Well, not exactly. But if you would've asked Steve last week where he was headed last weekend, that's what he would have said. "I can't go turkey hunting this weekend..I'm going to some marriage counseling thing." If you know my husband at all, this will not surprise you.
Now, let me tell you where we really went. I heard about Weekend to Remember from by Bible Study teacher. She and her husband went several years ago and talked about what a great experience it was. It occurs twice a year in our state, once in the fall and once in the spring. After checking into it and securing the help of the grandparents, I told Steve that for my birthday (in March), I wanted to go to the Spring conference in April. Since we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year (in June), I couldn't think of a better year to go. On my birthday, he gave me a card and on the inside he wrote something about booking "that Marriage Conference thing."
Neither of us really knew what to expect. I had not talked to anyone who had been besides my friend. And I didn't pick her brain about it. She said it was great, and I believed her. She did not lie. It. Was. Great. On so many different levels. Here are some highlights:
1. We spent an entire weekend together, just the two of us...no agenda (except the scheduled conference sessions) no children, no computer, no leisure reading, no work ...from Friday at 4:00 until we got home Sunday at 3:30, it was just us.
2. We ate six consecutive meals together...again, just the two of us. SIX MEALS! Honestly, how often does that happen?
3. The speakers were incredible...dynamic, HILARIOUS, transparent, encouraging, and challenging. They reminded us of so many of God's truths about marriage...it was like a refresher course. Or in their words, a "tune-up" for your marriage.
4. The session topics were real. Stuff you deal with daily in marriage. Everything from "Why Marriages Fail" to "We Fight Too" (resolving conflict), to "Marriage After Dark" (take a guess:), to "How Marriages Thrive." There was also a session for women only, dealing specifically with being a wife and mother. And likewise for the husbands.
5. Saturday night was date night. We went to the movies AND out to dinner (and didn't have to pay for a sitter:)
6. We stayed in a hotel for two nights...no cooking, no cleaning, no cleaning, no cleaning...
7. We spent quality time together. Not that our time at home with our precious children is not quality time. It absolutely is. But with no other distractions, we just enjoyed each other's company. Even in the car, even if we weren't talking every minute, it was just nice to be together.
8. I realized that when I am mad and frustrated with Steve, gritting my teeth and digging my fingernails into his arm is not the solution. And yes, I have done this more times than I care to admit. How mature and appropriate of me. And it did not take me going to a marriage conference to figure out that this is wrong. But I hope to control my anger from now on like a good little girl :)
9. We were reminded that God made us so, so very different. Difference is good. It is not my job to change Steve. It is my job to be an enthusiastic encourager to him, to offer genuine forgiveness with humility, and to love him with an extravagant love. An exclusive, expressed, extraordinary love that is a choice, and not always a feeling. There were also a couple of little "surprises" planned by Family Life that truly made the weekend.
10. I laughed a lot. Pretty much all weekend. Between Steve and guest speaker Greg Speck I laughed until I cried.
And, Steve loved it too. I don't even think he regretted not getting to chase after some old turkey in the woods anyway. Or at least that's what he said:)