Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Amazing Weekend

A few weeks ago FireMan & I attended a Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway presented by FamilyLife.

I cannot say enough about the amazing experience we had at Weekend to Remember. While I was hopeful, we both were, I never expected such a change - in both of us - in only three days.

It truly is an astounding time. From the very first night.

I've thought and tried to write about this several times, and have given it short blurbs on Facebook and Twitter, but nothing I come up with seems to do it justice.

Ugh. Even now, my words fail me. I just don't know how to elaborate on the fact that God transformed our marriage.

So let me just say this: FireMan & I were so moved by our experience, that we separately (then together) felt compelled to become group coordinators for the event.

What does that mean? Well, the title "Group Coordinator" is really a mis-nomre. It simply means that we feel so strongly about the positive effect this ministry has on marriages, that we want to help others go. You don't have to go in an actual group, or even in the same location, at the same time, or even in the same year. But to help you go, if you sign up under our group, you will get a discount of approximately 50% off the registration fee for the conference.

And because I know someone out there is wondering: FamilyLife is a non-profit organization, and this is a 100% volunteer position. Our reward is helping others.

So... if you are interested in attending Weekend to Remember, be sure to join our group (FireFamily) to get your discount. It is well worth the investment, I promise you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm a little nervous

We're going to a marriage conference thingy thiscoming weekend.

And although I'm really excited, I'm also a little nervous.

It's something I've been looking at for... oh... I don't know... probably over a year now.

And every time I'd look at this one, I'd tear up.

I don't even remember how I found it. I think it was recommended by someone on one of my message boards, but this much later, I don't exactly recall.

But I bookmarked the site. And about every 4 to 6 weeks or so I'd look at it. And find myself on the verge of crying. But I couldn't really tell you why.

Which I have always been told is a sign that "it's the one"

Kinda like wedding dresses. You don't get the prettiest one. You get the one that makes you cry.

But I'd look at it, and think about how FireMan would never go for it. Especially when I saw the cost of the registration fee. He'd never want to pay that much for something like that.

So I'd close the site.

Then a few weeks later I'd look at it again.

And so it went. For a year.

And I found a few other marriage conferences & retreats as well. But none that struck me like this one did. Certainly none that made me cry.

Repeatedly. And still.

And I still can't tell you why. If you look at their site, there is nothing there that every other marriage conference website doesn't have. But there's something. There has to be.

I even showed it to FireMan at least once. I doubt he remembers. Because... he ignored it me. Completely. Didn't even acknowledge what I was showing him or saying. Might as well have been showing him a site selling plus-sized maternity pants.

And then... one Sunday back in late Winter we went to church and I was really about to give up. And God stepped in. And my husband has a brain after all.

That very Sunday, when I felt all was lost, it was over, our church announced they would be starting a small group for married couples... a marriage small group. And FireMan said we should sign up.

I may have nodded. I don't even know. I know I didn't speak. I didn't have any words left. He signed us up. I didn't even speak to the people leading it who smiled at me over the sign-up sheets after service. I was that low. I had no words left for anyone.

And so we went.

And it was good.

One of the last sessions, they urged us to attend a marriage retreat - a time when you go away, just the two of you, for the purpose of hashing out your issues (nutshell version). And if you don't feel ready to do it just the two of you, then please attend an organized marriage conference.

They so strongly believe in these activities as ways to strengthen your marriage, that they asked each couple to promise to do one or the other.

And we did.

I also broke into tears that night.

And on the way home I confessed to FireMan that I didn't think we were ready to do a just-the-two-of-us retreat. Not for the purpose of hashing out our issues. Because the truth is I don't trust him to be careful with my heart. Not enough to be just-the-two-of-us baring all.

But maybe we could do an organized conference?

About a week later, I grew a pair and showed him the site again.

He actually looked at it.

Like... looked.

I didn't say anything. Didn't push. I don't think I even really asked at this point. I just showed him.

He seemed open, but didn't really say anything. So I let it go.

I waited a while, and brought it up again. He looked, again.

We talked about going. Maybe. Maybe I could see what dates were they in our area?

Holy crap. They happen to be fairly close to us the same time we have scheduled off for our wedding anniversary.

Coincidence? Of course. Because my God plans my coincidences.

I told him. He said "okay"

Which is really very non-committal.

So I let it drop.

But time passed, and we never committed. I needed to pin it down. If we were going.

So I asked what we were doing for our anniversary. And when he said he didn't know, I asked if we were gonna do the marriage conference. And he said "we can". And I said "Like... I should book it, we can? or... ?"

And he said something like "yeah, I guess we should book it, huh?"

So I booked it.

And even when we realized money was getting tight, my little scrooge never once asked me to cancel.

So I think he realizes it will be a good thing too.

But... back to my original point...

I'm a little nervous.

Because part of the point (according to their website) is to address some of your issues as a couple. And we don't exactly have a great track record of doing that without fighting.

So while more of me is really excited, the closer we get, that little nervous part of me is getting a little bit louder, and a little bit louder...

I'll let you know how it goes. And will review the conference after too, 'kay?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Some Fruit Should be Forbidden (edited)

originally posted on my other blog in 2009

Being one that's always had a lot of male friends, I sometimes think about my relationships and how they may or may not be affected by these friend.

One of the most significant romantic relationships I was in ended suddenly, and I've long wondered how much my male friends had to do with it. Not directly, but indirectly.

At the time my best friend was a guy, and we would often go out just the two of us. We were very close, but we were "just friends". However, people being, well, people, rumors of impropriety abounded, my then-boyfriend expressed jealousies, etc, etc.

Looking back on it, I can see where I made mistakes. Things that I confided in with my male friend I should have been discussing with my love interest. Knowing how things looked, I should have taken more efforts to make my inward commitment to my romantic relationship more outwardly apparent. And so on and so forth.

This isn't to say I don't think you can have friends of the opposite sex. But let's face it, when you have chemistry with a girl friend - you hit it off right off the bat, enjoy each other's company, could talk for hours, etc. - it doesn't have the same implications as when you discover that type of chemistry with a guy friend.

And these implications aren't just those of outward appearances. Maybe you don't care if the world thinks you're cheating when they see out to dinner with a guy that's not your husband, as long as you know.
But what does it do to your relationship? What insecurities might it raise in your husband's mind & heart? Where is your heart & mind? Do you really see this guy as just a friend, or do you let your mind wander to the Land of Something More?

Which brings me to the title of this post: some fruit should just be forbidden.

I have chosen to make these close friendships with members of the opposite sex a Forbidden Fruit in my life for the sake of my marriage.

Do I miss these friendships? Yes. Is my marriage worth the sacrifice? Absolutely.

I'm not saying I don't have guy friends, I certainly do. I just choose not to go out with them alone, just the two of us. The only man I'm interested in being alone with is my husband.

So how is it that this can be good for a marriage, you ask? Well, it's not so much the Fruit, as it is the Forbidden. Because as long as you see it as Forbidden, as long as those relationships make you feel awkward, as long as you continue to keep a check on things and keep checking yourself, it's good. It means that you care about your marriage. Any awkwardness is an acknowledgement of the commitment you have made to another person. And that is a good thing.

When it becomes too comfortable... well that's when you need to worry.

As always, thanks for checking in!