Real Marriage Tour

Monday I mentioned that Lovey and I took a little road trip over the weekend.  We went to a Real Marriage conference where Mark Driscoll taught on themes he covered in a sermon series and a book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.  Lovey and I read the book before the conference.  (For a mini-review, see the September entry in Out on My Library Card.)  We knew were in for a challenge!  I’ll give a brief trip rundown, then plenty of details at the end.  Here we go.

Real Marriage logo

This is what I packed.  I have trouble packing light for weekend trips, but this time this is all I took besides clothes.  (Well, okay, I also packed three books.  I can’t help it!)

pared down essentials

The assortment of orange amused me, which is why I took the photo.  Everything fit easily into this bag, which used to get a bit bulgy when there was makeup involved.

fits in the bag...easily!

This is what I wore.  I wanted to look feminine and flirty for my hubby, but also be warm enough in some brisk pre-fall weather.  The scarf-tie is a new technique I learned from this highly entertaining video from Wendy of Wendy’s Lookbook.  It’s the “magic trick.”

lace skirt, navy stripe shirt, gray tights & cardigan

This is what we ate.  When we arrived at our hotel, we asked the front desk staff for local dining recommendations, preferably non-chain.  We wanted something we couldn’t get at home.  Everything they suggested was sushi!  Hubby was not keen on that idea, and immediately fixated on the idea of gyros, which we’ve recently discovered and both enjoy.  After browsing the internet and combing the Yellow Pages for other options, we settled on gyros after all, and they were a splendid choice though, in our expert opinion, not as good as the gyros at home.

gyros for dinner

After dinner we dashed to Old Navy and bought Lovey some swim shorts since he didn’t pack his.  (I didn’t like the old ones anyway, and his new ones look better and cost–wait for it–$8.00.  Yeah!)  We slipped in a hot-tub dip before our evening conference session.

This is us at the conference.  Not much else to say about that.  These are our faces….

Lovey&me at the conference

This is what I drank on the first day of fall.  It rained all evening Friday, so Saturday morning was damp, chilly, and perfectly autumnal.  I capped off breakfast with a partly-coffee, mostly-cocoa drink with creamer.  Its steamy deliciousness seemed to verify that the season had officially changed.

hot cocoa/coffee

After our Saturday session we met up with friends from home to grab some lunch.  Here we are, photograph courtesy of a helpful stranger.

four of us outside conference

This is what I ate (the sequel).  It was called, I kid you not, a Chicken Salad Salad.  Apparently that’s what you get when you put chicken salad on top of lettuce.  The apple slices were the best part.  The rest was a little strange, but hey, it was Cracker Barrel; I should have known better than to try to go “light.”

Cracker Barrel lunch (chicken salad salad)

Here’s the requisite Cracker Barrel rocking chair photo.  It wasn’t really rocking chair weather; it was quite chilly and extremely windy!  In spite of that, let’s get sweet for a second: I hope Lovey and I are still best friends when the time comes for us to actually sit around all day in rocking chairs.  I believe in enduring love.

rockin' the day away

And this is what I learned about it.  Well, some brief highlights.

-Friendship is paramount to the success of romance.  I’m so glad Lovey spent time building a foundation of friendship between us before we got romantic.

-Four things that kill marriages are criticism, contempt (disgust), defensiveness, and stonewalling.  Things to work on!

-Martin Luther (the one from 1500s Germany) said, “All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.”  That means ‘going in a new direction’ (toward Jesus!) to leave my sins behind.

-It’s okay to be angry as long as I don’t let my anger lead me to sin.  It’s also okay to ask for time to get my heart right before a “discussion”/fight.  Mark suggested going in another room to pray, then coming back to talk.  I never thought of that!

-My standard of beauty is my spouse.  Comparison is a lust problem.  (Whoa!)

-One of the aspects of sex as a gift from God is knowledge.  I liked the way Mark explained it as “sacred intimacy as you grow in freedom and trust together.”  In case you’re wondering, the whole list includes: pleasure (Song of Songs); children (Genesis 1:28); knowledge (Genesis 4:1); protection (1 Corinthians 7:2-5); comfort (2 Samuel 12:24); and oneness (Genesis 2:24).

I am selfish!  This is not what I came to hear, but it is what became abundantly clear in the last session, “Selfish Lovers and Servant Lovers.”  (Lovey is selfish too, in case you were worried that people were being singled out.)  Selfishness is rooted in the sin of pride, which gives rise to all kinds of other sins.  One way to pursue humility is to correct the “little things” we do out of selfishness.  Lovey and I talked about them on the trip home.  For us, certain hobbies, communication habits, and omitted gestures of kindness can erode our relationship over time if we let them.  We’re not going to let them.  We talked out some practical changes we want to make in our “little” actions toward each other.

I loved this weekend–getting away from work and our routine, being with my best friend, and learning how to increase the depth (and length!) of our friendship were all worthwhile.  You made it all the way through my list, so now I want to know: what relationship advice helps you keep your love life on track?

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