On the 1st August 2017 I awoke to my 25th Wedding Anniversary. I am not big on celebrating significant milestones. Matt and I had not planned to do anything particularly special to mark the occasion. Therefore it was a surprise to me on the actual morning to feel a sense of having achieved something quite momentous. Twenty-five years is a long time. Some marriages never attain that longevity. Some people have more than one marriage before they reach 25 years as a husband or wife; Tom Cruise being just one example! I felt a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t anticipated and remarked to Matt that I should have been given an award of some kind or a medal. Many of you will no doubt concur as you contemplate the thought of 25 years married to Matt! Jokes aside, it takes a serious amount of commitment to sustain and maintain a healthy, intimate relationship with one person over many years, through the ups and downs of life. Looking back, there have been moments when Matt and I have needed help and encouragement from others and no doubt we will do again. On reflection I can also see that we have often been complacent about the solidity of our relationship and perhaps this is where it has been the most vulnerable.
Matt and I have only ever enjoyed one marriage retreat in all of our 25 years and that is why we are so looking forward to Emmanuel’s first foray into running such an event. Together with Roger and Sally and Robert and Louise we hope that the Emmanuel marriage retreat will prove to be a great opportunity for us all to reflect upon, and strengthen our marriages as couples together. Though short, we anticipate that it will be a valuable time away from the responsibilities of work, home and family commitments to give our most significant relationship some undivided attention. We will be going back to the start in order to help us set meaningful expectations for our future together, helping us to prepare for long and fruitful relationships. Bring on the next 25!
We will have time to remind ourselves of God’s design and aspirations for us in marriage, remember all that we hold dear about one another and reinforce our relationships for the long haul, recognizing that all marriages go through vulnerable moments or seasons of hardship. We will have the opportunity to work through some simple exercises as well as having some time together as couples without agenda to reflect, enjoy one another (the hotel grounds and facilities an added bonus) or to seek out a listening ear from Roger and Sally, Robert and Louise or Matt and me, if that would be helpful. Between the six of us we have over 100 years of marital experience to share; the good, the bad and the ugly. You may plumb it’s depths as much or as little as you would like to. There will also be time and space for us to pray with, and for, each other.
If your marriage relationship is feeling some strain, it’s become weary or logistical, the retreat can offer some refreshment and strength. If you are doing well and have much to celebrate it can be an opportunity to seek God together for the future and all that He has in store for you. Whatever stage you are at; whatever state you feel that your relationship is in; Roger and Sally, Robert and Louise and Matt and I would love to host you and encourage you at our first ever Emmanuel Marriage Retreat.
Sign up to the marriage retreat here: https://emmanueloxford.churchsuite.co.uk/events/z7...