For our ten year anniversary we went to Winshape Marriage Retreat up in Rome Ga. I would like to take every married couple by the shoulders, look them square in the eye and say GO TO THIS RETREAT. It’s fun, they feed you like a king, and you spend a weekend learning more about the most important relationship we have here on earth. A relationship that EVERYONE needs to take time to intentionally work on, no matter how good or bad your marriage is. Go to Winshape people! Ok enough about that.
The speaker at this particular session was author, Gary Thomas. Wow what a win to visit Winshape while he was there! If you are not familiar with him, he wrote (arguably) THE BOOK on marriage,
He gave the most unique and applicable marriage advice I have ever heard. Without further aidu here it is:
1) Do we really think the media has our best interest at heart?
If we compare ourselves to what we see on TV and the movies (and haven’t we all) then we are comparing our selves to a dream made up by a few imagintive writers whose purpose is to take us AWAY from reality and ENTERTAIN us. Often there is an agenda and rarely is it to strengthen our marriage.
Romantic comedies are sweet. I admittedly thought the notebook was the best movie EVA. But it’s not fair to expect my husband to be all those things I see on TV. After all they are ACTING and let’s be honest, most actor’s REAL Life romances don’t usually last very long.
2) Infatuation doesn’t last
Speaking of movies and TV, isn’t it interesting that the whole plot is based around the couple getting together? Usually the end of the movie/series is a wedding, when in reality that is just the beginning.
According to Thomas research shows us that the infatuation stage can last AT A MAX of 18 months. This is the stage when we just can’t get enough of each other. Everything they do is hilarious and perfect, and we sacrifice work, sleep, and commitments just to be together. Our brains cannot keep this up, this stage simply doesn’t last…It can’t!
Media reminds us of the butterflies and fireworks that were there at the beginning and make us curious if leaving years of memories, life together and true intimacy is worth trading in to feel the infatuation stage afresh (which will AGAIN only last 18 months).
3)Thinking of God as your Father….IN LAW
This is by far my most favorite piece of advise. Thomas explains it this way….
Imagine if you will, I think you are the most amazing person I ever met, I quote everything you say, I read everything you write, I sing songs that praise you and I even give 10% of my income to you. BUT I don’t really like your kids. In fact I talk down to them, treat them disrespectfully and condemn them for doing anything that even sorta gets on my nerves.
Would you want to hang out with me? I mean I do lots of wonderful things for you?
NO!!! I don’t care how nice you are to me, if you are condemning and mean to my children it’s game over. We are no longer friends.
Do you see where I am going with this? My husband is God’s son! His baby boy, the apple of his eye. Just as your spouse is too! For me to be rude and disrespectful to him yet expect my relationship with God to be good is just crazy talk. The scripture says it this way:
husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together….Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7
The same goes for us ladies so don’t think this is a way out since it is addressing men. Peter says when you treat your spouse as your should your prayers will not be hindered. Wow! What insight!
I imagine that one day, I’m going to stand before God, and He’s going to gently talk to me about Bryan. He’ll say, “what did you do to care for my son? How did you love my son?”
It really puts a different spin on things doesn’t it?
4)What if Marriage is more about holiness than happiness?
I had a friend who was getting a divorce tell me, “I’m just much happier outside of my marriage” I couldn’t help but cringe knowing this quote from Sacred Marriage.
What if marriage wasn’t invented just to make us happy?
Marriage is about teaching us to become LESS SELFISH. Lord knows we need it. To change our marriage positively, we each need to PUT OUR SPOUSES NEEDS ABOVE OUR OWN. As we do that, the marriage becomes stronger, we become better people, and you may just find that happiness after all. True love is less about finding the “right person”, but becoming the right person.
5) When you are looking for things to praise, you will find things to praise
One of my favorite things to quote is, “there is good and bad in everyone it just depends on what you are looking for”
This is so true but sometime I get in a rut and have to INTENTIONALLY shift my thinking. You can make a list of the things you appreciate about your spouse. Even if you can think of only one thing, harp on that one thing so much until it makes the bad fade and the good shine. We are not a slave to our thoughts. We can shift our thinking to a positive and thankful attitude.
1,000 gifts is a whole book devoted to the idea of journaling thanks and how it is a complete game changer on perspective.
“What if the greatest act of worship you could do today is to love your spouse?” -Sally Clarkston
And it very well could be. God loves your husband, and He planned for your husband to have someone to help him, to encourage him, to inspire him, to love him. God wants someone to appreciate your husband, and to urge him on in faith and in love. And that someone, that He has especially prepared for the task, is you -borrowed from 7 thoughts that will change your marriage.
Ok now it’s your turn. What is your advice on marriage? Leave a comment below!
We attended a Family Life Weekend to remember when we had been married about 25 years. Although our marriage is very good, we still discovered areas that needed work and came away more joyful and with a stronger relationship. Winshape sounds like it would be just as wonderfully helpful!
The point that resonates with me the most is the question asked by God: What did you do to care for my son? How did you love my son?” Talk about a question that stops you in your tracks!
It relates closely to a terrific marriage sermon I heard just last week. One of the best questions posed was “Are you leaving your spouse better than you found them?