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February 14, 2010

Marriage and You

No matter how smooth or terrible the relationship, I imagine that every couple would benefit from a Marriage Conference like the one last weekend. It seems that those who probably "need" it least are there and those who could use it most are not there, but that's another matter. Who knows what happens in private.

What goes on at a marriage conference?

You sit around reciting cheesey sentiment you don't mean while getting put into awkward situations in front of strangers. Men learn tricks to make their wives be submissive. Women get ideas on how to fool men into thinking they are in charge, but they're not. And don't forget the guilt trip unless you $upport the ministry.


Okay. Speakers hone in on practical ways to demonstrate "I love you." They give examples and some hard data on priorities. Like how putting your marriage before work and even before the kids is the best thing you can do for your work and especially for the kids.

They challenge you to examine yourself with an eye on renewed commitment and avoiding the inevitable drift that will occur without serious intent. They speak to you about the anatomy of an affair (doesn't have to be with another person), fighting fair, the myth of the 50/50 partnership, sex, and other good stuff.

During the presentation on focused attention and listening skills, I'm noticing how all 600 spouses resemble each other. Age, stature, and especially style, you really can match them up without knowing them. I imagine this applies equally to Amy and I, as well as to dogs and their owners.

Yeah. Listening, in the moment...

Man, check out the big hair to my left diagonal. She's decked out in 80's blue tiger pattern. Wonder if she cares that her mullet husband wore a faded Westbrook T-shirt? She probably nagged him about not wearing that shirt for the entire hour it took her to get that hair up.

How inviting are the large carpeted lobby floors and the rounded edges on the stage? Mmm-mm, some bike session that would be. Bet I could J-hop that stage without bashing my back tire. Yeah, I could do it. I'd definitely try with Ryan here.

...focused attention, good for the marriage. What was the last workbook fill in the blank?

Rather than asking Amy what the speaker said (again), I usually make up words that seem like they would fit the blank. Speakers roll on while I'm contemplating alternative philosophies. Some say that nobody should have the burden of "completing" another. I'm daydreaming about the postural effects of prolonged sitting and the fluid dynamics of mass bodies moving through crowded lobbies. Yeah, welcome to what Amy has to live with.

They schedule purposeful alone time with your spouse. They make it easy to talk about what the two of you should be talking about. They use enlightening videos and movie cuts, the best being an almost perfect but real version of THIS ONE.

Seriously - you gotta click the link.

They speak from a Christian worldview and manage to pull it all off in a pretty nonconfrontational and entertaining manner. They jerk for tears with true stories of union and divorce and life and death.

The theme of the weekend was Love Like You Mean It, I think because Just Quit Being So Damn Selfish and Prideful would probably not move many seats.

I mean, really, that's what they're constantly talking about. They make it palatable, but the whole thing with a marriage conference and especially with marriage itself is that it's one big reality check. You have one imperfect person who allows another imperfect person to know them; to actually be codependent by Gods design.

We all seek the truth about things. In marriage you actually begin to approach the truth about yourself, and that often hurts. Getting closer to the truth is worth it; closer to that person is absolutely worth it. I understand that marriage is not for everyone (at least not right now), but what I'm saying is that it's worth the work.

Special thanks to the Marriage Conference Miracle Crew that made it possible for us to get out of the house for an entire weekend. Mom, Ellen, and Bill. Wow - what a brave and courageous expression of love and support for our marriage. We don't do it alone.



lesley said...

Marriage and me? The early narrative could have been Sunday worship and me. Thats why I sat in the front row through college. Not because I am a nerd, well OK that too, but because its soooo easy to get distracted even when your best intentions are there. I really like your Valentines Day blog topic. I enjoy catching up on your views as your perspective is easy to relate to and always makes me smile. Your a good man, Bob Gorinski. Keep walking the walk and I'll consider myself lucky to know you.

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