This past weekend our church sponsored a marriage retreat called “Invest In Us”. I am soooo glad we went.
I know there are a number of you who read my blog who weren’t able to go to the retreat, so I thought I’d summarize the speakers’ major points. I hope it blesses you as it blessed us… even if it is second-hand!
(Those of you who went, please feel free to speak up and add in the comments what you learned this weekend! I’d love to hear what your “take-away” was for the weekend!)
The speakers, Bishop David & Yvonne Roller, were wonderful. They had such a passion for God that was so visible and intent that being in the room with them was almost worth the money!! Over and over they shared with us how much God loves us, how important our marriages are to Him, and how our marriages can be a partnership with God to further his Kingdom. So inspirational!
They shared 4 principles for marriage, likening these principles to the four sides of a frame that protects and allows your marriage to flourish inside it. The 4 principles were from 1 Corinthians 10:6-10.
6Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
In this passage, Paul is referring back to some stories in the old testament where the Israelites had sinned, and he says that we should learn from those stories.
Here are the four principles the Roller’s shared and some points they made about each one. I know I’m not doing them justice by my quick bullet points, but hopefully you’ll get the idea. I’m not going to summarize the old testament stories, so you’ll definitely want to get your Bible out and read them so that you’ll have a better application of these principles.
- Discovering God. (from verse 7… which refers to Exodus 32:1-5) Work on discovering God together. God wants to partner with you and will give you a mission if you seek Him. Your marriage needs something outside itself (and outside the family itself) to work towards. If you don’t have that “big” mission from God, you’re more likely as a couple to focus on the little (unimportant) stuff. Don’t trade something BIG from God for a small idol like the Isrealites did.
- Maintain Sexual Integrity. (from verse 8… which refers to Numbers 25:1-6) Decide on and put into practice things in your marriage that will strengthen your intimacy and prevent immorality and infidelity (such as – making decisions not to look at members of the opposite sex or be alone with them, etc.). Don’t say no to one another (1Cor. 7:3-5).
- Take What You’re Given. (from verse 10… which refers to Numbers 16) This is about mutual submission – God’s ideal for marriage. Don’t try to take a “position” that God didn’t give you – as some of the Isrealites did. Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”.
- Stay Grateful. (from verse 9… which refers to Numbers 21:4-8) God has given you each other and you need to be grateful for that!
One of the things that God just smacked me in the face about this weekend was the fact that God doesn’t want us to just co-exist with one another in marriage and “survive”. He wants your marriage and my marriage to flourish! As the Roller’s put it, He wants total “well-being” for our marriages!!
I left there so passionate about the importance of marriage and what God can do in it and through it that I’m still processing all I heard. I think often the pressures of daily life, of parenting, wear us down and we lose that passion. I don’t want to, though! And the more I think about it, the more I think that seeking to discover God ALL the time is the secret to not losing that passion. In terms of how I spend my time, for example, why would I want to trade spending time with the true and living God for, say, watching TV? Why trade the awesomeness of God for garbage? For idols, really. Just think if we lived this way what God could do in us and through us!!
There were also questions that the Roller’s provided for each couple to answer together about the four principles. Here they are…
- How, as a couple, do you keep discovering God? Are you both happy with your process?
- One evidence of discovering God is that He will disquiet you toward growth. Talk with each other about where He may be leading your marriage.
- Are you able to say what you’re about as a couple (how you participate in God’s big plan)? Is this compelling purpose, under God, big enough?
Maintain Sexual Integrity
- Share with each other a favorite memory of shared physical intimacy.
- Share with each other at least one thing you’re doing to keep sexual integrity in your marriage.
Take What You’re Given
- Who speaks into your life with spiritual authority?
- What does mutual submission affirm about your spouse?
- What’s one simple step you’d like to implement, to more fully… submit to your husband as to Christ -or- sacrifice yourself for your wife as Christ sacrificed Himself for the church.
- Are there any ways you can imagine submission bringing freedom?
- What’s one thing you tend to get “bored” of?
- Each of you name your five happiest days.
- How can gratitude affect your decisions regarding your finances (spending, earning, giving, generosity), health, time, vocation, neighbors, opportunities, etc.?
Even if you didn’t attend the conference, I encourage you to “invest” in your marriage by opening your Bible and reading about each of these principles. Pray & think about them, and then answer the questions with your spouse. Dave & I found that the questions really opened up a lot of good conversation about our marriage and where we are headed.
Then start saving so that you can attend next year’s marriage conference!