Last March 10-11, 2016, we had an overnight couples retreat with our church family in Doha. It was indeed a getaway from the busy week as me and my wife only intended to be a regular participant, without any special assignments this time. Well, it was quite an experience to do nothing but sit back, relax, learn and enjoy our moment together.
The lessons can be summarized into these 5 commitments: Seek God, Fight Fair, Have Fun, Stay Pure, and Never Give Up. While it may look simple, it’s very enlightening and encouraging especially coming from the couple who facilitated our wedding 3 years ago- Pr. Rouel and Pr. Febs. It is always good to be refreshed every now and then since our busy schedules might make us overlook the simplest, most basic principles of marriage… or any relationships for that matter.
Here’s some of the takeaways we’ve put on our notes to remind us always:
SEEK GOD – since we entered a marriage having a covenant with God more than to ourselves, we shouldn’t do it apart from Him. To make it a part and parcel of our life, we have to intentionally devote a prayer time that will nourish each other’s soul. Pr. Rouel said, it will be difficult to think of doing something bad when you pray together as a couple.
FIGHT FAIR – as the Word said, “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. It was said perfectly that it’s our sense of entitlement that usually drag us into this: that we deserve this and we are ought to be treated like this. STOP, to listen so that you will understand. We couldn’t over emphasize the placement of the comma since a slip would mean… stop to listen.
HAVE FUN – isn’t always limited to one thing (yah know)… but in ensuring that the loving feeling is maintained as you talk face to face (so dating regularly is highly recommended), as you walk side by side with your spouse’s interests, and… the rest is for you to explore.
STAY PURE – not to stay virgin of course, but to be honest towards each other to the point of not feeling any shame or guilt even standing bare naked with each other.
NEVER GIVE UP – as marriage is a mutual decision, always decide together to fight for it no matter what happens.
Just before we head out to sleep in the end of our Day01 session, we were given a task to sort-of renew our vow and make a letter complementing our partner. We realized that affirming each one is also essential as it builds up our partner’s confidence. And even though some may feel awkward to say a good line… like “You look sexy” or “You’re getting more and more handsome everyday”, practice really makes perfect.
And when asked to propose again, I have to immediately think of a better alternative since we’ve decided not to take off our wedding band (as much as possible). I immediately searched for thread and luckily found 2 bottons and tied it (as if saying – let’s stay together). I thought it was a cute thing to put on her finger that time.
Marriage retreat is an investment that we should always take as a couple. That as we journey through our married life, it’s good to be found faithful not only in our promises to one another but also to what God has intended our marriage to be – a birthplace for new generation Christians, and as a blessing to fellow couples or even to singles (for encouragement, prayers, and good testimonies).
While an overnight experience will always be not enough, it’s also best to keep it short for you to crave for more and look forward to more sessions in the future. Kudos to the organizing committee for a job well done and I specifically salute the hosts (Bro Vanns and Sis Carms) – you guys always exceeded our expectations. No other couple can beat you on your chemistry on stage, doing that hosting job with so much fun without comprising a good sense in humor (UP fight!). We are praying with you that your joy will be complete in God’s perfect time.
Congratulations to all our fellow couples who have decided to take time to attend this retreat. Wish we could have more time to meet and talk to other couples too. But it’s great to see new sets and hope to have more interactions after Friday services. Overall, it was an investment that’s worth every penny! HAVE FUN LOVEBIRDS!
other photos courtesy of our official photographer: