Power & Compassion Christian Marriage Retreat is the work of Dale Lee [Ed.S. LCPC] & Adi Lee [M.A.], a husband and wife counseling team w/a love for Christ and a passion for helping people.

Nine Powerful Reasons Why Power & Compassion Christian Marriage Retreats Can Help to Heal and Repair Your Marriage


glacier parkA delightful oasis of peace that allows transformation of your mind, hearts, and spirit to take place.

The success of Power and Compassion’s Christian Marriage Retreats comes from our multi-faceted approach to healing. Our unique and proprietary approach to healing combines the latest techniques and advancements in cognitive therapy, a solid foundation of Christ-centered, bible-based relationship principles, and the healing, regenerative power of mother nature.

Power & Compassion’s Christian Marriage Retreats take place in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of northwest Montana near the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. Our marriage retreats provide a wonderful opportunity for you to step out of your hectic, stress-filled world for a moment, in order to experience the peace and tranquility of a Montana mountain escape!

Our marriage retreats include three enriching days of peaceful transformation and rejuvenation in a private, secluded cabin tucked away in a private meadow, just a short 10 minute drive from one of America’s most beautiful national parks, Glacier National Park.

This beautiful cabin getaway will be the personal, private home for you and your spouse during the extent of your marriage retreat. Your private cabin home is well-equipped with all that you will need to enjoy a comfortable, relaxing stay, with some extra special amenities like a cozy fireplace and a deck overlooking a private meadow. You will find dozens of hiking trails, rivers, streams and peaceful mountain lakes within a 20-mile radius of the cabin. And you will have plenty of opportunities in-between counseling sessions to soak in all the beauty of the area and to relax and enjoy Montana’s splendor.

A private and personalized approach to help you encounter God’s presence and love during your retreat.

Our intensive christian marriage retreat, is a private three-day retreat where the entire focus is geared specifically toward you and your spouses specific needs and concerns. Our Marriage retreats are never multi-couple retreats. We work personally, one-on-one with you and your spouse for the entire three-day retreat. This allows us to really hone in on the root of the issues that you and your spouse are dealing with provide solid answers and actionable steps to help you achieve the healing, happiness and wholeness that you desire in your relationship.

Tailored counseling retreat just for the two of you – our focus is totally on the issues you want resolved.

We custom tailor our approach to counseling and relationship therapy based upon your specific needs and relationship concerns. Prior to the commencement of our marriage retreats, we spend a great deal of time learning exactly what issues you are dealing with, where your struggles are, what character and personality types you and your spouse posses and exactly sort of goals and you want to achieve and what obstacles you want to overcome through the marriage retreat process. Then we apply that knowledge toward our counseling sessions to ensure that you are receiving the very best therapy and advice for your specific needs and situation. This unique custom-tailored approach to counseling ensures that you receive precise answers to your specific questions and concerns and real, actionable methods and techniques that will enable you to work through and overcome the difficulties and obstacles that are putting a strain on your marriage.

You will obtain understanding of the communication patterns that have emerged in your marriage and how marital discord escalates in your relationship.

Healthy communication is such a large part of a good marriage relationship. For this reason we devote a significant portion of our intensive counseling sessions to helping you and your spouse to learn and better understand each others communication patterns. When you have a better understanding of how your spouse communicates, And what they are really trying to say between the lines, Then you are in a better position to receive from one another, relate to one another, and respond to one another with love and understanding.

You will obtain greater appreciation of your spouse’s uniqueness and strengths.

Many past clients of ours say that spending a few days at our marriage retreat is almost like being introduced to their spouse all over again. Our intensive retreats are designed to help you discover new qualities about your spouse that you maybe didn’t even know existed before. As well as to gain new perspective on the characteristics and behaviors that you were already aware of but maybe didn’t understand, and to recognize and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness therein.

Throughout our intensive retreat you will obtain a greater knowledge and understanding of who your spouse is. You will discover what makes them act the way they do, and you will learn the reasoning and logic behind the things that they say and the way that they behave. As a result, you will develop a greater appreciation of what makes your spouse unique, and you will be in a better position to replace your own anger and apprehensions with grace and compassion.

You will become experts on how to resolve marital discord and gain benefits from conflict.

Our proprietary counseling techniques will teach you proven methods and strategies for dealing with marital conflicts and empower you to find the grace and strength to overcome any obstacles that would try to tear your relationship apart. You will gain a new perspective on conflict and learn how to use conflict to your benefit as a catalyst that will actually draw you and your spouse closer, rather than creating a divide.

Learn to become a Christ-centered success team to allow your marriage to flourish.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7  Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.
Solid biblical principles and a Christ-centered faith are the cornerstone of everything we do, and everything we teach and share through the Power and Compassion Christian Marriage Retreats ministry program. Our solid belief is that Christ must be the center point of every strong, loving, and lasting marriage relationship. It is that foundational principle that all of our counseling is based upon. Our system will teach you how to recognize and maintain Christ as the center of your marriage and allow all of your other relationships to flow out of that central principle.

Receive compassion and care from a Christian counseling couple – licensed counselors who serve you as a married team.

With Power and Compassion Christian Marriage Retreats you receive the benefits of working with not one, but two licensed counselors with many years of hands on experience helping a multitude of couples find healing and restoration from their troubled marriage relationships. Both Adi and myself are licensed counselors in the state of Montana (M.A. LCPC). There is an undeniable benefit that comes from working with a husband and wife counseling team during your Marriage Intensive Retreat.

Working together as a team allows Adi and I the unique ability to relate on a personal level with both you and your spouse and the unique struggles and difficulties that each of you are dealing with. This allows us to provide each of you with cohesive, custom-tailored advice from a position of familiarity and respect. This multifaceted approach plays a key role in helping you and your spouse to quickly overcome the obstacles that have been holding you back, and to find love, respect and common ground on which to build your loving relationship upon moving forward.

An in-depth, comprehensive, experience orientated 3-Day intensive retreat with the power to change your life.

Our comprehensive 3-Day retreats are in-depth, thorough intensive experiences that have the power to change your marriage relationship and your life. These powerful marriage retreats are based on many years of experience and in-depth training in cognitive therapy and solid biblical study of Gods word. We have devoted our lives to helping married couples turn their broken-down and dysfunctional relationships into beautiful, respectful, life-long commitments of love and passion, where Christ is at the center.

Find out more about Power and Compassion’s three-day Christian Marriage Retreats by calling us at 406-253-6427 or by visiting us online at http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net We look forward to meeting you and helping you to achieve the quintessential marriage relationship that you desire!

Our House is Your House

Marriage Retreat CabinThere are critical transition points in a relationship when only the most qualified professional help can guide you to fulfill, the awesome potential that God has for your marriage.

 
What the enemy fears he tries to destroy. Marriage is a place where God can put on display his intense love for his children, as they partake of covenant in a passionate love relationship between a man and women.

So why choose us?

Because we are a married couple vested in your success. For this reason, we have worked relentlessly for many seasons, in the trenches of marital discord and know the way through. We have helped take the burrs and heal the wounds of couples in despair.

We have delighted in the joy of seeing hearts be healed and watching couples learn to become a team, with the knowledge necessary to maintain the marriage they desire and that God intends for them. Our cabin is in a delightful meadow surrounded by old growth trees. It is a place of incomparable peace. Most couples say that when they enter the cabin they feel the weights on their shoulders begin to roll away.

We practice the Spanish saying of “mi casa tu casa” Simply stated “our house is your house” . It is a place of hospitality, were together we enjoy fellowship and we see our Lord come and do the transformational and healing work that only He can do.

Come to our 3-day intensive retreat, we love to meet you as we encounter the Lord together.

The international airport is only 20 minutes away from your retreat cabin door and Glacier National Park is your next door neighbor.

Interdependence: The Secret To A Healthy Relationship

married coupleRomantic relationships are a peculiar thing. They can be deceiving at times. They can be painful and difficult. They can be heartbreaking. They can also be comforting. They can be fulfilling. They can be the source of ultimate joy and satisfaction in our lives.

How can one connection with one human being be so dramatically different and emotionally diverse? How can a relationship be, at one moment so ideal and so full of elation, and at another moment be the source of our greatest heartache and misery?

For the answer to that question, we need to dive a little deeper into the ingredients that make up a relationship. We need to discover what makes a relationship spark and develop. Only then can we discover how to make it persist and grow stronger.

What causes a relationship to spark?

To answer that question, lets first consider what a relationship is. A relationship begins when two human beings find themselves at a point where they start to recognize that they have an inherent need for one another. When a person begins to feel an emotional connection for another person of the opposite sex… a connection that is so strong it causes them to start casting aside their own desire for independence and replacing it with an interdependence on this other person, that is when a relationship is formed. It is that point when a man or woman transitions from being concerned only about their own well-being, and realizes that his/her true happiness and contentment is actually dependent upon the presence and acceptance of this other person in their life.

This interdependence is a good thing. It is what makes relationships work, it is what makes relationships strong and healthy. When this interdependence is functioning correctly, under the glow of love and affection, it causes us to act unselfishly, it causes us to desire not only what we can get from our partner, but also what we can give to them to ensure that their needs are being met.

For this metamorphosis to occur. For a man or woman to transition from a self-serving life of independence, to a cohesive life of interdependence, there are several ingredients that need to be present.

First of all there must be attraction. Attraction is that spark that fires when you first look at that person of the opposite sex, and you like what you see. The hair color… the flirtatious eyes… the shapely body… the way that they carry themselves… or their confident nature. Whatever it is that makes you stand up, take notice and say…”wow… this one is different than the rest, and I have to find out more”! Attraction is the sensual ingredient in a relationship.

The second ingredient is acceptance. When attraction is felt by both sides of a burgeoning relationship, it develops from a platonic friendship into a deeper relationship of romance and intimacy. As intimacy develops and a couple begins to spend more and more time together talking, and sharing their thoughts and emotions, their connection grows deeper and the walls that they had built up begin to crumble as they begin to develop feelings of love for one another.

The final ingredient is gratification. When true acceptance of one another is felt, love becomes more than just a warm fuzzy feeling, it becomes a yearning to satisfy and fulfill the needs and wishes of your significant other. Attraction and acceptance escalate into desire and passion and you soon find that you cannot find fulfillment unless you are in the company of your partner. That is why dating couples spend so much time together, their passion and desire for each other is high and the only way that they can satiate that desire is to be in each others company.

A relationship of interdependence is a healthy relationship. A relationship that is balanced and interdependent means that both individuals have a healthy need and desire for their partner, both for what they can receive from them, as well as what they can impart to them. A healthy relationship should balance somewhere in the middle of dependency and independence. There should be a strong need for the closeness and intimacy of your partner, but that dependency needs to have the counterbalance of independence where you have a life outside of your romantic relationship as well. Perhaps spending some “me” time with your friends, or just some quiet time alone pursuing your own hobbies and passions.

Too strong of a dependency in your romantic partnership can lead to unhealthy bonds. A relationship in which one or both individuals becomes too dependent upon the other for their happiness and fulfillment will often results in one of the partners in a relationship becoming overwhelmed and defensive and looking for an escape. Or worse, it could escalate into obsession and abuse.

Why do relationships die?

We have established now, how relationships are formed. We know that it is a progression from initial attraction… to mutual acceptance… to ultimate gratification. So it stands to reason that if we let our guards down, or become to “familiar” with our relationship and start taking it for granted, then we could inadvertently allow that process to start moving in reverse order. And when that happens, the relationship begins to crumble.

When two people become complacent in their relationship and begin taking one another for granted, they will often begin to progress backwards allowing their interdependence to fade, and letting their love and passion die out. When this happens the promises and commitments that you made at the altar begin to feel distant and shallow. Your desire can begin to decay into annoyance, and your love can degrade into hate.

A progressive dissolution from interdependence to independence by one or both partners in a marriage, will most likely result in one of three inevitable outcomes.

Acquiescence: A scenario where neither partner receives much physical or emotional pleasure, from the relationship anymore, but the two stay together merely for the sake of their children, their beliefs, or to save face in their community, etc.

Adultery: One of the individuals in a marriage breaks their marriage vows and seeks to have their physical and emotional desires fulfilled in a relationship outside their marriage.

Divorce: Frustrations, arguments and resentment boil over into anger and hatred, and one or both individuals in a relationship decide that their marital problems are too complicated to work through together and instead they choose to cut the knot and separate regardless of the consequences.

This dissolution from a healthy relationship of love, respect and interdependence to one of passivity, resentment and independence should never happen, and it doesn’t have to. The key is to…

1. Always keep your priorities straight: (God first; Spouse/family second; Yourself third)

2.Realize that love and respect for your spouse is not always going to be something that comes easy, or something that you “feel” like doing, but it is what you are called to do, and it is what you vowed and made a commitment to do at the altar. You will find that as you walk out that commitment, and love your spouse, even during the times that they may not deserve it, and you don’t feel like doing it… if you just continue to love anyway, soon those actions will reciprocate and you will find that those feelings of love and affection will return.

3. Stay vigilant. Keep an eye out for the weeds of discontentment, passivity, and anger and make sure to pull them out and throw them away while they are still small and manageable. If you are having doubts or problems with any area of your marriage relationship make sure you sit down and talk about it with your spouse while it is still a relatively small issue. Don’t point fingers, condemn, and place all the blame for the situation on your spouse. That will only escalate and elevate the problem. But be sure to let your spouse know how the situation makes you feel and that you want to work through it before it creates any strife in your relationship.

Finally, if you feel that you or your spouses love and affection in marriage is starting to slip away, don’t be afraid to start over.

Take a look at who you are now and ask yourself honestly, am I being the same person towards my spouse that I was when we were young and in love? If you need to change the way you dress or act around your spouse or in order to bring the attraction back, do it! Rekindle the attraction that you once had for each other.

Be sure to schedule ample amounts of time together…dating, communicating, taking walks together, holding hands and touching each other. This will serve to reestablish trust in your relationship and the kind of acceptance that you need for a healthy interdependence.

Sacrifice your own agenda now and again to bring benefit and gratification to your spouse. When you stop being so concerned about always getting your own way, and start loving your spouse by putting their needs first a little more often, you will be surprised the impact that it will have on both their emotions and your own.

To learn more about how you can build a strong foundation of love and interdependence in your marriage, attend a weekend retreat at Power & Compassion’s Christian marriage retreats in northwest Montana. Not only will you love getting away to Montana for a couple of days, but you will come away with a greater love and respect for your spouse and your marriage as well. Call 406-253-6427 for more details or visit http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net

The Benefits of Power & Compassion’s Christian Marriage Retreats

wedding ringsPower & Compassion’s christian marriage retreats are a great way to get away with your spouse and strengthen and reinforce your marriage. There are many reasons for attending one of Power & Compassion’s marriage retreats. They can be a great form of pre-marriage counseling for new couples, they’re also very effective in helping couples maintain a healthy spiritual and emotional connection even as their relationship matures. And if you ever find yourself in the midst of troubled waters in your marriage, attending a marriage retreat can be just the solution that you need in order to navigate the storms that come into every marriage from time to time. Dale and Adi Lee M.A. LCPC are fully licensed therapists who can help you and your spouse wherever your marriage needs it.
 

The multi-day intensive marriage retreats take place in a private log cabin nestled in a picturesque meadow not far from Glacier National Park in Montana. These are not multi-couple group events… these are one-on-one sessions where you and your spouse will receive the full attention and support from your licensed and professional counselors. The intensive nature of these marriage retreats has a profound effect and will teach you and your spouse how to move past any strife and difficulties you are facing, and learn to reconnect and communicate effectively.
 

Your professional support doesn’t end after your multi-day retreat is over either…Dale and Adi have an online blog to help remind you of what you learned long after your visit, as well as other tools that can help your marriage stay strong and healthy as you merge back into your everyday life.
 

Dale & Adi Lee provide counseling for affair prevention and repair, covenant contract marriage, blended family concerns and much more through their work at Power & Compassion Christian Marriage Retreats. They can even provide bilingual counseling (Spanish). They love to see marriages strengthened and restored. Their private and personalized approach will help get your marriage back on track.
 

The best times to consider Power & Compassion retreats are:

    • Before marriage. Pre-marriage counseling can help place strong building blocks for the early stages of your marriage.

    • When communication becomes difficult. It’s best not to wait until communication breaks down completely, but Power & Compassion can help with that too.

    • When there is temptation of or existence of an affair. It is possible to learn to forgive and overcome temptation, you just need to reconnect with your spouse to find the strength.

    • When your spouse becomes the stranger in your home. If you just feel distant and want that loving bond you had when you first became married.

    • When fighting takes control. If you can’t find a way to work out your disagreements, you owe it to yourselves and your children to try to work it out.

    • When you think the only solution is to call it quits. You owe it to yourself and your family to at least try to work it out.

    • When you feel you have to stay together for the children. It’s of no use to stay together and fight in front of your children, since it does more harm than good for them to watch. However admirable this option is, it can be nice to have a third party mediate when you can’t see eye-to-eye, so you can work things out peacefully for the sake of your children.
       

Whatever your reasoning is to consider marital counseling, consider Power and Compassion’s weekend marriage retreats. Learn to love your spouse again and learn to love your marriage. Come learn to cherish each other and discover how to work through even the toughest of life’s lessons in marriage.
 

Visit our marriage retreats information page to learn more about our intensive marriage retreats and what we can do to help improve your marriage.
 
 

Five Fun and Inexpensive Date Nights To Keep Romance Alive

couple on beachDating your spouse can be very rewarding. It can lead to getting to know each other better and improved communication. In our hectic society, it can be difficult and often expensive to simply go out on a date. Here are a few ideas to incorporate dates into your crazy schedules to help you get closer to your spouse.

 

  1. The Picnic – This doesn’t have to be the traditional blanket on the grass in the park and you don’t have to cook. If you do choose to cook, it will be cheaper still. My wife and I have found that we love to run to the grocery store or farmers market, pick up sandwiches, drinks and snacks and then head for a drive along a scenic highway. It will cost very little and you can see the beauty of God’s Earth along the way. We tend to eat as we drive and stop on occasion to take pictures.
  2. Local Art – This one can be tricky. How do you not get roped into buying the art? We love to go to one of the little neighboring towns in the county where we live. It was once a thriving fishing village along the lake that has since been transformed into an artsy little resort village. Everyone with any talent that doesn’t have a ‘manager’ sets up shop in this quaint little town. We swing by Starbucks and grab a drink for each of us, or you can take your own, and just walk up each side of the street. We take our time, looking at the art they have on display in the windows. With little to no traffic, we can judge the art without other people trying to push us to buy it. If we decided we like a piece, we wait until morning. If we still like it in the morning, we might go back and buy it. This prevents compulsive shopping and allows us to recognize how the other person perceives the world around us.
  3. Run Away – When one of us is feeling in the dumps, we will run away to one of the other nearby towns. Many times, we get so used to our hometowns that we forget that there are other towns nearby with different shops and scenery. A fun and exciting way to decide where to go, is one of you hold a map. The other person closes their eyes and points. As long as the better navigator is driving, you shouldn’t get lost. Take this opportunity to get to know each other a little better. When driving, there is nothing but the two of you and the open road. You’re on your own adventure with each other, so make it memorable.
  4. Local Festivals – Though it’s not a fancy restaurant or going to a movie or concert, there is plenty of entertainment for very cheap at a local festival. My spouse might have to drag me kicking and screaming to the latest musical performance at the local performing arts center, and I will equally have as much trouble getting her to go to the Hot Rod Show and Shine. But each of us will gladly make the compromise if it means we can bring a little extra happiness to our spouses day, and it is a great opportunity to get to know our spouse better and find out what makes them tick. Remember…the worst thing for a marriage is to build illusions of who you think the other person is or should be. By going with them to experience something they like, you get to know them and learn to appreciate them for who they are.
  5. Hiking/Walking in the local park – Walk around the whole park and find the perfect spot to sit and talk. There’s no time like the present to start practicing communication. You may have your whole lives ahead of you, but communication can break down in the blink of an eye. Practice now and practice often to add strength to your marriage. Our spot is near the smallest of the waterfalls at the local park. It has a gazebo and since everyone insists on sitting and watching the largest waterfall in the park, no one bothers us. Remember, for your marriage, communicate often and take time to spend time together. You don’t need to break the bank to do it.

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Dale & Adi Lee operate Power & Compassion Christian Counseling in Kalispell Montana with a heart for helping couples, families and individuals work through their problems and difficulties by providing knowledgeable counseling advice through the lens of Gods word.  Their real passion is for helping couples to build strong marriages, by teaching them how to communicate effectively, build strong romance into their marriage and teaching them how work through the times of martial strife and difficulties through christian principles and effective counseling.  You can learn more about their marriage counseling services by visiting http://www.christianmarriageretreats.net

Gods Example of Love and Life

God's example for man “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” Genesis 1: 27-28

Indeed God did make Man after His own image. He gave us the right and ability to make our own decisions, to choose death or life, to live by fear or faith, to choose to hate those around us or to choose to love those around us… but God didn’t just stop with creating us and setting two choices before us. He followed up with His creation by telling us exactly how to live…

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land…” Deuteronomy 30:15-18

God spells it out pretty clearly in Deuteronomy. We have two choices we can make…life or death…blessing or curse. And He tells us to choose life and to choose to love! But then God went even one step further than that, by actually showing us how to live, by becoming a living example of what we should be. God took on human flesh and lived among us on this earth for three decades in the person of Jesus Christ, and he lived a life of love and compassion and overcoming power that we are supposed to pattern our lives after.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1”

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6”

As I ponder this subject, I am reminded again of something that Mike Mason said in his exemplary book “The Mystery of Marriage: Meditation on The Miracle*”…

“Forming a relationship with us that is far deeper than anything we can possibly know among people is the way God has of challenging and inspiring us to yearn for this same divine depth in all of our human friendships. Were it not for the profound and intuitive knowledge of the Lord in our hearts, we could not know what depth of relationship is and would never miss or long for it on the human level. And so the very distance we feel from the person we love most dearly may be, paradoxically, a measure of the overwhelming closeness of God.

Such closeness is not something we have chosen for ourselves, nor ever could have chosen, any more than we could have chosen to be alive in the first place. Such choices are, however, ones that we can grow into, and there is a sense in which they become more and more our own choices the older we get.”

God created us to be and live in His image. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be a living example of how we ought to live and conduct ourselves in this life and how we should love and relate to others. He left us with His holy and inspired words (the Bible) so that we would have a written plan, a blueprint, and a resource of unquenchable power with which to live our lives in abundance and strength. And then He did something unfathomable…unbelievable…and unmistakable…He actually came down to earth to live inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us with the ability to live the life He demonstrated for us to live. God knew we were to weak to live this life on our own power and accord, so He gave us his own spirit to live inside of us and strengthen us and empower us to live beyond our own means.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15”

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11”

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:15 & 12″

It is absolutely amazing and astonishing, the love that God has shown to us, and how He chose to love us first. Even when we hated and despised Him, still God chose to love us, accept us and even go as far as to lay down His life for us.

“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ loved us and died for us. Romans 5:8”

We are meant to live with the same love pouring out of our own lives, whether that be towards our spouse, our children, our friends, or our enemies. We are called to love as Christ loved. We have been given the commandment to do so, the instruction to do so, the example to follow and we have been given the power within to walk that love out on a daily basis.

Marriage is a God-designed plan for helping us to get a little better understanding of what a true love relationship is. It is meant to help us see and understand Gods own powerful love for us His church.

Once again, listen to what Mike Mason has to say regarding the subject…

“Marriage is one of the great steps we can take in the direction of choosing for ourselves what has really already been given to us: It is a choosing of the closeness of God, in the form of a close relationship with another person. It is a deliberate choosing of closeness over distance, of companionship over detachment, of relationship over isolation, of love over apathy, of life over death. It is not a choice that comes to us at all naturally. It can come only supernaturally, by the divine agency of love. For love is what makes choice possible. But more than that, it is what makes it possible for people to choose what is good for them, even though that is not their natural inclination.

To put it simply, marriage is a relationship far more engrossing than we want it to be. It always turns out to be more than we bargained for. It is disturbingly intense, disruptively involving, and that is exactly the way it was designed to be. It is supposed to be more, almost, than we can handle. It was meant to be a lifelong encounter that would be much more rigorous and demanding than anything human beings ever could have chosen, dreamed of, desired, or invented on their own. After all, we do not even choose to undergo such far-reaching encounters with our closest and dearest friends. Only marriage urges us into these deep and unknown waters. For that is its very purpose: to get us out beyond our depth, out of the shallows of our own secure egocentricity and into the dangerous and unpredictable depths of a real interpersonal encounter.”

When you really stop and comprehend what God’s design for real marriage is. When you come to understand that marriage was to be a type and shadow of God’s plan for the love and redemption and salvation of his church. And when you actually stop and think of how great Gods love and forgiveness for us is, how can you not recognize just how serious and binding the commitment of marriage is. When we say our vows and make the promise to our spouse to love and cherish till death do us part, it is not a small commitment. It is a reflection of Gods plan of salvation for you and me!

Marriage can be hard, it can be complicated, frustrating, disheartening, and infuriating at times…it is supposed to be. It is meant to be one of the most enriching and fulfilling as well as the most stressful and trying aspects of our life. It is meant to captivate all of our senses and lead us right up to the point of brokenness at times. It is meant to turn us again and again to God for His guidance and help. It is meant to remind us of how much God loves us and how great a sacrifice He made to love us and give His life for us while we were yet sinners.

How many times have you spit in Gods face? How many times have you refused to do what He has asked you to do in love? How many nails have you driven into His hands and feet? How many times have you failed Him, turned your back on Him and refused to answer His call?

Aren’t you glad that Gods loving kindness, forgiveness and mercies are never ending!

Imagine if God gave up on you. Imagine if God said He wanted a divorce. Then what hope would any of us have?

Praise God that His love is much deeper than that, it is deeper than anything we could ever comprehend, and it is our example for love and life.
Choose life, choose love, and let Christ be your example and let His spirit your power and your guide.

If you and your spouse are struggling in your marriage, we want to help! Visit our website to learn more about our Christian Marriage retreat services and learn how we can help set your marriage back on a path to love, strength and happiness!

* Mason, Mike (2010-11-03). The Mystery of Marriage 20th Anniversary Edition: Meditations on the Miracle (p. 48). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A Closer Look At The Five Love Languages

The five love languages and marriage[Strengthening Your Marriage With The 5 Love Languages - Part 2]

Last week we discussed the true value and importance of love and why it is important to learn which of the five love languages your spouse most identifies with so that you can effectively communicate your love to them in a way that will make them feel special and appreciated.  This week we are going to delve in deeper and take a closer look at the five love languages.  I will teach you how to discover what your spouses love language is, and how to communicate that love to them in a genuine and practical way.

It is not so important that you and your spouse identify with the same love language, what is important is that you take the time to learn what your spouses love language is, and that you make it a habit to communicate that love language to your spouse as often and as purposefully as you can. The point is, if you want your marriage to stand the test of time and continue to grow stronger throughout the years, then you need to make it a daily practice to speak your spouses love language to them as often as you can, and not begrudgingly, but from the heart.

With that in mind, lets take a closer look at each of the five love languages mentioned above…

Words of Affirmation

Some people experience the greatest feelings of love and emotion from being praised for the good things they do, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem. In fact, if you notice and compliment them on the small things, that will actually have the greatest impact on them and show them that you really love and appreciate them in a profound way.

How this looks practically:

Wives, does your husband work hard at his job to provide food and shelter for the family? Let him know that you appreciate his effort. Tell him on a regular basis how good it makes you feel to know that you are secure and well-cared for because of his dedication and sacrifice. Does he take out the trash without you having to ask repeatedly over and over again? Tell him that you are thankful for his thoughtfulness and let him know that his efforts are not going unnoticed. These may seem like ordinary routine things to you, but when someone is noticed and praised for their good works, it will often lead to a greater desire on their part to do even more good in return.

Husbands, does your wife do an amazing job taking care of the kids? Does she keep a clean house and make sure that you never leave for work in the morning on an empty stomach? Make sure she knows how much that means to you! Tell her how great the house looks, tell her how proud you are of the children and how great a job she is doing in raising them. Or maybe your wife is holding down a regular job in order to help pay the mortgage and feed the family. If that is the case, let her know how much her contribution helps and how proud you are of her for what she does. She need to hear that she is doing a good job, and that her contribution is helpful and important.

As you provide these affirmations to your spouse, watch his/her emotions and read how they respond. If words of affirmation is one of your spouses primary love languages, you will know it. Their eyes will light up when you compliment them for their work, and they will respond with love and affection back towards you.

Acts of Service

For some people, words are not enough. Maybe they have been lied to and deceived to much in the past, so they are distrusting of mere words, or maybe their self-esteem is low, so they just don’t accept words of encouragement and affirmations very well. Whatever the case, sometimes, in order to show your love in a way that your spouse will respond to you have got to put some action behind your words.

Instead of just telling your spouse that you appreciate the dinners that they make every night, maybe you should offer to lend a helping hand in the kitchen, in addition to telling them how much you appreciate their service. Tell them how delicious the dinner is, but also offer to clean the kitchen up after dinner.

If your spouse works hard at their job everyday, maybe you should show them how much you appreciate their diligence by preparing a special evening for them when they get home, complete with a candlelight dinner and a back-massage.

Try to think of little ways that you can put action behind your words when you want to tell your spouse how much you appreciate what they do.

Again, remember to watch how they respond to these acts of service, as you are doing them. If your spouse really responds with an upbeat demeanor and reciprocal feelings of love and affection, then you know that you are on the right track!

Receiving Gifts

Gift giving is a natural extension and expression of love. When you love someone you just want to give them good things to express that love. For some people, receiving heartfelt gifts is their primary love language. If your spouse is a person who’s primary love language is receiving gifts, then you will see their face light up with exuberance each time you give them something special, whether it is on a birthday, holiday or ‘just because.’

The gifts you give don’t necessarily always need to be expensive gifts. In fact often times the more simple and heart-felt gifts speak the loudest. A homemade card that says “I Love You” … a couple of flowers that you picked from the garden, or a single rose that you purchased from the corner market on the way home from work. Perhaps it is just a coffee, or a special lunch or dinner out that you treat your spouse to some day during the week. These types of things speak volumes to the person who’s love language is receiving gifts. Make sure you give these special gifts not just on special occasions, but other times as well. If receiving gifts is the love language your spouse identifies with then I recommend you do special things for your spouse often, and for no apparent reason.

Quality Time

Time is one of our most precious resources in life. We only have a finite amount of it to work with, and it seems there is never enough of it in any given day. For these reasons, and because of our own selfish nature, we often times neglect giving quality time to those that we love. However for some people, spending quality time together with you and receiving your undivided attention is the only way that they will really feel your love. Notice I said ‘undivided attention’ that doesn’t mean simply going to the game with your spouse, or sitting down and watching TV for an hour with your spouse. For the individual who’s love language is spending quality time with you, those kinds of activities, even though done together, simply is not going to cut it.

If your spouse is a ‘quality time’ kind of person, you need to shut off the TV and the cell phone and go for a walk together in the park. Talk. Share what’s on your mind, and listen to what is on theirs. Have a quiet candle-lit dinner together. Or just carve out an hour or two in your day after work to kick back on the sofa and talk, or snuggle. The important thing to remember is your spouse needs to connect with you on a personal and intimate level. He/she needs to know that you find them valuable, more valuable than the one-hundred and one other things that you could be doing with your time. You need to take drastic measures to prove to them that this is true, and that means doing whatever it takes to give them your undivided attention for however long it takes.

Physical Touch

Touch has always been an important part of romantic relationships, and relationships in general. We coddle little babies, we hug our children, we kiss and caress our spouses. Infants learn to recognize feelings of love from a parents touch long before they ever learn or understand the meaning of the word love. Touch cuts straight through the noise and confusion of this world and speaks straight to the heart with the message of love.

When it comes to marriage love can be displayed through physical touch in many ways including kisses, a loving embrace, holding hands as you walk, or caressing the back of your spouses neck. It can be touching your partners knee as you are driving or sitting together, or something as powerful and intimate as sexual intercourse. Touch is a powerful emotional connection in any relationship, but for some, it is the single most important way that they feel and experience love.

Once again, with this love language, as with all of the aforementioned ones, watch closely as you communicate your feelings of love to your spouse through touch. If this is the love language that most clearly communicates your love to your spouse, they will let you know know it. They almost immediately light up and get emotional as you begin ‘communicating’ with them on their level. And they will begin to reciprocate that love back towards you in their own way.

One last thing before we close down this article. As you are talking with your spouse, don’t be afraid to open up and share with them what your love language is. Let them know by saying “You know I really love it when you { insert your love language here }.” And encourage them to share their feelings and emotional desires with you as well.

In order to have a strong and passionate marriage and romance, it is vitally important that you discover what your spouses love language is and practice communicating your love to them using that language in the most honest and genuine way possible.

You can learn much more about how to effectively communicate your love to your spouse by attending one of Power & Compassion’s Christian Marriage Retreat weekends. Learn more by visiting our main website here.

How To Strengthen Your Marriage With The 5 Love Languages

The five love languages and marriage[Strengthening Your Marriage With The 5 Love Languages - Part 1]

What is love? It seems that the true definition is becoming more and more obscure these days. The term “love” gets thrown around everywhere to describe every sort of emotion these days.

I mean, do you really “love” that sandwich you had for lunch? Did you really “love” that movie that you saw last week? Do you honestly “love” your house, your car, and that new pair of jeans that you purchased at the mall yesterday?

It seems we use the word ‘love’ so non-nonchalantly in our conversations, it has almost started to lose its significance and its ability to accurately describe the true physical and emotional force that is LOVE.

Society has truly done us a disservice by watering down and over using the term love.

Love is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Love is the foundation of mankinds existence. Love is the very fabric of humanity and the glue that holds all of society together. Love is God, and God IS Love (1 John 4:8).

Every human being that has breath in his/her lungs, whether they will admit it or not, needs to love and to be loved. It is an essential human need, a requirement for a healthy life, just like the air we breath, the food we eat and the water we drink to stay alive. We must have love in order to survive. Thankfully we have a creator, our God who loves us so much that he actually sacrificed his own flesh and blood that we might know and understand his love for us. And the bible lets us know in Proverbs 18:24 and John 15:12 that God is a friend and a father to us. A friend who sticks closer than a brother, a friend with such a passionate love for us that even death could not keep Him from us.

What a powerful truth to know that we have someone who loves us continuously with with a love that is perfect, enduring and powerful. But to really live a healthy and happy life, we need to learn to reflect and share that love that we receive from God, to those around us. So how do we do that? How do we learn to love our neighbors, friends, coworkers, kids, and most importantly our spouses?

Well, there are five basic love languages that we human beings tap into and relate to emotionally.

1. Affirmation
2. Service
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch

Each of us will identify with one or two of these ‘love languages’ more than the others, and for each person the love language that speaks the loudest might be different, but the truth is we all need to have at least some portion of each of these types of love present in our lives on a regular and consistent basis in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

In order to maintain a healthy marriage relationship, it is vitally important that you learn which love language your spouse most identifies with as well, and make sure that you are ‘communicating’ that love language to them on a regular basis. The ‘language’ that speaks the loudest to your spouse and makes them feel truly loved may be different than what you personally identify with, and at times that can be a stumbling block in a marriage.

For many of us, it is easy to get tunnel-focused and only try communicating to our spouse the ‘love language’ that we personally identify with. It is easy to understand why we behave this way. If we receive our own emotional feelings of love and gratification from one particular love language than it is natural for us to assume that showing that same type of love to our spouse is the greatest way that we can communicate our love. Unfortunately many times that is not the case. You might be most emotionally impacted by affirmations or physical touch for example, whereas your spouse might be more emotionally driven by acts of service or quality time. If you only try to communicate your love through hugs, kisses and “thank you’s” that is great, and I’m sure your spouse will appreciate that, but you will not really be expressing love toward your spouse in a way that they will feel emotionally impacted by.

Remember, true love is an act of sacrifice. It is putting your own selfishness aside and giving some part of yourself to another human being, simply because you want to bless them and serve them and make their life better in some way.

In order to truly love your spouse in a way that they will feel and be emotionally impacted by, you must take the time to learn which love language your spouse identifies with, and then learn to communicate that love to them in a genuine and unselfish way.

Next week we will take a more in-depth look into each of the five love languages and how to apply them effectively.  I will also teach you how to recognize which of the five love languages your spouse most identifies with so you can work on communicating that love language to them in order to strengthen your bond and your relationship.

Click Here for Part 2: A Closer Look at The 5 Love Languages

For more helpful advice on how to establish healthy communication and romance in your marriage visit http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net

Beign There

Ephesians 3:17-19
King James Version (KJV)
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth,
and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,
that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

“A marriage, or a marriage partner, may be compared to a great tree growing right up through the center of one’s living room. It is something rooted and grounded in love, that is just there, and it is huge, and everything has been built around it, and wherever one happens to be going—to the fridge, to bed, to the bathroom, or out the front door—the tree has to be taken into account. It cannot be gone through; it must respectfully be gone around. It is somehow bigger and stronger than oneself. True, it could be chopped down, but not without tearing the house apart. And certainly it is beautiful, unique, exotic: but also, let’s face it, it is at times an enormous inconvenience. So there are many things that can be said about one’s life mate, but finally, irrevocably, the one definite thing that needs to be said is that he or she is always there. And that, while it may be common enough in the world of trees, is among us human beings a rather remarkable state of affairs.

Marriage is the most persistent and ineluctable reminder of the presence of other people in the world: that they are there, that they are real, and that they are wildly different from the imaginary beings who normally fill our thoughts and fantasies. To be married is to be confronted intimately day after day with the mystery of life, of other life, of life outside of oneself. This is not the life of existentialism or of metaphysics or of Zen. It is more intrusively personal than Zen. It is life, human life as one has never seen it before, at closer range than one ever thought to get. The loved one simply is there, in a way that no other living thing in the world except oneself has ever really been there before. Even parents do not intrude and impinge upon one’s adult life the way a spouse does, and it can be rather a surprise to discover that one is, after all, not alone. At night, in the morning, naked, over meals, in bath, and in bed, the partner is always there, there in body or there in spirit, there at the back of the mind and there in the pit of the heart.

Although day-to-day married life may seem as natural and almost as automatic as breathing, yet there is a way in which the two partners never really do get used to one another, not in the way they are used to breathing. As autonomic, as tedious, as dreary as a marriage can become, there is nevertheless something in it that defies being taken for granted. The whole course of a couple’s life together is fated to share that same odd quality of perfect naturalness united with perfect awkwardness—second nature combined with utter novelty—that characterized their first lovemaking. In the long run what is most uncanny about marriage is not any sense of growing familiarity and comfortableness with the enormous reality of this other presence in one’s life, but rather just the opposite: the growing strangeness. As the years roll by, all that happens is that the puzzle of time is added to the original enigma of love. Ten years, thirty years, fifty—it becomes more and more imponderable. There is just something so purely and untouchably mysterious in the fact of living out one’s days cheek by jowl under the same roof with another being who always remains, no matter how close you manage to get, essentially a stranger. You know this person better than you have ever known anyone, yet often you wonder whether you know them at all. The sense of strangeness increases, almost, with the depth and security of the loved one’s embrace.

What is this alien, unknowable place at the very heart of the one we love? Probably it is the place of our own familiarity with another factor, which is that in each one of us the holiest and neediest and most sensitive place of all has been made and is reserved for God alone, so that only He can enter there. No one else can love us as He does, and no one can be the sort of Friend to us that He is. Forming a relationship with us that is far deeper than anything we can possibly know among people is the way God has of challenging and inspiring us to yearn for this same divine depth in all of our human friendships. Were it not for the profound and intuitive knowledge of the Lord in our hearts, we could not know what depth of relationship is and would never miss or long for it on the human level. And so the very distance we feel from the person we love most dearly may be, paradoxically, a measure of the overwhelming closeness of God.”

Mason, Mike. The Mystery of Marriage 20th Anniversary Edition: Meditations on the Miracle (pp. 44-45). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Parting Questions:

How is the Lord teaching you about yourself through the limits He has placed on your marriage relationship?

How do  you  go about incorporating your life together in Christ?

How is He making you one?

What would you like the purpose of your marriage to be?

How do you draw strength to forgive and forge ahead?

The Three Kinds of Love & What They Mean To Your Marriage

i-do-weddingMost people do not enter into a marriage having any doubt or hesitation that their marriage will last forever. When we walk the isle and say our vows we do so with nothing but pure love and infatuation in our hearts. Newlyweds look at their relationship and their future together with their new spouse through rose-colored glasses, choosing only to see the good things. You might even say that they are blinded by their love for one another. So, if nearly all marriages start out this way, in this perpetual state of bliss, why is it that so many marriages (nearly 50%) today end in heart-ache and divorce?

 

A big reason why so many of today’s marriages which start out so happy and ‘in love’ end up crumbling into divorce, is because most couples who get married today are not honestly committing to ‘true love’ when they walk down the isle and say their vows. They are getting married on the euphoric feelings of infatuation, based solely on “Hollywood’s” version of love. A version of love that is based strictly on emotional passion and sexual gratification rather than a true commitment to eternal and sacrificial love that God said should be the foundation of a lasting marriage.

 

Sadly most people don’t even realize that there is more than one kind of love, and in the fervor of their emotional romance, they think that their infatuation is all that is needed to stay in love forever, and they assume that it will be enough to make the marriage last. Indeed when you find yourself in the midst of a new romance, the chemistry and the electricity of new love does make you feel like your romance will last forever. Unfortunately history and statistics show us a very different truth.

 

The reality is there are several different types of love that are required to make a marriage strong enough to last the test of time. In fact there are three unique kinds of love that I want to talk to you about today – Affinity; Passion; and Genuine Love. Each of these loves are important, and even necessary at some point in a relationship, but the most important one that will help a marriage to stay strong for the duration is Genuine Love.

 

Let’s take a look at each one of these loves today and find out why each is important to a happy relationship. First we will look at Affinity.

 

Affinity

 

Affinity is that initial spark of attraction that you feel towards the opposite sex. It is that “I like you” feeling. That feeling that makes you want to spend more time with a person. Affinity is the butterflies in your stomach, it is what makes you want to get to know a person on a more personal basis, because you see attributes in them that make you feel alive. Most relationships are birthed out of affinity. We all experience time of affinity in our lives, those moments when we notice attractive features in others that make us want to get to know them better.

 

Affinity is a very important part of getting a relationship started, but it is not a strong enough love to make a marriage last. Affinity is too superficial to stand the test of time. It is too emotion-driven to be a foundational love. The truth is our emotions are fickle feelings at best. Affinity is often based on appearance alone, or appearance coupled with a few personality traits which are often subject to change as our lives progress. After several years of marriage, your partners physical appearance is bound to change, it happens to all of us. With age come more wrinkles, extra pounds of body weight, and many other factors that will change our physical appearance. The point is that a relationship that is based only on affinity is bound to fizzle as aspects of our life begin to change. If affinity is all that is holding a marriage together, then something needs to happen to build a closer bond that will have the strength to hold you together when the times get more difficult.

 

Passion

 

The next type of love is passion. Passion is an emotion-driven love too. Like affinity, passion is often connected with physical attraction, but passion is a much stronger force than just affinity. It is the kind of love that makes the heart beat faster, and makes you go out of your way to be with your object of desire. The Grecian people called it Eros… it is a sensual and physical form of love that usually drives the romance and sexual connection in a marriage. Passion is certainly an important aspect of a good healthy marriage, and for a marriage to be strong their should be a good deal of passion. However passion is not a deep enough love to hold a marriage together on it’s own. Passion can quickly turn to disgust and hate if other areas of your relationship turn sour. Read the biblical account of Amnon and Tamar in (2 Samuel 13.15).

 

Genuine Love

 

The last type of love we are going to talk about today is Genuine Love. Genuine love is radically different than the other types of love. One of the big things that sets genuine love apart is that genuine love is not focused on satisfying its own desires. Genuine love is ‘others focused.’ Genuine love says “I see a need that you have, and it brings me great joy and satisfaction to fulfill that need for you to make your life better.” Genuine love is selfless, it is sacrificial, it is about giving of yourself to make your partners life more fulfilling and more enjoyable. Genuine love seeks no gain, it is not a reciprocal love it is a choice, a decision, a commitment.

 

As I close this article, I am reminded of one of my favorite passages of scripture from the bible. Paul talking in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 gives perhaps the best definition of what genuine love is all about:

 

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

 

Visit http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net to learn more about how to build your relationship on genuine love!