Thursday, 26 May 2011

To love & to hold.

Every month a lovely bunch of homeschool mums gets together to share about different topics. This Month was all about How has Homeschooling affected your Marriage.
Well my initial reaction is: It hasn't. Our Marriage has seen enormous stresses and homeschooling would have to be the least.
I was asked to share my tip, that morning of the gathering. As my friend and I were chatting we decided I should talk about the most effective life changing event that has happened in our marriage.
I immediately began to write my words down and I was very excited about sharing, but....I didn't want to take the night over, so I shared on Coffee time... This was the beginning of really sharing together.
I  would like to share my thoughts on our marriage changing event.
One Sunday morning while sitting in our pew at church toward the end of Mass, with our children getting restless, a young couple were asked to share about a mariage weekend. We watched them walk up the aisle, with there 5 children in tow. The lady was expecting her 6th. They shared there story. Dermot leaned over to me...'we are doing that weekend'... Dermot doesn't remember saying it..
The invitation was to a marriage enrichment weekend. This was instrumental in leading us into a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. How God really fits into our lives as a couple raising our family.
We realised we were keeping him out of areas of our relationship. The sharings over the weekend challenged us in so many ways, but we were determined to love and understand each other better.
It gave us the tools to help us in hard times and a community to fit into for support.
This was our couple conversion. It was when we said "yes" to God in a meaningful way. We allowed God into every part of our marriage, even the mud.
So how can we keep the flame alive? Well there's a little secret.
Once a month there is ongoing  support in the way of Gathering evenings, in couples homes. The Gathering groups are easy. We run a Gathering group in our home, and we have done so close on 8 years, give or take a break or two.
These couples are like minded and we share life and support each other. So what do we do on these nights? Firstly we Pray. 'Notes' have been downloaded from the website, we take turns to read them aloud, questions discussed and shared only with your spouse. Supper is shared afterwards. Often this is where the real sharing begins as Couples feel comfortable to share with trusted Friends.
This Community we are involved in also reaches out to the engaged, mentoring them through a one on one program called Embrace.
So the tools we are given from celebrate love weekend are:
Praying for Passion in our marriage and all marriages
" I feel" statements rather than accusing statements. "I feel hurts when  this happened".
We have also taken tools from the Embrace model as well. Connect Kiss- 10 seconds at least. Connect Hug- Hug until you melt, Affirm your spouse every day, and let him know what you appreciate about him daily.
So Celebrate Love has opened us to what God wants for our marriage, not what the world says we should have.
Even in our darkest times and hardest struggles, God is our strength and guide.  We call to him for comfort. We were deeply tested in the last few years with a very nasty incident, which shook us to the core of our being, and really it could have ripped us apart, but we both clung to God and he was there. We know, we felt his presence and peace.
Every ministry we do in our church is as a couple, every decision is together.
The gatherings and our coffee times give us time to discuss Gods word, any issues unfolding in our childrens lives, and we are united and that's couple power.
 Would you like to share your secrets to your marriage?


Therese said...

I think praying together has been the thing that has glued our marriage. I Lalso think going through trials together and feeling alone but still together in it if that makes any since.

Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed reading it.

Vicky said...

Hi Leanne, I think loyalty is what I would consider the most important. We expect that there are going to be stresses as well as the good times, but I feel that loyalty is what holds a marriage together. I like the fact that my husband always talks about me and what I do with pride to his friends and workmates - his loyalty strengthens us through the challenges. Your story is a lovely one of inspiration:) God bless, Vicky

Leanne said...

Thank you Therese & vicki, I enjoyed putting it together. I to love how Dermot always talks highly of me in public. It makes others stop and look.

Sue Elvis said...

Yes, Leanne,there have been things in our life that could have torn our marriage apart too. But praying together (as Therese said), taking quiet time to talk to each other, to listen carefully, to spend time just enjoying be with each other... all these have helped. Also, seeing life from the same perspective which includes God, talking the same God language if you understand what I mean! Then there's having a sense of humour. And loyalty as Vicky said. Wow! Your post has given me lots to think about. Thank you, Leanne!