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.

Five Fun and Inexpensive Date Nights To Keep Romance Alive

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

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

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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

The Mystery of Marriage

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Couple in loveThe Bible says without a vision the people perish. Whenever we conduct a Christian marriage retreat we endeavor to help couples understand the vision God has for their marriage. Biblical understanding many times begins in the book of Genesis. Adam’s name in Hebrew is translated ‘man’. God declared, “It is not good that man should be alone” Gen. 2:18.

Some of the questions that we often discus in order to help couples find the answers to their own difficult questions in marriage include…

  • How did Adam’s original encounter with Eve give us a glimpse into the divine meaning of marriage?
  • What is the supernatural dynamic inherent in marriage?
  • Am I desiring to know what my marriage means to God. Am I willing to conform it to that image?

One of the best books on the subject in my opinion is “The Mystery of Marriage” by Mike Mason. In his book, Mike epitomizes the original Genesis encounter as follows:

“We may presume that we cannot know, as Adam did, what it is like to see another human being for the very first time, let alone a person of the opposite sex. Yet in a sense we can, for it is something of this very same primal and unimaginable wonderment that has been preserved and enshrined for us, even today, in the simple and lowly state of holy matrimony.

In marriage a man is given the opportunity of seeing one woman, one person, as he has never seen any other woman or person before. Marriage not only affords as deep a glimpse into the heart and soul of another being as we shall ever have, but it cannot survive without deliberately striving to preserve the spontaneity and freshness of this insight. And how we long for such freshness! There is a giddy taste of it in the experience of falling in love, but only a loving marriage provides the long, deep, steady draught of it that, perhaps without even knowing it, we crave. For secretly we long to perpetuate that one astounding moment in the Garden of Eden. We long to stand in awe of one another, just as Adam and Eve must have done when they first locked gazes. We long for our whole body to tingle with the thrill of knowing that this one fascinating being, this being of a different gender, has been created especially for us and given to us unreservedly for our help, comfort, and joy.

Men and women ache for the heart with which to know this reality, and for the eyes with which to see one another (and therefore themselves) as the astounding miracles that they are. This is what marriage is about. This is the one central experience it seeks to capture, to explore, and to exploit to the fullest. The encounter between the first man and the first woman is the archetypal stuff out of which marriage has been built. Marriage is made of this encounter as the body is made of flesh, and it is the work of marriage continually to return to this encounter, to recapture it afresh and to feed upon it.

Most marriages are invaded sooner or later by the suspicion that the partners may really have very little in common beyond the simple fact that they are both human beings and that they happen to love each other (or at least thought they did at one time). It can be a very great shock for a couple to discover how quickly romantic love is exhausted, how little they really know or understand one another, how deeply estranged it is possible to become from the person you thought you were closest to. Even a taste of such estrangement can be enough to fill a couple with fear and to plunge them into permanent grief over having made such a “poor choice” of partner: Why couldn’t they have chosen someone with whom they had more natural affinity? And yet it is this fundamental apartness, this same sense of nothing else in common but human flesh itself and the primal attraction between man and woman, that is the very strength of a marriage, and the experience to which the relationship must constantly return for nourishment. For it is right here that the mystery of love can best be discerned and known. This is the soil in which love thrives, a rich, black, mysterious loam of total darkness in which nothing else will grow. How else can true love be truly known except when it is separated from everything that is like it, from all forms of natural attraction?

A marriage lives, paradoxically, upon those almost impossible times when it is perfectly clear to the two partners that nothing else but pure sacrificial love can hold them together. Of course, it is almost always the case that the couple has much more in common than they may suppose. But marriage seems to specialize, at times, in radically de-emphasizing the similarities between the partners and wildly exaggerating the points of difference (especially at the superficial level of personality or temperament). But this is so that a couple may come to know one another at the deepest level, at the only level that really matters: bone of bone, flesh of flesh. It is so that the wondrous surprise of the original encounter in the Garden of Eden may take place all over again. It is so that a couple may be reduced to sheer amazement that they are together at all, and that they may know that what has brought them together and what keeps them together is something entirely outside of themselves, something not natural but supernatural, something they themselves cannot control or produce at will. It is so that they may come to know God, the One who is supremely Other, but to whom, nevertheless, all people are profoundly related and bound in love. For the Lord too, in an unfathomable and supernatural manner revealed in the Incarnation, is bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, even to the point of going down with us into the grave.”

Mason, Mike (2010-11-03). The Mystery of Marriage 20th Anniversary Edition: Meditations on the Miracle (p. 37). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Learn more about how to put the magic back in your marriage by attending a Christian marriage retreat more details can be found here

The God Kind Of Love

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

heartBy the time most people arrive at the point where they feel it’s time to attend a Christian marriage retreat, they are often times already in a state of war with their spouse. That is to say, they have reached a point where they feel like their spouse has become “the enemy.” They find themselves arguing all the time, disagreeing on most everything, and finding it hard even to love their spouse.

It is sad that people allow their relationships to reach this point before they decide to take action. But, positive action taken late is better than never taking any positive steps at all to repair your marriage. So let’s take a look at what it takes to get a marriage back on track, even if it is at, or near the point of no return.

In a Marriage, Battles Are Never Won…

In a marriage battles are never won, there is no such thing as a single victor. The only way that a battle can end successfully in a marriage, is if it ends with a truce, a peace treaty and a reconciliation.

Arriving at a peaceful conclusion might seem like a difficult or impossible feat to you right now if you are in the middle of a difficult battle with your spouse. But a truce is the beginning of a healthy reconciliation, and a truce can only come about if one person is willing to swallow their pride, accept responsibility for their part in the disagreement and take action to initiate that truce.

Love With Agape Love…

In the heat of the battle taking this bold step towards peace and reconciliation might seem as if you are giving up and giving in, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Bible makes it clear in Matthew 5:44 when Jesus tells his followers that they are not just love those who love them, but that they are also to love even their enemies.

The kind of love that Jesus is talking about here is called agape love. The term “Agape Love” is a Greek term which refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God. Practicing agape love doesn’t always mean that you have warm fuzzy feelings. Agape love is not the love given because someone has done something nice for you and you naturally want to reciprocate. It is not a love based on attraction, desire, or even sympathy. Agape love is a love given in mercy, it is a love given through grace. It is an act of benevolence. Agape love requires a mindset that is willing to forgive wrongs that have been committed against you, and leave all vengeance and retribution to God.

Agape love requires us to not return evil for evil, hate for hate and insult for insult. But rather when someone offends us, we respond with blessings, forgiveness and love.

This does not mean that we give up all our rights in a relationship. It doesn’t mean that we never allow our voice and our opinion to be heard. And it does not mean that we need to become a push-over.

Practicing agape love simply means we continue to engage as the giver, and continue to reach out in love over and over again even if we receive little in return.

Before you think that practicing such a love is impossible, remember that God loved us even while we were yet sinners, and he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us, even when we hated him.

That is agape love. That is the God kind of love. And that is how we are to love everyone… even our enemies.

To learn more about how you can restore true love, friendship and intimacy in your marriage, visit our main website at http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net or call us at 406-253-6427

The Laws Of A Happy Marriage

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Marriage just like every other area of our lives has certain laws which must be recognized and adhered to in order for it to work and be successful. Why is it that we recognize the existence of these infallible laws in other areas of our lives, and we never question their dominance or try to fight against them. However in our marriages we spend so much of our time trying to deny the existence of the laws of a happy marriage relationship, and we are constantly fighting to have our own way. We somehow assume that in marriage we can rise above the basic laws which are necessary for a happy marriage to exist. We try and reinvent a scenario in which our own selfish goals and desires can be glorified, and we try to deny the existence of the basic laws which are required for a happy marriage to exist.

Laws That Lead To Success

Marriage is not much different than all the other areas of our lives where certain laws are required for success.

Let me ask you a question. If you were put in charge of the aerospace engineering department at NASA, and it was your responsibility to oversee a mission which was going to send multiple people into space to work on the International Space Station, how would you handle that job and that responsibility? We all know that a successful aeronautics program is governed by a set of very specific laws and principles which must be practiced and followed in a very specific manner in order for our mission to be successful.

We know by studying aerodynamics that there are certain laws in physics which must be adhered to in order for our spaceflight to be a success. In order to get an object like our plane or space shuttle to create movement and energy and transform it into a force which can defy gravity and fly into space and back again safely, requires our adherence to the laws of aerodynamics.

Applying The Laws Of Aerodynamics

F16 Fighter JetFirst of all we understand the law of Drag, which states that objects which push a lot of air such as an open parachute, create a lot of drag or resistance which is a direct contradiction to what we are trying to achieve. In order to get our airplane to fly we want to reduce the drag is much as possible, so that our airplane moves quickly and effortlessly through the air with very little resistance. Secondly we understand that we must overcome the law of gravity if we want to fly. Gravity is a very powerful force. In fact it is actually a law too, which prevented man from being able to fly for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the laws of Thrust and Lift were better understood that we were able to figure out how to overcome the law of gravity and create machines which have the power to defy gravity and create flight.

Thrust is the forward movement of our plane created by the jet engines or the propellers. But thrust in itself is not enough to make our airplane fly, we also must understand and apply the laws of Lift in order to get our airplane off the ground. Lift occurs when the air below the airplane wing is pushing up harder than the air above it is pushing down. It is this difference in pressure which enables our airplane to fly. Our airplane wings are shaped in such a way that air moves more quickly over the top of the wing than it does beneath the wing, which results in an upward push…or lift.

The point I’m trying to make here is that in order for our flight to be successful, we must adhere to and live in accordance with each of these laws of aerodynamics. In fact, it is absolutely crucial that we have all of these laws working together harmoniously if we want to achieve our goal and accomplish flight.

The Laws Of Success In Marriage

The same is true with marriage. There are certain laws which must be adhered to. There are certain laws which we must live by if we want our marriages to be successful and happy. The laws of marriage are things like love, patience, kindness, sincerity, trust, communication, being attentive to your partner’s needs and desires. Why do we think that we can ignore these laws of love and marriage and still manage to maintain a happy and fruitful relationship?

Our marriage is much like the spacecraft mentioned above. Each of the laws of marriage have got to work together harmoniously just like the laws of aerodynamics, if we want to achieve success. If any of these laws are violated then you and your spouse run the risk of going into a tailspin and crashing in a spectacular fashion.

Struggles Are Not An Excuse To Quit or Give Up!

married coupleNow let’s revert back to our aerospace scenario for just a moment. If something went wrong with our aircraft prior to our mission launch what would we do? Would we throw our hands in the air and say, “See I new it, this thing just isn’t working.” Would we be so quick to give up and call the whole mission off? Of course not. We would get back to work! We would remedy the problem, and we would continue marching forward towards our goal. Failure would never be an option with our space mission, so why would we ever consider it to be an option in our marriages?

When things go wrong in your marriage, and I guarantee you that they will. It is not a time to give up and quit your mission. It is simply a time to get back to work. It is a time to reevaluate where you went off course. It is time to recognize which of the laws of marriage you have not been living in accordance with. It is simply a warning signal that you need to right your course.

Your marriage is the biggest and most important mission you will ever embark on in this life. Treat it with the respect that it deserves. Check yourself and make sure that you are living in accordance with the laws of marriage. If you are not then evaluate your behavior to determine which of the laws you are not living up to, and make the necessary adjustments in order to get back on track and begin loving your spouse the way that you promised that you would when you first gave your vows.

Recognize that there are certain laws that govern how we must pursue a healthy marriage and relationship. And just like a flight into space, if we want our marriage to be a success, we must learn to live in accordance with those laws.

Learn how to apply the laws of a happy relationship to your marriage by attending one of our Christian marriage retreats.  You can learn more at http://www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net

Commit To Love, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It…The Emotions Will Follow.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

joined together in christian marriageIt is easy to love your spouse when everything is going good in your marriage. When the romance is alive and things are going well. When your spouse and you are getting along great and the lines of communication are active and amicable. It is easy to commit to love and affection in those times. But we all know that those magical moments only make up a small percentage of a real marriage. Every married couple will be quick to let you know that there are also times, many times, when you feel as though your spouse is just to preoccupied with their job, or the kids to give you the love and attention that you need and crave from your relationship. There will be times when you feel yourself wanting to scream out to the world…”What About ME!!!” Times when you feel like you have been abandoned inside your own marriage. What do you do during these times, when you certainly are not “feeling” love. When you find yourself becoming calloused and angry because you feel like you are being neglected and ignored in your marriage.

I am going to be completely honest with you here. You will face these moments in your marriage. Every married person does at some point. I am not saying that it is right, or okay that your spouse may at times “forget” to treat you with the love and respect that you deserve in your relationship. It is not right that we allow our jobs, our children, our passions and our pastimes to creep into and overshadow our relationships with our spouses at times. But it does happen. And when it does, you need to know how to handle the situation. So what do you do? How do you effectively handle the situation in a fashion that will lead to a more healthy and positive marriage in the long term?

Well, for starters, you must remember to always take your difficult and trying circumstances before the Lord in prayer. After all it is only God who can give us the stamina and the grace we need to get through any of the difficult situations in our lives. But beyond that, the most effective practical thing you can do to get through these difficult moments is to make a choice.

Make a choice to love. Make a choice to stand by your commitment, the commitment that you made when you stood at the alter and said “I DO…Till death do us part.” That is not a promise that is made lightly. It is a promise that is meant to serve you and your spouse in those times when the going gets rough. It is a promise to stay committed to love even when you don’t feel like it. Love is easy to do when everyone is happy, and everything is good. Commitment is second nature when things are going good. It is when you don’t feel like loving that you must love all the stronger. It is when you don’t feel like your own needs are being met and when your feelings are hurt that you must commit to loving and serving your spouse all the more.

Love is not a emotion, it is an action. Commitment is not a reaction, it is a promise.

Scripture clearly demonstrates Gods example of this love for us in Romans 5 verse 8 where it says…

“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.”

Did God wait for the people of this earth to show Him love and meet His needs before He came down and laid down His own life as a sacrifice for our sins and condemnation? No He did not. He actively chose to love us in spite of our sins and selfishness and failures. He made a commitment to love us and serve us and die for us, even as we were cursing Him, and spitting in His face, and making fun of Him and turning our back on Him in hatred and shame.

The King James version puts it this way… ” God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The word ‘commendeth’ here means ” to show, prove, establish, or exhibit” … “to bring together or fuse together as one.” So even as we were hating and mocking God, He CHOSE to love us and commit to us His blood and His life, that we might be saved and set free.

And because He first loved us, we…(those of us who are walking the true Christian life)… came to realize that love and in that realization, we understand that we owe Christ our everything, and we in turn give all of our love and affection back to Him.

This is the design and the example that God has set forth for us to follow in our marriages and in our lives. It is God’s plan for your marriage that you CHOOSE to love and make a PROMISE of commitment, regardless of what your feelings may suggest. Remember, love is not about feelings, it is about a promise that you made. As we chose to love our spouse, the feelings and emotions will follow.

You can learn more ways to love your spouse even when you don’t feel like it, and pick up tips and strategies for dealing with hurt and anxiety in your marriage by visiting www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net.

The Joy of Marriage…

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013



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Marriage: A Reflection of Gods Love for His Church

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Falling in love is easy, keeping a marriage strong year after year takes work and commitment. The key to making a marriage work is more about being the right mate, rather than finding the right mate. Equally as important is keeping the right perspective on marriage, faith, and life.

Christian Marriage

The Bible tells us that in order to have a strong and successful marriage, we need to keep the right perspective on what is most important in our lives. That means making sure that God is always the most important thing in our lives, followed by our spouse, followed by our children, and then, our careers and everything else comes after that. When you read a statement like that in print, and think about it, it only makes sense that that is the order that we should keep things. However living out that philosophy in our everyday lives can be a much more difficult thing.

The Correct Role of Women in Marriage

Ephesians the fifth chapter gives us a snapshot of what a healthy family relationship should look like. Chapter 22 tells us, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

Women often cringe when they hear the Bible’s command for wives to “submit” to their husbands. But the Bible is not suggesting that women are supposed to act as slaves to their husbands, by mindlessly doing everything that he says all the time like mindless robots. I prefer the way the Message Bible states it… It says “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.”  This much more clearly conveys the idea that the Bible is trying to get across. It is important for wives to understand the role and position, and even more than that, the heavy responsibility that the Bible has placed on husbands as head of the household. The weight and responsibility of every decision that affects that family has been placed on the shoulders of the husband, and every choice and decision that affects the health and happiness of that family, the husband will be held accountable for.

That’s a lot of weight to carry as a husband and head of the household. That is why it is so important for husbands to have the support and understanding of their wives, and for wives to recognize the kind of stress and responsibility that their husbands are under, and to graciously support them and submit to them when it comes to making those tough decisions.

The Correct Roll For Men in Marriage

Now obviously God does not want wives to submit to their husbands if the decisions and choices that the husband is making are choices and decisions that would lead their wives and children away from a closer relationship with God. So in order for God’s ultimate plan for success in marriage to work, we read the next couple verses in Ephesians, which instructs the husbands how to live and conduct themselves in marriage. Verse 25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

What this verse is telling us first and foremost, is that husbands are to love their wives. That little word love means a lot of things in this passage of scripture. It means that we as husbands are to give of ourselves, everything we have to ensure that our wives are comfortable and happy, having everything that they need and require to live satisfying lives. It means that we are supposed to have compassion towards our wives and deal tenderly with them, their emotions and their needs. It means that if it comes down to it, we are even to give our lives for their safety and protection, even as Christ gave his life as a ransom for us. If husbands are living their lives according to that commandment, it make it easy for wives to willingly submit to their husbands as the authority and head of the household.

Ephesians goes on to say, “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”

If men and women in marriage read these verses in Ephesians, understood them, and live their lives according to the instructions given herein, there would be no marital problems in this world, there’d be no divorce or separation or broken homes. Sadly, the world has skewed what these passages of Scripture are trying to say, and most men and women do not take the time to research what the Bible is truly telling us about how we should live our lives and conduct ourselves in marriage.

Marriage is supposed to be a reflection of God’s relationship with the church. God came down to earth in the form of Jesus Christ, and gave everything he had for the life and liberty of the church. He gave of himself endlessly and selflessly, and loved so much that he gave his own life to save the church from sin and condemnation. We as the church must recognize that, and in turn give everything we have back to Christ, and live our lives in respect and support and love of him. If we do that our life will be long and our way will be prosperous. And if men and women take this example as how their marriage is supposed to look, Jesus being the example for the husband, and the church being the example for the wife, then their marriages will be long and prosperous as well.

Visit our website at www.ChristianMarriageRetreats.net for more insights into how to build a strong and lasting marriage with your spouse, and also learn more about our powerful Christian Marriage Intensive counseling