really want to spend time with other couples, but we’re just so busy. The kids have places they need to be every night of the week and ballgames on weekends. Who has time to get to know other couples these days?”
Finding and building community as a couple requires intentionality. It requires doing things that are uncomfortable and hard. And while some of us need to do the hard things because we desperately need deep relationships with other couples, others of us desperately need to create margin in our lives so we can build relationships with other couples who might need us more than we (currently) need them.
Having someone into your home and around your dinner table is one place where walls and pretenses can be broken down. Maybe that’s why we see so many instances of people gathering around the table in Scripture.
Shauna Niequist writes, “This is how the world changes–little by little, table by table, meal by meal, hour by hour. This is how we chip away at isolation, loneliness, fear. This is how we connect, in big and small ways–we do it around the table.”
We asked four couples in the MarriageRoots community why they create margin in their lives to have other couples in their homes and around their tables on a regular basis. Here’s what they had to say:
Ryan and Kori Stubblefield:
“Right after we got married, we spent two months in Costa Rica living with a Costa Rican family while trying to learn Spanish. We failed at the Spanish part, but we did learn about hospitality. Our host mother had such a gifting for hospitality. Her dinner table was sacred. Her home was open, and she made people feel comfortable immediately.
When we flew back to Texas to start our new married life together, we knew that we wanted our future home to feel the same way. We didn’t know what to do other than make a commitment to have people over for dinner at least once a month and learn as we go. We’re still developing our hosting skills, but we clearly see there is something sacred about having people inside our four walls, at our table, and preparing food for them. It provides a way for us to serve others and grow as a couple in a way that meeting someone at Chili’s simply can’t do.”
Steve and Jen Galloway:
“When asked about why we are intentional about hosting people in our home for dinner, I am reminded of many biblical passages regarding hospitality and over 100 references to ‘one another’ in the Bible. Our homes are typically personal and private. Allowing someone into your home allows someone into an intimate part of your life, an invitation to be a part of ‘one another’ community. We believe we were created to be in community with others, to affirm and support others. A great way to start is opening up our home, sharing a meal, and being encouraged by each other’s faith.”
Davis and Jaime Turner:
“We have people around our table to invite others in—to be able to open our door wide and invest in others, to be intentional about slowing down and making time for conversation with others around us. In today’s society, we are so busy bouncing from place to place or from thing to thing that I think we miss what is right in front of us—people. Real people with real feelings just like you and me, and we all desire community with one another. We need community with one another.
Something happens around a table with food between you. Guards are let down and relationships are built. There is something lovely about gathering together in someone’s home with no purpose other than enjoying each other’s company and getting to know one another and not feel intimidated. People start to let each other in to hear their story—where they have been, where they are going, what their dreams are, what their fears are. Because everyone has a story, we just need to slow down long enough to listen.”
Cliff and Laura Sunda:
“We have been blessed with a wonderful home and we love to have people over. Our home is not big or fancy, we are not fabulous chefs, and please take note that our house is most always pretty darn messy. But because God has blessed us with a wonderful home that works, we pray that God would use us and our home to bless others and glorify Him. We often invite people over who are maybe new to the area, have children the same age we do, are seeking to get better connected in the church, or really just anyone the Lord puts on our hearts to invite.
In our home, we have found that everyone feels more relaxed and less distracted as opposed to when we visit at a restaurant or other public venue. Having guests in our home is almost always cheaper than going out, and our child is better entertained at our home.
We believe that the world is just waiting for an invitation. When we invite people into our homes, we are also saying that we care about them and we want to get to know them better.”
Do you invite other couples or families into your home regularly to share your table? Start a conversation with your friends by sharing one of these photos: