"Love like you mean it" is the slogan for Family Life's weekend marriage seminar called A Weekend to Remember, WtR. Every year, couples from my church go to this conference. As a family with 3 children, finances and housesitters don't come easy. But this year we started supporting a friend of mine going on staff with Family Life, Brian Winkler, go to his website and support him here, and we received hugely discounted passes to a WtR conference. So we committed. We are glad we did. If nothing else, we were glad to get away, eat at a nice restaurant, and enjoy a beautiful and unusually warm Connecticut autumn weekend.
We don't consider our marriage in trouble or on the rocks, but, we reasoned, we aren't perfect and could always use encouragement and reminders on things we may have neglected. We did get good refreshers on communication, expectations, and spiritual communion with each other and our kids.
One of the spiritual disciplines I am weakest at is prayer. I go to prayer groups because I am so bad at it, not because I'm good at it. We were encouraged to be spiritually intimate by praying together. The seminar speakers talked about many dimensions of intimacy, emotional and physical, but the spiritual dimension is where I paid more attention. In the past, we have tried praying together before going to sleep at night, but I was usually guilty of going to sleep while my dear wife prayed. I'm not a prayer warrior, I'm a prayer sluggard. My best prayer posture is in motion. I pray through the Lord's prayer on my bike ride. So we decided we'd pray together on the evening dog walk.
The most stimulating part of the conference for me was the session for men. The speakers focused on our jobs as husbands and fathers. I was struck by the overwhelming disappointment in the room with our fathers. When the speaker, Raymond Causey, asked the room to call out the words they associate with their fathers, none I heard were good. Raymond admitted his own failings as a father, but pointed us to the goal of being like our perfect Father. One thing I came home with is to attempt to pray with my children, not just for them. I've succeeded this year in getting the kids to read through the New Testament this year, one chapter a day. We will try the Old Testament next, with 2 chapters a day. I'm satisfied that they now associate eating breakfast with getting their souls nourished as well. I have always prayed before dinner and I always pray for them when I kiss them good night. But I never pray with them. So since WtR, when I tuck them in, I pray for them and ask them to pray with me for something. I suggest people to pray for or events. They have done so, at my request.
At least for 3 days, the Weekend to Remember has resulted in positive spiritual change in our family. I hope people who come and comment here ask me, months and years from now if we are sustaining. Please ask.
We went to a couple great restaurants suggested by Chef Ben of The Inside Soup, that I hope to review this week, Tapas West Hartford and Shish Kabob Afghanistan of West Hartford.