Is your relationship tougher than you expected? Hollywood surrounds us with images of love as something that’s always effortlessly there, and marriage as the place where problems end. But what happens in the real world when the glow wears off? Vicky and Adam had been married for 10 years, but somehow felt like things were getting worse no matter what they tried.

In Vicky’s words:

“After 10 years of marriage I was in a place of discontent…My husband and I tried to fix or do things better and attended many marriage courses, but my discontentment and frustration only got worse as I learnt more about how our marriage should be (or how my husband should behave!) I became angry and bitter towards him, feeling unappreciated and unloved.

 

Somehow, despite all our hard work, he had become my enemy.

 

This man was standing between me and the marriage I’d always wanted!

 

I heard about the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember (WTR) event and wasn’t sure what to expect, but signed up anyways. It was unlike any conference we’d been to before! Through the inspiring and touching messages and life stories, God stirred our hearts. During the conference we had the most open and honest (but still loving) discussions we’d ever had.

 

We broke down and cried to each other admitting how we had failed one another as husband and wife, and sought each others’ forgiveness. We started applying what we learnt and loving each other and our kids on purpose. We experienced a positive shift in the atmosphere…

 

After the weekend getaway we got on the same page about our family, and where we were heading. We hit rough patches, but what we learnt gave us hope and pulled us together.

 

In June we attended our second WTR and it was like peeling off another layer. God reached us at a deeper level, challenged us some more and gave us a deeper love for each other. Our experiences gave us a foundation of hope, knowing that things could be better.

 

However, life has a way of getting us in a rut, and somehow we found ourselves back at the “married for the kids” stage again. Time for a refresh!

 

Our third time coming along to a WTR, we were encouraged in what we’d done well, and at the same time challenged by the reminders of basics we might have let slip. We’re thankful for each other and that we have a better relationship now than even when we first got married! We’ve taken away so much, leaving inspired and again filled with hope for the future. FamilyLife have equipped us with so many tools to use for ourselves, for our family, and our kids.

 

All three times that we’ve been, we couldn’t help but think what it would mean for our extended family… to be transformed in their thinking about marriage, to shake off the myths and preconceptions and to have what we have – a work in progress! We can only pray that one day the ongoing transformation that they can see in our marriage is compelling enough to make them curious, and want a great and extraordinary marriage for themselves, rather than settling for a “good” marriage.”

If you’re in a similar place with your marriage, please don’t give up hope yet. The FamilyLife conferences have helped hundreds of couples around the country strengthen their marriages (including the writer of this piece!). Feel free to browse their resources and find a conference near you at https://www.familylife.org.nz/. The team at FamilyLife don’t want finances to be a barrier to attending – Find out more about their scholarships here.

Hope to see you soon!

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