Marriage seminar? No thanks. We’re fine.

Experts differ on the rate of divorce in the United States. Fifty percent is the much-quoted statistic, although the actual rate may be a bit lower. But no matter how you slice it, divorce is a HUGE problem in our society, even among professing evangelical Christians.

My wife and I regularly hang out with a lovely Christian couple who I have mentioned a few times in the past. A couple of months ago, my wife informed me that there was going to be a marriage seminar at this couple’s evangelical church and they had invited us to attend. Argh, I thought to myself. Our marriage is doing just fine, so leave us alone. But what kind of husband would I be if I said no to a marriage seminar, so I reluctantly agreed to attend. Double argh!

My wife and I have been married for 44 years if you don’t count the one year we were divorced back in 2001. I had walked away from the Lord ten years previous to that and my wife wasn’t walking closely with the Lord at the time, either. As a result, our marriage became pretty messed up. The Lord brought us back together in 2002 (Praise God!) but it would be another 12 years before I came back to Him. What a dummy! Our marriage still has some challenges at times (what marriage doesn’t?) so I resolved a seminar would do us both some good.

A couple of months seemed like one hundred years away when I first heard about the seminar, but the event quickly crept up on us last weekend. Right on cue, my wife and I had a little squabble right before the 6:30-8:30 Friday evening opening session. My timing is sometimes superb! The information – mostly via video – was very helpful and inspiring. Most importantly, it was God-focused.

The second session was an all-day affair, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and again, right on cue, my wife and I had a nice tiff prior to leaving home. Argh! It was almost as if the Lord allowed those two timely squabbles so that we would have a humble attitude rather than showing up with an “I don’t need this” pridefulness. Again, the information that was presented was very helpful, inspiring, and centered on the Lord.

The videos used in the seminar were put together by FamilyLife, a ministry of CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). I’m definitely not a big fan of CRU because of founder Bill Bright’s ecumenical tendencies, but the material was Biblically solid. I’m currently reading through 10 pages of the 140-page workbook (photo below) each night as a follow-up. The workbook wasn’t used much during the sessions.

Divorce statistics confirm that marriage relationships need constant, intentional work, but we can easily fall into a selfish rut and take our spouses for granted. This seminar was a real blessing to me and an inspiration to be the husband the Lord wants me to be. If your church sponsors a marriage seminar, I would encourage you to check it out.

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:6-9

 

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15 thoughts on “Marriage seminar? No thanks. We’re fine.

    1. Thanks, Wally. Everyone agrees that a marriage needs regular “work,” but “work” can translate into totally different (and sometimes contrasting) things for a husband and wife. A seminar like this can get both spouses back on the same page, starting with submission to Christ, and of course it’s then up to them both to keep building upon the principles that were covered. We’re both so glad we attended and I laugh now at my initial reluctance.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for this good advice, brother! My husband and I will be wise and take that good advice, if ever there’s a marriage seminar we’ll be there! The marriage I mentioned to you a while back is now heading to court for custody battles. They’re young, in their early twenties with two little ones under two years old. It’s so hard to watch! What do you think is the best way to sure up a marriage, brother? Did the seminar give any tips you thought were particularly applicable?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, sister! Yes, I recommend it HIGHLY. So sad about that young couple and their children. It’s an epidemic and getting worse. Many don’t even want to marry these days because of all the fallout.

      So many takeaways from the seminar. The ones that really stand out for me are…
      1) intentionally “receiving” your spouse completely as the gift from the Lord that they are. This includes their faults as well as their good traits. We tend to focus on our spouse’s faults and magnify them in our minds. Resentment breeds resentment.
      2) strive to be a loving servant to my wife rather than selfishly focusing on whether she is meeting MY expectations. Christ is our example of loving servanthood. My wife should be my second priority after the Lord, but quite often, I’m the King of the Hill in my own mind. If both spouses have the mindset of serving the other, there’s no way that marriage can fail. Encouragement breeds encouragement.
      3) suggestions and rules for open communication. My wife and I have agreed for a long time that we really need a (much) better communication structure for when one of us wants to bring up a serious subject or when we have a disagreement. When I get to those tips (the structure) in the workbook, I’m going to make a copy and paste it on our fridge. It’s funny because we both think it’s the other one who needs to improve on this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, sister, and God bless you and yours as well! I had to chuckle at myself as I was walking down the hall at work today. I love to read books about the topics I am interested in, especially those that pertain to this blog ministry, but, quite revealingly, it never even occurred to me to search for a Christ-centered book about improving/enriching the most important ministry in my life, my marriage.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, the seminar material was very solid. I’m almost done going through the workbook and that also is very good except for a quote from Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, but these days it seems even the most conservative of evangelicals are quoting Chesterton.

      Liked by 1 person

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