My husband and I just got home from a marriage retreat with 9 other couples from our church. We attended The Real Marriage Tour with Mark Driscoll in Springfield, MO.
"This is my beloved; this is my friend." Song of Songs 5:16
A few months ago, the men in my husband's Bible study were talking about going to the retreat. We thought it sounded like fun and decided to go, but I knew nothing about the event. We bought our tickets and the guys found a "mansion" to stay in, aka a Bed and Breakfast.
It was a "one of a kind" place. I'm more of a hotel type of girl. But it was really fun to stay here. It felt like a true getaway/retreat. We were all able to relax and enjoy our spouses and friends.
Jonathan and I got to Springfield around noon on Friday and met up with 2 of the couples and hung out for awhile at the mall and then checked out all the rooms in the mansion while we waited for another couple to arrive. We then made our way to go out to dinner at a steakhouse. The waiter said "this group looks like trouble" as we walked in and for some strange reason they stuck us in the back of the restaurant. We had a great time talking with the other couples. Lots of stories and laughs were shared. I am excited to get to know this group more. God has truly placed some amazing friendships in my life recently and I am so very thankful.
After dinner, we made it to the conference just as it was starting and found plenty of seats at the very top of the worship room. A few songs to start it off and then out came Pastor Mark. I had never heard Mark speak before, but after laughing for the first 10 minutes straight, I knew we were in for a fun, God-filled time. The first night was 3 1/2 hours long.
The sessions we talked about Friday night were "Friend with Benefits" and "Taking out the Trash."
He talked about being your spouses BEST FRIEND. And I can honestly say I am married to my very best friend. During this session, he talked how husbands like a shoulder to shoulder relationship. Men do relationships by doing things with other people. How often do you see a guy ask another guy to come over so they can sit and talk? No, guys go fishing together, they play games together; they find hobbies to do along side of another person. Ask your husband what he enjoys doing and come along side of him and hang out with him. My husband likes to play video games and he LOVES when I ask to play with him. We also love to work out together. It means the world to him that I go to the Y with him to swim laps so he can train for his triathlon. Ladies, find out what your spouse likes doing and join him! What guy doesn't like to watch football? Cheer on his favorite team!
No complaining and nagging! Get involved in what he is doing... Have FUN and ENJOY each other.
Taking out the trash was all about the SIN in our lives and fighting.
Jonathan and I have a very open door policy in our relationship and tell each other EVERYTHING! On the way to the conference on the 2 hour drive, I started telling Jonathan about some feelings and thoughts I have had but wasn't sure if I ever told him in fear of hurting him since it was kind of a confusing thought. And I had felt guilty for even having this thought. (Sorry for the vagueness.) He was able to open up and share almost the same thought he had had in his past, but had never shared with me either. Wow, marriage can be and should be such an open and safe place to be honest and real.
What I thought was neat was in that second session, Pastor Mark talked about sharing your secret sins with your spouse. I loved that Jonathan and I had already gotten some things off of our chest and were able to love and forgive one another. I truly believe we should have no secrets with our spouse. If you deal with any sin (we all do), but are having a hard time of figuring out if or how to tell your spouse please do you and your spouse a favor and look up Mark Driscoll and his book - Real Marriage! Amazing stuff!
Repent. Forgive. Reconcile.
Day 1 Summary: Laughter, Friends, & Marriage
The night ended and we made our way back to the bed and breakfast. We all hung out until 1 and then went to our rooms to sleep (or whatever) and a short 5 hours later the alarm went off.
I woke up excited to hear more of Mark and enjoy the day with my husband and our friends.
My friend Stacy and me
At the church with 3000 people.
Day 2 was all about SEX. One of the greatest gifts God has given a married couple.
Session 1: Sex: God, Gross, or Gift
Session 2: Selfish Lovers & Servant Lovers
I think one of the most mistaught things growing up had to be about sex. I felt like all I ever heard was: "sex is bad don't have sex..... until your married." And like Pastor Mark said what message are we saying if we say sex is gross and disgusting wait until your married?! We have to get our view on sex to go from having it be our god or gross to a GIFT.
I believe sex is designed for marriage. I love how he said that was one of the most unique differences in a husband wife relationship versus any other relationship. Unfortunately, I did not
believe practice that as a teenager and after getting married it took 3 years to deal with the sin, hurts and wounds that were there from my previous relationships. It took a lot of time, prayer, forgiveness, and patience to begin to look at sex as gross to a gift. But with the help of my husband and of God, I can honestly say I can view sex as a gift from God. I'd say more but my parents read my blog. lol. Sex is good and married people should enjoy it. Mark says God gave it to us for 6 reasons: our pleasure, to make children, for knowledge of one another, protectection against wandering eyes, comfort, and oneness.
I learned a lot at the last session about being a selfish lover or a servant lover. My husband has such a servant's heart. He ALWAYS puts my needs above his own and I never realized until today how selfish I was. It was so easy for me to let him put me first so I always get my way. I learned today that it shouldn't be one servant and one selfish. Marriage is designed to be servant:servant! Jonathan and I had a great conversation afterwards about this. I apologized for being selfish (not just in the bedroom) but by being lazy and letting him serve me and using it as an excuse to get what I want and to be lazy. I want to have a servant's heart towards my husband. I want his needs to be more important then my needs. A satisfied husband is a happy husband.
Verse 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 was highlighted in this topic.
My husband and my marriage are worth putting time and effort into.
If you asked my husband or me at any point in our marriage (these past 5 1/2 years) we would have told you that we had a good marriage! But this past 1 1/2 years, we wouldn't hesitate to say that we have a GREAT marriage. We have grown together so much. We have moved passed hurts and wounds and worked to meet each others needs as often as needed. We have learned to fight together, to be shoulder to shoulder & face to face, and we do life together, through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
My husband told me tonight, "I have never been happier." That's a good thing for a wife to hear.
I wasn't expecting anything out of this retreat except for a fun get-a-way with some church friends, but God had better plans. We took this opportunity to invest in our marriage. We were able to surround ourselves with friends that have Godly marriages & hopefully begin growing lifelong friendships. We took some time away from being Mommy and Daddy and got to be Jonathan and KC - best friends, spouses, and lovers.
I'm already looking forward to the next time.
SO thankful for this crew!!!
If you have the opportunity to go to The Real Marriage Tour, I highly recommend it. If not then I'm sure you can find his book online. I can't wait to dive into it! I look forward to listening to somee of his podcasts, too!
Great, life changing stuff. I encourage you to invest in your marriage and never stop working on it.