Monday, September 16

Marriage Retreat!

Ryan signed us up for a garrison chaplain-led Christian marriage retreat this past weekend in Garmisch.  Smart man! It was fabulous! We paid $50 for the three day weekend seminar and the chaplaincy covered our room, meals, and childcare! Awesome deal! 

As a group of 25 couples, we watched a four part dvd seminar series by Mark Gungor called "Laugh your way to a better marriage." And laugh we did! Gungor's delivery and information were priceless. Oh the inside jokes we'll enjoy sharing! 

I saw all the videos in their entirety are available too on youtube. This is valuable stuff and fun!
1. Tale of Two Brains
2. Yo Mama - the #1 key to incredible sex (actually five keys)
3. How to stay married and not kill anybody

We both thought how great it was to hear someone speak so candidly and with clean humor about the differences between men's and women's brains, needs, and challenges from a Christian perspective. We walked away with greater understanding of each other within a fun framework to draw upon. Our favorite parts were:
- Men's vs. Women's brains = compartmentalized boxes vs. ball of interconnected wires 
- How to get what you want from your spouse and how we tend to keep score
- Hollywood and "experts" vs. scientific reality on matters of sex, pornography, and masturbation in relationships 

I think this was Ryan's first exposure in some time attending something led by another faith. Because the American community is a small world here, I've had quite a bit of exposure to the activities and invitations to a few denominations - particularly through my ward friend whose husband was a chaplain here until they moved onto their next duty station. We so enjoyed feeling a part of this non-denominational group for this seminar! Good people and good to see what other churches do to help people and families. There are so many great resources out there by faith-filled people doing good!

One of the most refreshing parts was the chaplain leading it introduced himself to us by sharing a brief overview of his life and struggles. Raised in a Christian Texan home, went off to college and started dating a girl + premarital sex. Because of how he was raised, he felt that tension and shame and so he married the girl for all the wrong reasons. It was a disastrous abusive marriage and ended three years later. He joined the Air Force because he did well in the exam and wanted to get his act together. He met his now wife of over 20 years, learned about how marriage can be but still struggled with normal stuff of life and even pornography. He spoke briefly about the masks we wear in relationships (referencing a book entitled "The Trauma of Transparency") and challenged us to take off our masks, live real and vulnerable within our marriages, and to have accountability systems in place. 

The chaplain and his wife demonstrated a daily couple's devotional which was very sweet. In five minutes, they that day's reading from a daily devotional book and scripture. Then they asked each other what one or two things they could pray for each other that day and then they took turns praying for each other. It was very sweet, very doable. There are countless couples devotional books and resources out there.

Great weekend in beautiful Garmisch!