My husband and I had the opportunity to attend FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember in Orlando this past weekend.
We will be married 20 years on Wednesday, June 11, and this has probably been our hardest year. We forgot a lot of things. We forgot about each other. We forgot that God had a purpose in putting us together. We forgot that marriage isn't a 50/50 proposition.
While the title "Weekend to Remember" implies that couples will never forget what the weekend does to help their marriages, I say that, for us, it was a weekend to help us remember. We remembered that we committed to this for the long haul. We remembered that it wasn't going to be easy but that it was definitely worth it. We remembered that we are each God's gift to each other.
Between Friday evening and Sunday morning, we attended ten different sessions with three different speakers. All of the speakers shared funny experiences that were so applicable to what they were talking about.
The sessions discussed why marriages fail; communication styles; the purpose of marriage/oneness; differences; weaknesses; conflict resolution; physical intimacy (and the differences between men and women in this area); crucial elements of extravagant love, forgiveness, and encouragement; and leaving a legacy. Men and women had one separate session where women discussed being the wife and mother God called us to be. Men had a similar session (husband/father).
There were three projects we were to work on as a couple. These gave us the opportunity to discuss what we were thinking and feeling and open up to each other—communicate.
The very last thing they had us do at the end of the weekend was stand and face each other and recite vows (like wedding vows, though not the same as our original). These were typical wedding vows. It was a chance to recommit ourselves to each other. We also received a marriage contract that we can sign and frame.
What were the biggest things I took away from this weekend?
-I'm a sinner in need of a Savior. I have been forgiven by God and should forgive others.
-I am not perfect. It is totally unrealistic to expect anybody else to be.
-I am incredibly selfish, and I have turned our marriage into "What can I get out of it?" and "What has he put into it?"
-I don't encourage John enough or appreciate him enough. I have not been his cheerleader.
-I don't pray enough for my family.
-We need to pray together more and read the Bible more.
Now, I am speaking for me. I can't tell you exactly what John learned, though I know that this weekend positively impacted both of us.
Weekend to Remember is not a miracle cure. It is a good swift kick in the pants. We needed that. We know that we have work to do, but we are committed to serving each other, encouraging each other, loving each other, respecting each other, praying for each other, and being united. Our kids will reap the benefits of seeing parents love each other and work through conflict. Hopefully those around us will reap the benefits as well.
There were other aspects of marriage that were discussed that need not be presented in an open forum like a blog. Suffice it to say that it was a worthwhile discussion.
I am thankful for those who sponsored our trip. It was a blessing!
I will hopefully write more at some point. I hoped this post would have been much more eloquent. However, 11:30 at night is not conducive to eloquence flowing from my fingertips.