I learned a few things last night at the marriage conference that Jeff and I attended.
Before I go any further…I guess I need to assure you that Jeff and I are ok. Our marriage is not in jeopardy. I say that because when we asked our parents if they would watch our girlies so we could attend a marriage conference, they (both his parents and mine) expressed concern that maybe we are having problems. We have had problems in the past. It took me MONTHS to talk about it with anyone…and even longer to talk about it with my mother. But we are ok now. In fact, I’d say our marriage is the best it’s ever been. One more thing and then I’ll get to the part where I share what I learned last night…why do we wait so long to talk about the stuff that is most important? I know for me it was shame and guilt. On the outside I think we were fooling people…maybe not. But by not talking about it…we were only fooling ourselves into believing that somehow it would get better on its own.
ANYWAY…last night. Last night was actually the second marriage conference Jeff and I attended. The first one was at the beautiful Chateau Montebello. Both were based in Christian faith. The biggest difference is that two years ago in Montebello, I slept through the morning session…hungover (today I was somewhat wide-eyed and somewhat bushy-tailed at my new usual, 4:31). I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the back story of how we got to a Christian marriage conference at Chateau Montebello two years ago…before we were even believers…
I had been God-curious for a while by that time…months…perhaps a year or so. I listened to Christian radio from time to time when I was driving around for my job. And that was the time…I mean ONE of the times…that Jeff and I were not in a good place. I started hearing about the conference on the radio…daily (which I now know was no accident). I asked Jeff if he would go with me. He said yes (even though it was faith-based) I was thrilled!!!
Several weeks passed between booking the conference and attending the conference. And in that time…our marriage started to flow again. So by the time that weekend rolled around we weren’t quite as desperate to learn about and save our marriage. So rather than take it seriously…we celebrated a kidless weekend and got massages and drank too much with a bunch of lawyers that we met at their gala we crashed. I don’t think it was an accident that it was a Family Law conference and they were all divorce lawyers (shout out KCool).
Don’t get me wrong…we really did have a great time. We bonded and shared a memorable (mostly) weekend. But when we believed that our problems in our marriage were a thing of the past…we were amiss. We had merely brushed stuff under the rug (yet again)…which is one thing we talked about at last night’s conference…let’s get to that…
Last night was MUCH different than what I just explained. Yes…the setting was different. Yes, the worship team knocked it OUT THE PARK with an electrifying performance to kick things off. But none of that really mattered. Where we were didn’t matter. The music didn’t matter (but it was AWESOME). What mattered was that we were THERE. Like really there. Near the front. Attentive. Engaged. OPEN.
We didn’t sign up because we were struggling in our marriage this time. We signed up because as good as things are…we know that we need to foster that goodness…water that goodness…LOVE ON that goodness. A marriage doesn’t just stay good on its own. We believe it takes two+God (that’s one thing we learned last night ;)).
Here’s the rest of what I took away from last night…in bullet form…straight from the NOTES I TOOK (I didn’t take notes in Montebello):
- Embrace everything for yourself and then become contagious
- My marriage matters
- Proverbs 13:12 (it’s good…I’ll let you look it up)
- Happy + Horny marriage (that’s the goal)
- Oneness does not mean sameness (read that one again…I had to)
- Face-to-Face versus Side-by-Side (a little context…we when get married..and we’re standing at the altar…we stand face to face…we look into each other’s eyes…into each other’s hearts…each other’s souls. And then…before long we find ourselves side by side…rarely turning our bodies to one another…rarely looking into one another’s eyes…hearts…souls. Try facing each other once in a while…or better yet, on the regular…look into his/her eyes and tell him/her you love them…tell them you’re thankful for them…tell them all the things…tell their heart…tell their soul)
- Beware of the barrenness of busyness. (ooooh….that one is goooood….isn’t it?)
- Proverbs 25:2 (this one I needed to be explained…but perhaps you’ll get it right off the bat)
- His grace is more than enough
- Too often we have too much sympathy for others that it prolongs healing (interesting…and I believe true).
I should mention that while the conference was hosted by our church, it was not facilitated by them. We actually had the great pleasure of being enthralled by the story of Bob and Audrey Meisner…told by Bob and Audrey Meisner. They took us on a rollercoaster of emotions. Both Jeff and I laughed out loud and I cried and Jeff ‘got choked up’. Their story started off so relatable…until it wasn’t anymore…until it was practically unbelievable…unfathomable. And they weathered it all…and stood before us to tell of it. We listened with baited breathe…and we can’t wait to do it all over again this morning.
What kinds of things do you do to foster…water…LOVE ON your marriage?