My husband, Timothy, and I attended the marriage enrichment weekend organized by the BC Ladies’ Ministry in August 2013. We expected to feel out of place. Most of the other couples attending had been married for at least 25 years, while we had been married for four months. But we decided that it was a timely opportunity to be cherished. We wanted to start out our marriage on a strong foundation and felt that the marriage workshop would remind us of some of the fundamentals of a Christ-centred marriage. Barely four months after saying our vows, the worries of life and the focus on self had blurred our memory of the Christ-like love that we had committed to.
The workshop was helpful in reminding us of several issues, such as the type of person Christ is; how we can communicate in a respectful and loving manner, and how to deal with conflict. While the first was a fundamental point, the latter two were skills that flowed forth from an emulation of Christ. The speaker, Dr Danny Goh, combined principles with practice. After teaching each set of principles, he got couples to discuss with each other their experiences relative to his teachings. This was to me the most effective part of the workshop. It allowed couples to immediately apply the principles that Dr Goh was sharing, and gave an opening for couples who do not usually discuss those issues to do so. The small group sharings were also enlightening. They gave couples the chance to see how others dealt with similar problems: good examples and bad, and the impact of each. This was when I truly appreciated the wisdom and experiences of the other two couples at my table who had been married for decades.
No day-long workshop can fundamentally change a marriage. But it can be part of a lifelong quest to be a more godly spouse for our partners. We are glad to have participated in the weekend retreat and hope that more young couples will cherish such opportunities and be able to take part in such marriage enrichment programmes in future!
Sister Elaine Toh