This morning I woke up realizing an awesome sense of anticipation for this weekend. Tomorrow we're headed to FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember Getaway in Raleigh, North Carolina. Initially I thought it was that those feelings of excitement to spend the weekend with Scott, doing what we love- praying for and encouraging couples as part of the volunteer team. But then I realized that seven years ago, this very weekend, is when Scott and I attended our first Weekend To Remember and how our marriage was blown wide open that weekend!
Yep, it was November 2005, and we had divorced just two months earlier on our 14th wedding anniversary, September 21, 2005. Through a turn of events that only God can orchestrate, in those two short months, Scott's girlfriend kicked him out, he quit his job, left town and chose Christ over himself as he was headed south on I-95 (thank God for radio preachers).
Beginning to sort out what had happened over the course of our marriage seemed too overwhelming, our initial communication was reading and sharing our thoughts on the book Purpose Driven Life each day over email, then phone, since he was in North Carolina and I was still in Connecticut. By the time we were 25 days into that book, we could see the glimmer of hope for the restoration of our marriage. Which is exactly when I said "STOP! We're not taking one more step towards our marriage until we attend FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember!"
Scott called FamilyLife, found a getaway the weekend before Thanksgiving in Philly, PA and registered us. We met there that weekend, not sure what to expect- we hadn't lived together for a year, we'd been divorced for two months, our marriage had been a wreck...but we knew we would find hope that weekend. Was it awkward? Yes, absolutely. Did I have a thousand questions for Scott? Oh yes, although I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answers. But I knew I wanted to hear what God would say through those speakers that weekend for our marriage.
Awkward. We were that couple entering the ballroom, awkward with each other, not holding hands, not sitting closely together, clearly not celebrating years of a great marriage. As we took our seats in that huge room with so many other couples, we felt like the only couple in the room as the speakers welcomed us, then launched into session one Why Marriages Fail: From Throwing the Bouquet to Throwing in the Towel". Scott and I learned how we both had contributed to the breakdown of our marriage.
And then, in session two Can We Talk? Our Communication Toolbox, it was eye opening to learn that we were created to communicate differently, with different styles. We learned how recognizing those differences would help us to better understand each other. It equipped us to listen and express ourselves well!
All Night Long. Friday night, after those first two sessions, we sat up and talked all night long! Having not communicated well for the last 14 years gave us lots to talk about! We tackled a lot of tough issues, we both sought to understand how we had hurt each other, took responsibility for those ways, sought each other's forgiveness, and granted it generously. And of course, the best part of making up is making out- we ended up making out and I got horrible knots in my hair! It blew me away that Scott then spent almost an hour tenderly combing the snarls out of my hair. Then we slept (in separate beds!) for a few precious hours of rest before Saturday morning.
Friday night is tough- you'll hear the ways you've drifted toward isolation in your marriage, but that makes Saturday all the richer, as you hear all the hope of:
- Unlocking the Mystery of Marriage: God's Purpose for Oneness
- From How to Wow: God's Plan for Oneness
- What Every Marriage Needs: God's Power for Oneness
- We Fight, Too: A Conflict Survival Guide,
- Marriage After Dark: Intimacy from God's Perspective
Armed with the hope of Saturday's sessions, we spent the evening out on a date night! It was the first date we'd been on in a really, really, really long time. We kept it simple- dinner and a movie, and had a great time talking and realizing how much we'd changed over the course of our marriage and this weekend, and how much we liked what we were discovering.
Sunday Morning. Through separate sessions Woman to Woman: Embracing God's Wonderful Design and Man to Man: Stepping Up to a Higher Call, we learned the things society won't tell you about being a wife and a husband, how God created us differently to complete each other, not to compete with each other. We learned to be interdependent on each other, not independent from each other. Honestly, I learned how to submit to Scott, and he learned how to lead me.
We came back together for How Marriages Thrive: Essential Elements of a Oneness Marriage and Leaving a Legacy: What Kind of Legacy Will You Leave? to be challenged to change the legacy of divorce we'd started to a legacy of redemption in our lives and marriage to pass to our son. We renewed our wedding vows right then and there, walking out of that last session into the rest of our lives holding hands.
FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember changed our lives, marriage and legacy in November 2005 in Philadelphia, PA. It equipped us to walk through the junk in our marriage, leave it in the past, and build a new, redeemed marriage on God's Word. Was it tough? YES! Is it still tough? YES, because we're still broken people living in a broken world. Is there still hope? YES, every day!
Hope. As we left Philly that day, we agreed that we never wanted to go back to that place of brokenness that lead to our divorce, and that we would attend a Weekend to Remember every year to keep our marriage healthy, to be poured into, and to spend that time focusing on God and each other. We're excited to hear different speakers share the same message of hope that God uses to draw us nearer to Him and to each other! This will be our tenth Weekend to Remember, and I'm just as excited now as I was in November 2005 to see what God is going to do in our hearts!
Have you experienced FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember? Find one and register today! It's not too late! And you can save $$$ on registration when you use group code JOSHUA2415 to register for any Weekend to Remember anywhere in the US.
Have you experienced HOPE? Need to? Tell us about it!
Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!