This past weekend, 34 married couples from Northstar Church stole away to the rural town of Floyd, VA, at the charming Hotel Floyd, where they participated in a video training series, “Mingling of Souls” by Matt Chandler.
The teaching content was challenging, wrought by Matt’s personal journey in his own marriage, his Bible study in the Song of Solomon, and the wisdom of mentors in his life. Jon Gladish shared, “The thing I liked most about Matt Chandler’s message is that he dissected Bible passages that were hard to understand and turned them into guidelines that are easy to understand. His advice was practical while still being biblical.”
Intentionally, we experienced large group teaching time followed by breakout discussion groups, each of which included the same four couples throughout the weekend. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet other married couples from Northstar and to be able to engage in authentic discussion with couples at various stages in their marriages,” said Krista Gladish, “It was a great time to step away from the everyday routine and intentionally focus on our marriage.”
Kimberly Penson added, “I’ve never been to a church that has invested so much time an energy into the actual people of the church. I love, love, love my table. It was a great time to enjoy my husband alone and with true friends. My number one plan after the retreat is to pay attention and love him the way he needs to be loved. Put my cell phone up and pay attention to his mood and feelings. I am so in love with this man and I want our legacy to show Christ’s love through us.”
The schedule included time to laugh as a group through games and fellowship, as well as opportunity for couples to seclude away or grab a few friends to enjoy an area restaurant or attraction, like dancing at the Floyd Country Store or grabbing a cup of coffee at the Red Rooster. Jason Christian confirmed what many others expressed, “I enjoyed getting away and spending time with my wife, having intentional conversation together, focusing more intently on why we value one another and celebrating what God is doing in our lives.”
Julie Jewell suggests some ideas for all of us to invest in our marriage: “Plan weekly or monthly date nights, plan yearly retreats to get away from monotony (without kids!), have 15 minutes of face to face talking time each day to keep communication going, pray for each other daily.” Julie was part of the planning committee for the retreat, which included Chris and Erinn Briel, Kimberly and Randy Penson, Josh and Jessica Bellefeuille, Lee Alba, and Jessica Yalung. Great job, team!
Another idea: take a mini-retreat of your own in Floyd, followed by making a list of the things you value about your spouse. Once you complete your list, share it with your spouse. Keep this list handy and review it when discouraged or marriage is hard. Allow God to remind you why he put you together.
Northstar Church is here to help you grow in your marriage. Ask the advice of your small group leader, a church staff member, or trusted friend for more ideas to keep your marriage strong!