09.27.22 | Marriage | by Jon Harris


    As the chair of Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Marriage Ministry Team, I would like to thank the church for the prayers leading up to and during our recent Marriage Retreat. It was a time of great fellowship, food (Thank you, Emily Calloway!), and fun. We believe God blessed our weekend together.
    For those of you who were not able to make it, I would love to share with you some of the takeaways from the couples that did attend, with the hope of encouraging your own marriages or future relationships.
    From the beginning of our time together, our guest speaker, Dr. Jim Coffield, reminded us of the fact that God uses mysterious math when it comes to our marriages. In our marriages, one plus one equals one. Because we believe in the gospel, we know that we are a redeemed people who continue to “stumble in many ways“ (James 3.2) both in our relationship with God and with each other. Therefore, oneness is difficult and requires diligent work. Over the course of the weekend, Jim offered us many helpful thoughts to encourage us as we “stumble toward oneness”.
    Jim put forth the idea that we, as spouses, are stewards of each other’s stories. So, as stewards, knowing each other's histories, we live and care for each other in an understanding way. Jim reminded us that our marriage is a covenant, a promise to do our part regardless of whether or not our spouse does their part. 
    We were also reminded of the high value to be placed on fun in our relationships. Perhaps, what I personally valued the most was the laughter we experienced during our sessions and in our conversations together in the cabins (Some of us laughed until we cried!). There is a joy in our marriages that can flourish when lived out in a covenant community. 
    Jim also reminded us that when the storms of difficult and sometimes traumatic times come, Jesus is in the boat with us and is the one that put us in the boat together. And when faith replaces our fear, we can believe Jesus is bigger than the storms. Along with the storms, Jim suggested that conflict, loneliness, disappointment, and “commonplaceness” (times when we get in a rut) are all inevitable experiences in our marriages. But, through empathy, responsiveness, and doing those things we did early in our relationship to cultivate oneness, we can experience again what Jim called emotional warmth.
    Jim challenged us to consider having marriages where, together as couples, we pursue and invest our lives in things that matter, giving us a sense of high purpose. Jim challenged us to ask each other this vulnerable question: “What is the hardest thing about living with me as your partner?” In our concluding session, Jim challenged us to do something that would “incite change.“  He wanted us to ask ourselves the question: What is it that we can do in our marriage that is concrete, specific, and attainable that will create a positive change in our marriage?
    As we wrapped things up for the weekend on Sunday morning, we enjoyed a worship service together led by Jake Bennett and Todd Gaither. Jake preached on a passage in the Song of Solomon.  He reminded us of the fact that even in our current condition - husbands and wives who struggle with insecurities and inadequacies – we are still called to display and show forth the beauty of each other and therefore the gospel: THE Song of all Songs!   
    Whether or not you were able to attend the Marriage Retreat, I challenge you to consider applying any of these “takeaways” as we all stumble toward oneness in our marriages - by the grace of God and in the community of the Redeemed! 

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