When you hear “marriage conference”, what are your first thoughts? Circles of chairs where you have to “share with the group”? Cheesy activities that either embarrass you or physically injure you? Couples yoga?
What if I told you you could sit in a room with 1,000 other people and feel like you’re the only couple in the room?
In late 2011, just before our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I attended a marriage conference with some friends. We went in a little cocky, thinking we had this marriage thing mastered. The sessions began at 7pm on a Friday evening and our group decided to grab food beforehand. Then, we realized we’d be late and laughed about it to ourselves.
I’m pretty sure that was the last of the many sessions my husband and I were late to that weekend. As we sat in a ballroom with hundreds of other couples, we listened to instructions and advice on marriage in such a constructive way. Both of us were blown away.
The conference was Family Life’s Weekend To Remember. When we walked into that ballroom, we had NO idea what an impact it would have on our marriage, our family or our lives. As a result of attending this conference, we now prioritize our marriage and offer to walk alongside others in theirs. We now serve on the local team for the Weekend to Remember in our area and just completed our 6th session.
You’re probably wondering…
What is a Weekend to Remember?
Weekend to Remember is a 3 day marriage conference held in a hotel ballroom at a really nice hotel. Participants are encouraged to stay in the hotel (with a group rate discount) to help remove distractions. The event features a 3 person speaker team – a couple and another married man. 9 total sessions – 2 on Friday, 5 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Couples complete projects between some of the sessions. But, these projects are not cheesy and insignificant. Instead, they provide an opportunity to discuss your marriage in a calm, healthy way. Hard, but necessary discussions help get couples on the same page.
Marriage Conference Session Topics
Many topics relevant to marriage are covered. For example, some sessions were titled, “Why Marriages Fail: Understand the 5 Threats to Marriage”, “We Fight,Too: Understand How to Handle Conflicts of Marriage” and “Woman to Woman / Man to Man: Stepping Up to a Higher Calling.” There are also optional sessions for pre-married/engaged couples. Additionally, couples are encouraged to participate in a “Date Night” on Saturday evening… something thoughtfully planned and special.
I love that this conference reaches participants, regardless of the duration or condition of the marriage. Some attendees are on the brink of divorce and leave reconciled with a healthy plan and full toolbox of ways to repair their broken marriage. Other couples have been married over 50 years and simply appreciate the refreshing. The theme of “oneness” repeats throughout the weekend and by the end, it feels within reach!
Tips for what to do after the conference are also addressed. It’s easy to experience “mountaintop” moments while away from life’s stresses for the weekend. However, Family Life understands the struggle when life resumes Monday morning. A resource center is filled with books to supplement the material covered throughout the weekend. Lastly, they encourage finding support from people at home who value marriage. Many find a local church with a healthy marriage ministry is a great place to start.
Weekend to Remember changed my marriage. Continuing to be a part of it has been one of the best decisions. Keeping your car tuned up is a no-brainer, right? It will run for years if properly maintained. Marriage is the same. Tune ups make a huge difference!
Check out Family Life’s Weekend to Remember!
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