A welder, chemist, music teacher, engineer, brain-cancer researcher, chaplain, physician, nurse, pastor, midwife, military analyst, business owner, and workers in a predominantly Muslim country. From Minnesota, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, New York, Florida, Colorado and the Middle East. Married between one year and forty-eight years. Over 400 cumulative years of marriage experience. Twelve couples and two awesome leadership couples. Four days together in an idyllic hundred year-old castle.

Castle 1One of the four R goals of our sabbatical was to reconnect. Reconnect with God. Reconnect with our spiritual and familial roots. Reconnect with our immediate and extended family. And of top importance, was for Linda and I to reconnect in our marriage. So we signed up nearly a year ago to attend a weekend Marriage GetAway in Colorado. We are so grateful we did.

It’s not that we had really disconnected. We’ve had a solid marriage. In a couple months, we will be celebrating forty years. But we wanted to be intentional about renewing our connection, strengthening our connection, developing fresh habits that will connect us even stronger for longer. We want to finish strong.

Castle2“Renewed intentionality” is what retreat participant, Daron Decker coined it. It’s not that we learned a bunch of brand new concepts or principles. Most of it we had heard before read before and even previously taught to other couples. But we learned. Relearned. We renewed our intentionality of regularly practicing the things we know to be helpful.

In addition to last weekend’s incredible four-day marriage retreat, Linda and I have been intentional about renewing our marriage throughout our entire four-month sabbatical journey. We’ve been listening to or reading: He Wins, She Wins; Devotions for a Sacred Marriage; Love & War; Love Talk for Couples; His Needs, Her Needs; and more. We’ve been more intentional and consistent to pray together and read the Bible jointly. We’ve been intentional about speaking each other’s “love language.”

A great marriage is hard work. It doesn’t happen by accident. It isn’t automatic. Unintentionally, relationships drift. An abundant marriage takes intentionality. These four months of intentional effort have been fruitful. We feel closer and more connected than ever. We’ve enjoyed our first-ever time of being together 24/7 for one hundred and twenty back-to-back days. We genuinely missed each other this week when we spent a few hours apart taking different flights to and from Colorado (using frequent flyer miles on different airlines).CastleRoom

If married, are you intentional about investing in the health and growth of your marriage? Maybe it is time for renewed intentionality—Reading. Sharing. Retreating. Playing. Praying. Counseling. Whatever.

Renewed intentionality. That’s what it takes. For sure.

P.S. We highly recommend the Marriage GetAway’s offered at The Glen Eyrie Conference Center. Leaders Terry and Leah Green are awesome! And assistant leaders Mike and Patty Berens were a great addition to the team.




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