There’s so many things that I took away with me this weekend from our marriage retreat, most importantly that we can’t do it alone, that it’s important to have God guide us and be an essential part of our relationship and also that “love is a verb”. This “love is a verb” comes from Andy Stanley’s book Staying In Love where he talks about how falling in love is easy and staying in love requires a plan, putting your spouse/partner first and your partner/spouse putting you first, and not treating love like a noun.
Before I continue though I want to say how thankful I am to God because thanks to the blessings he’s given us my husband and I were able to enjoy this weekend together and give our marriage some love and nurturing and also to remind ourselves to appreciate and love one another. My mom was kind enough to spend the night at our house this weekend and that gave us the opportunity to be away from Celeste without any worries and for my husband and I to spend this time together.
One of the things that my husband and I really enjoyed were these little papers that they had available for each couple to pick up. The papers had some questions that each couple could ask one another during our free time. It was neat because it opened up different topics of conversation for my husband and I, and I wanted to share some of them here. Maybe it could be something you could use to open up conversation even further with your own partner or spouse.
Describe what attracted you when you first started dating. What stands out, what made you think that this one might be the one.
How was your first year of marriage? How was it different from your dating time? What adjustments did you have to make?
Have you stopped doing things together that once gave you pleasure? Explore these together, what happened, if it is a good thing, bad thing, or just a thing.
What have been the standout moments of your marriage: good and bad.
There were some other questions but I’ll wait to share those in a future post.
Another of my favorite moments was when our church had four couples, ranging in number of years married from 10 – 41 years, share their advice, life stories, and experiences with us. While every relationship is different and no couple is the same or handles situations in the same manner, what’s beautiful about people sharing their stories is the possibility that there will be something that you can take away with you that can later help in your own relationship or give you that aha moment.
One advice that really stuck in my mind was from a couple that spoke about forgiveness and giving yourself grace in your marriage. That when you forgive your spouse you truly forgive and let the wound heal, and that as you feel the wound healing you not re-open that wound. Also how important it is to let God guide you and to pray to Him when you need help in your relationship. Speaking of help, this was another point that stood out to me. One of the couples was the Pastor from one of our church locations and his wife, and he said something that rang so true. That when you are going through a rough patch in your relationship to not be afraid to seek help from someone who can offer help and guidance. He called it picking up the 100 pound telephone, how true is that? It’s so hard to ask for help sometimes but it’s important to break past that wall.
I think my favorite moment though was toward the end of the retreat, when our Pastor had us face our spouse and renew our vows to each other. As my husband and I stood face to face we both got a little teary eyed as we said our vows and it was such a special moment to remind us how much our marriage means to us and that we’re in this for the long haul and that with God’s guidance we can make it through the good times and the difficult times.
Love really is a verb, it requires action and intention from our part, it isn’t always easy and we’re going to go through different seasons in our relationship and the key thing is to communicate, appreciate, and treat our love as a verb. Because every little thing that we do to help our marriage and remind ourselves to appreciate our love and relationship will only make us that much closer and stronger.