In the early years of our relationship Tom and I took an opportunity that came up to ‘invest’ in our relationship.
We were thinking about getting engaged but we struggled with doubt and anxiety about the huge commitment we’d be making to one another. However, taking time to sit down with a couple for several weeks and learn some relationship skills and address some of the perceived anxieties really changed things for us and eventually we took the plunge and committed to each other and got engaged and then married.
Since then we’ve taken further opportunities to build our partnership and we now volunteer ourselves for the same charity that first invested in our relationship. Some friends of ours had spoken highly of ‘Time for Marriage’ and so I’ve been following Time for Marriage on social media for a while and noticed during the lockdowns that they had started offering their weekends away virtually online.
We have two young kids and so spending a whole weekend on our own sounded heavenly.
Through various lockdowns we’d had very little time just the two of us on our own for any length of time so I *may* have run down the stairs screaming in excitement as soon as our little darlings left. We also took great delight in walking straight out the back door on the Friday evening with not so much as a handbag and a backward glance to hang out with friends. We didn’t even have to arrange a babysitter!
We woke up late on Saturday morning (blissful) before realising the first session started 30 minutes before we had thought it did but got down on our sofa just in time. It was a blistering hot day so it was rather strange sitting in our lounge with all the blinds down and the fan whirring. We were immediately put at ease by the two facilitator couples and the day began.
Despite being online, the facilitators led us through the sessions very naturally.
The material was engaging and refreshing. We were gently challenged and affirmed. There were lots of opportunities to take time to reflect and chat together on different subjects.
We were reminded again of our ‘roots’, where we had come from and where our relationship journey began, taking time out to reflect really helped us appreciate each other and what we bring of ourselves to our marriage afresh.
It was really helpful to think about God’s plan for our Marriage and what he wants it to look like and think about where our marriage was reflecting that and what needed to change. We both independently drew similar conclusions.
Another area which was really helpful to consider was our roles and responsibilities in our marriage.
What we bring to our marriage to make it work, our different strengths and skills. It was helpful to bring our expectations to the fore and to try to come up with solutions to try to meet those for each other and have the time to do this. I must admit in this area it’s an ongoing process. We need regular reminders, and that’s why it’s helpful to be reviewing these issues regularly as we do forget in the busyness of life!
Another thing that particularly struck me from the weekend was my tendency to want to ‘win’ when it came to conflict and Tom’s tendency to give in. I had never recognised this in myself before and how although we’ll naturally have tendencies based on our personality and other factors it’s not always great for our relationship. The facilitators encouraged us to work towards finding a solution with God’s help, which sounds a much better idea.
The facilitators encouraged us to be intentional with what we were taking away and we were all encouraged to write down three action points. Having looked back over our workbooks today, we are doing better on some, than others and it’s good to be reminded of what we decided together so that we can have another go. We have a date in our diary to come back to our action points in January!
We’re so glad we took the time out together to do the Time for Marriage weekend.
It was great to be led through some really thought-provoking material, to reflect and pray and make decisions together about the future and how we want our marriage to look with God’s help.