Last Saturday, hubby and I attended a marriage seminar. This is the second marriage seminar/conference that we've gone to since getting married 4.5 years ago.
When I told my co-workers on Monday what I did over the weekend, they questioned as to why I would do such a thing? My answer: My marriage is in pretty good shape, and I want to keep it that way.
You go to the doctor to do a regular checkup to see if you're healthy. If there's something wrong, then you take steps to fix it. In business, you continually check upon your customers to see if they are happy and that you have a good relationship with them.
So why not have a regular marriage checkup? Why wait for you to be unhappy about your marriage before doing something about it? Marriage is hard work, and no one I know is ever given a user manual to figure out how to get through with it. We can only learn by example and trial-and-error. I am certainly no expert, and I can't say I'm really an expert of my own marriage, so why not get as much help as I can? I'm not perfect, and neither is hubby.
Going to these seminars has given me good ideas as to how develop my relationship with my hubby. The great thing is that hubby is also there, so he hears the same things I hear. I know that we have challenges coming in the next 5, 10, 15, 20, 50 years down the road, so I want to continue to build a strong foundation now.
I find that going to these seminars so helpful. I've been to counselling once in my life (for non-marriage issues), and this is different. I've been given practical tips on communication, sex, and how to deal with issues when they arise, stuff that you don't normally hear in counselling sessions. The first one we attended even had homework for us, but it forced us to talk about and answer questions that we normally (as well as most couples) don't talk about. I suppose you can view it as a user manual for marriage.
The main speakers of these seminars are marriage counsellors, and have been for many, many years, so they've seen it all. They've also seen people heal their marriages, so their advice is certainly worth their weight in gold. What I particularly appreciate hearing is stories about their own marriages. It goes to show you that everyone does deal with the same issues and even those who are the "experts" are also human and just as fallible as we are.
So I strongly encourage any one of you, no matter how long you've been married, or what stage your marriage is at, to try one of these seminars. They have claimed that there were people who attended pretty much as a last resort, and if this didn't work, they would have gotten a divorce. Many have said that it has saved their marriage (not to say that they didn't have a hard road afterwards to fixing their marriage, but at least now they have a focus and a common goal).
Whether or not you believe that, I can believe it because I've come away with positive tools and ideas that anyone can use to continue to strengthen their marriage. Believe it or not, a lot of stuff is pretty common sense, it sometimes takes someone else to point it out.
Please note that the ones that I'm listing here are Christian seminars, although many non-Christians do attend. If you're not comfortable with the idea, don't click on the links.
The one we attended on Saturday: Dr. Gary Chapman
Family Life Canada