My wife and I are at the Family Life Today marriage conference in La Jolla, CA this weekend. Wow, amazing time. I haven’t been online much (blogged once, email two, three times, no surfing, no work stuff). The content has been amazing, the room is great (Radisson) and the cost is awesome – FREE for Pastors and wives.
But even if it wasn’t free, we’d be here, it’s great. We’ve been married 11 years, three children, house, house remodel, 13 years of ministry, 8 years of teaching for my wife, we have a real life. What is wrong someone asked us? Why do you need to go to a marriage conference?
This has been scary but rewarding. We’ve talked about things such as:
How is our sex life going?
How do you feel about our communication?
How do you think we’re doing in our companionship?
Would you still love me if I tell you how I feel about you sometimes?
Did you know that I get scared for my life when you drive! : )
Things like that. We’ve talked about all those themes this weekend, scary? Yes, but amazing. Great rewards too.
We’ve talked through lots of real issues, but for both of us, coming from pretty conservative backgrounds it’s been good to say, “our marriage is fine, but we want to make it great. And to get there, we need to say of some things (such as sex, attitudes, etc) that they need improvement.” You want to know about our sex talk heh? Sorry! You’ll have to call me for that one.
Anyway, it’s been amazing to unmask the scary “how is our marriage question.” Yes, I felt afraid, so did Rachelle, after all things are great right? Yes, but we’ve been picking up some dust, some bad habits, some unspoken themes. It’s bound to happen, after all we’ve been busy raising three small children for the last 7-8 years, we dealt with two deaths, a remodel, the loss of our grandmother, seeing her through the last years, months and days of her life. Gone are the days of eating out every night, watching TV every night, being young and free, spending with no cares in the world.
And we DON’T want to become busy raising a family, scheduling life and dance lessons, school and vacations while our marriage gets stale. We want to have a fresh, vital, real marriage. And so how do we get there?
This weekend has helped us, it’s brought up things we’ve been meaning to talk about, it’s encouraged us, it’s made us feel like the sky is the limit. It’s brought us together even more, from 85 to 95%. It’s made our marriage current because we’re talking about current themes, desires, hopes, visions for the future.
I’m so amazed at the grace of God, his love, his ability to work in our lives. I’m soooo amazed at the love I have for Rachelle, the real, tested and tried 11 years, 3 children, real marriage and real love I have for her and her for me. Honeymoons are great, this is awesome.
We’re growing in so many areas these days. First, in our marriage as I’ve said, that’s the foundation, the granite underneath it all, second, in our relationships with couples, friends, community, authentic Biblical spiritually forming communities. We both now have that, which has been a journey of years to get here. Third, our missional work, serving our lost neighbors, loving our unconnected friends, praying for our children to become men and women of God. But most of all, our passion for this Jesus, this Man-God, his Message of hope and forgiveness to the world, to me and you, to believers and to those not in the Kingdom. Our burden for people has only increased, for the poor, children, inner city Long Beach, for racial diversity, for a vision for the world, for Nicaragua, for Romania, for Russia and Africa.
We feel we’re at the best we’ve ever been, not because we’re perfect, in fact shedding that idea for these two conservative Christian kids has been the most amazing thing, but to understand grace, forgiveness, the experience that in each other, to extend that to each other, has been a most satisfying experience. And the sex has been great too.
So we feel like we have our best years ahead, and we walk this line with an awareness of our uglyness, our sin, our desire for self, division and self-protection. But we walk together, with Jesus and His Spirit as our hope and breath, and these three little people who follow us, watch us, learn from us and whom one day we will see leave us. We want to do great things for the Kingdom of God, and we realize more and more that it’s not our striving, but His Work in our lives and hearts and minds that will accomplish this.
And we realize that our friends are watching, Jeff and John, Annie and Justin, Nikki and John, Jake and Jessica, John and Howard, Corrie and Ana, Sarah and Gary, Kyle and Dennis. These are our other friends, some our children, some our peers. We have much to give them and to receive from them.
All this makes me glad, makes me love Life and Jesus and our families, our heritage, our background. It makes me aware of realities such as illness, aging, suffering, all of it as parts of our lives. But His Word and prayer and His people, His mission, all compel us forward. We have much to live for, so we are doing it. I hope you are too.
Have a great day.
Into the future,