by Marcus Wolfe, Immanuel attendee
We committed early in our marriage that we would do something for our marriage every year to keep it strong — be it a conference or speaker, a retreat, a book read together or a seminar. While we have not quite managed to do something EVERY year we have done things many years, and several years ago that something was The Marriage Course offered at Immanuel. We did this not because our marriage was in trouble but because we wanted to keep it strong.
Our typical week was to do our homework for the course together on Thursday evening and then go to the class on Friday night. The Friday night get-together became a glass of refreshing water in an otherwise hectic and busy week. It was something we looked forward to each week — both the class and our time together doing the homework. We carved out date night for 7 weeks, compete with food, drinks and quality time together.
Each Friday night when we arrived, very friendly greeters gave us name tags and took our drink orders for later in the evening. Then we were free to mingle for a little while and enjoy the scrumptious appetizers and beverages that were provided each week — and each week was different! Soon we would make our way into a room that was filled with small tables, decorated with tablecloths, candles & small vases of flowers. Each couple sat at their own table. This was important, as it created an intimate and a very non-threatening environment. We would then watch a video of a couple from Britain with a charming accent, along with short interview clips of other couples who had taken the course or people interviewed on the streets about the topic of marriage for that week. Often the video was quite entertaining as well as informative. While we have been to quite a few marriage seminars and classes in the past, this course offered some new insights and some old information presented in a different way that helped make it new again.
A couple times each evening, the video was stopped to give us all time to work with our spouses on the topic of the evening. We all had workbooks to help guide the conversations. Sometimes the dialogues could get a little challenging, and other times they were pleasurable. But they all helped us learn more about our spouses and helped us understand their background, point of view and desires better. And again, none of this was performed as a group exercise…. Every couple discussed things as a couple and everything was kept private between the two.
During the last section of the video for the evening, delicious desserts and gourmet drinks were brought around for us all to enjoy. Again, each week was a different treat — how did they do it week after week!
Each Friday evening we left the church with food for thought about our own past and current behaviors, as well as those of our spouses. We were armed with methods for discussing difficult topics with our spouse and for breaking down barriers that may have once stood in the way of intimacy.
If God is nudging you to take the course listen to Him. He knows what is coming up and what you need. For us,This course came at an especially stressful time for both of us, and it actually strengthened our marriage. Later in the year we were stretched even further as a couple as we faced foreclosure on our home. We went into that scenario a stronger, more committed couple because we had just finished The Marriage Course.
God has had us both on a whirlwind of growth the last two years, but as we look back on it we recognize the time really started when we agreed to listen to that still voice calling us to this course. From there we went on to do Vantage Point 3, a spiritual journey together in the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 and Jessica went to Mexico on a short term trip in the Summer of 2012. All of these have strengthened us, but they have also required we step out in faith and obedience to what we felt God was calling us to do. So we encourage you, if you are feeling this MIGHT be for you – then IT IS! Listen to God’s calling and invest in your marriage.
Click HERE to register for The Marriage Course! The next session beings January 18, 2013!
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