We attended our first Heart of Marriage retreat three years ago. We had been married 39 years at the time. Joy and Mike invited us many times before but since our wedding anniversary is September 6; our plans often collided with the dates. That particular year we made the Heart of Marriage Retreat a priority.
Our many years of marriage taught us that marriage requires continuous work. As individuals, we grow and change with time requiring our relationships to grow and evolve. Several years prior to attending this retreat, we participated in a group lead marriage workshop with three other couples. We met weekly for several months. Although we learned a lot with and from each other, there were some serious voids. The Heart of Marriage retreat filled those voids.
Our experience with HOM provided the opportunity to hear from experienced speakers who were willing to be transparent, a chance to focus on topics of particular interest to us, dedicated time to work on issues with other couples at different stages of marriage, Biblical scholars to guide our overall experience, an occasion to make each other feel special; in other words, time to reset and recalibrate our relationship. We had a rich experience each of the three years, we attended.Eugene & Patricia Woods, Atlanta, GA
Your marriage should not be defined by the size of your struggles, but by the size of your commitment to overcome these struggles together.
This is what we learned at the Heart of Marriage Retreat the times that we have attended. We are from Cincinnati, OH but we know that this is a divine investment in our marriage. We are not alone in this. Committing to your marriage, which is ordained by God, is one that is built to be a LASTING union. But we also found that we must handle our challenges, struggles, as well as our joys, and at the same time- draw closer to God in our union. This has been so valuable to us from the Heart of Marriage retreat that we are sharing this information with several other couples in Cincinnati!
Last year, we invited another couple to come with us to the retreat and they were EXTREMELY blessed by it!!! Our marriages have grown in Christ as we are both new empty nesters, which is a transition in itself!
Here are some Marriage Points of Praise that we have experienced:
- My husband and I have committed to a “Date Night”, at least monthly and what a blessing this has been for US!!! We are focused on each other.
- On our drive home from the last HOM retreat with the other couple that attended with us, we prayed and decided to outline/plan/design a marriage retreat to organize at our home church. The planning is well underway and will occur this year!!! Praise God!!
- My husband and I have started a Newly Married Couples Class in our home and what a blessing it has been to share what we have gained from the HOM Retreat. God can do anything!!!
All in all, the Heart of Marriage has truly been something that we needed at such an appointed time. My husband has always been anti-marriage retreats/classes but now he sees their value and that the deep happiness that marriage can bring; it lies on the side of sacrificial service in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If we can begin to understand that MARRIAGE should mirror God’s covenant relationship with His people, ours will flourish as God has designed it to be.Lorenzo (Tony) & Maria Bates, Cincinnati, OH
Before attending the Heart of Marriage Retreat, my husband and I researched several different retreat opportunities in the local area. We were looking for a Christian retreat where we could grow and learn together as husband and wife. After much thought, we decided to participate in the Heart of Marriage Retreat. It was such a wonderful experience for the both of us.
My husband and I met so many couples who had overcome some of the challenges that we were facing. They were very transparent with their experiences and offered Godly advice on how to remain married. The three seminars we signed up for were extremely informative and beneficial. The seminars’ presenters openly shared their struggles and victories, while encouraging us to do the same. We left each seminar with practical and valuable ways to improve our marriage. In addition, the guest speakers were dynamic. They poured wisdom into each couple and entertained us with several personal stories.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the Heart of Marriage staff for putting together such a professional, spiritual, and loving retreat. My husband and I returned home with a renewed mind, more determination, and a greater sense of purpose.Maggie & Anthony, Georgia
We attended our first Heart of Marriage conference last September. The experience was truly a blessing. The workshops addressed real life issues and provided a forum for sharing and receiving new ideas. It was awesome to see couples who were newlyweds to those that were celebrating 40 years or more of marriage sharing in the same workshops. The worship services were spirit filled and brought us closer together as a couple. We also enjoyed spending time with old friends and meeting new ones. The venue helped to set the tone for a relaxing and fun weekend. Every marriage needs this kind of practical and spiritual “tune-up” this conference provides. We are planning to make this a yearly destination.Danny and Pamela Creed, Chicago, IL
Attending the Heart of Marriage Retreat made us focus on each other more, because with day-to-day life, you miss out on the oneness because of family/work/etc. It also made us realize that all marriages have problems and attending the retreat helps you to find ways to repair them. First and foremost, it made us focus on putting God first in your marriage, communication and trust. John & Antionette Watkins
The Marriage Retreat has been beneficial for our marriage! The Heart of Marriage Retreat has helped our marriage in so many ways! We are always given focus points to review with each other such as Love, Respect, and Honor! The material covered at the retreat helped us with our marriage vision. Attending the marriage retreat has taught us how to work together, solve problems together and respect each other spiritually. Most importantly, we have learned new ways to embrace each other’s differences and maintain unconditional.Keith & Val Warner
We thoroughly enjoyed the retreat and thank God for the opportunity to attend. The time together was much needed. From the moment we arrived to the time we left, the event was impactful! It was well-planned, uplifting, fun, and beneficial. We met many couples at different places in their marital and Christian walk and were able to connect on so many levels- through discussions, sermons, classes, videos, and meal sharing. The final ceremony reminded us of the vows we exchanged before God and one another. We are looking forward to the next one!Ron & Michelle Jones
The Heart of Marriage Retreat continues to revive our marriage and inspires us to make this journey more rewarding. The fellowship is incredible. This past year we were blessed with the awesome entertainment of Milkshake. The HOM Committee always operates in a Spirit of Excellence.Harvey & Verdita Monk
When my husband and I attended the 2013 Heart of Marriage (HOM) retreat, we did not have high expectations of getting much out of it since we felt that we didn’t have any “real” marital issues that needed to be addressed or resolved. We attended because it was a quick, easy, and affordable weekend getaway that was close to home. Being members of Cascade UMC, we also wanted to support Cascade’s Marriage Ministry efforts. Needless to say, we underestimated the value and benefits of attending this amazing retreat.
We were pleasantly surprised and blown away not just by how professional and well organized the retreat was, but also by the genuineness of all the couples and ministry leaders. The sessions were amazing and provided us with a wealth of information on subject matters in Finance, Communications, Intimacy, etc. Pastor Dan Williams is a phenomenal speaker; he imparted in us his personal and scriptural based knowledge for a successful marriage, in that an understanding of the gospel is central to a successful marriage.
The theme of “Oneness” resonated throughout the weekend (Ephesians 5:31). However, being ONE does not mean being the same. As Pastor Williams so eloquently stated, “If both spouses were the same, one of them would not be necessary.” We also really enjoyed having the opportunity to spend quality time with each other, and with other Christian couples. On date night, we double-dated with another couple and had an awesome time.
We are attending the retreat again this year because while we are blessed to have a good marriage, the retreat is an excellent reminder for us to always keep God in the center of our marriage, and by doing so, our marriage will continue to prosper. Even if we don’t have any specific marital issues to address, attending the retreat is like a “car tune-up” – we don’t want to wait for it to be broke before we fix it. We thoroughly enjoyed the retreat, and look forward to HOM Retreat 2014!Edwin & Greta Tifre