Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fireproofing Our Marriage

Upon leaving the Biltmore Estate, we drove to the Ridgecrest Conference Center on Friday evening and spent the rest of our time participating in the Marriage Impact Retreat. Since we have been married, we've attended only one other marriage conference. It's a great opportunity to refresh, reconnect and draw closer to each other and to the Lord. Although we really enjoyed the first retreat we attended several years ago, this one was a lot different. In addition to listening to a speaker, this event was designed to give couples plenty of time to enjoy being together participating in outdoor adventures. On Friday evening everyone met together for a nice banquet to get to know one another. After that, we had Praise & Worship followed by a speaker. He chose the topic "Fireproof Your Marriage" as a spinoff of the movie "Fireproof" coming to theaters on September 26th. Here's the trailer.

As we watched this trailer, I noticed the young couple sitting diagonally from us. The wife was sobbing and we found out they had only been married for eight months. I don't know what their situation was, but I said a prayer for them and asked God to meet them at this retreat. Neither of us had heard of the movie until the night before the conference when we saw the preview before the movie we were watching. This movie is promoting marriage which seems to be under fire these days. I just found out this week about another divorce taking place and am heartbroken because of it. God can help any situation and He cares deeply about the marriage covenant. The fact is that none of us has a perfect marriage. We all fight, hurt each other and go through difficut seasons along the way. If Christ can forgive us and lay down his life for us, how can we not forgive each other?
The speaker was excellent and such an encouragement. We were both challenged. After the first session on Friday evening, we had a campfire with everyone else attending the conference and made s'mores. I took the opportunity to talk with the speaker's wife for quite awhile and really enjoyed the conversation around the campfire. On Saturday morning after breakfast we had another hour long session of listening to our speaker. We played icebreaker games before each session and Kevin and I won this prize during the Saturday morning session. Woohoo!! This session concluded at 9 am and we then headed to our first adventure session. We could choose from a variety of options...whitewater rafting, rock wall climbing, horseback riding and so on. We chose to drive to Grandfather Mountain. We drove to the top and were awed by the breathtaking views that we saw. I was amazed over and over that day and so grateful for the chance to be right there at that moment.
I sometimes feel like some people (including myself) have lost their amazement and excitement over God's creation and His blessings...even the simple things. I really tried to absorb the moment. At the top of this mountain was the mile high swinging bridge. I wasn't so excited to cross this bridge (as you can see by the expression on my face), but did it anyway. Kevin wanted me to slow down and look around a little, but I was walking as quickly as I could over to the other side...solid ground. I could enjoy the view much better from there. :)
We decided to do a little hiking, but had to hurry because we were on a time crunch to get back to Ridgecrest for our high ropes course adventure by 1:30 pm. It was a beautiful hike up the mountain and quite a workout. There were signs posted that bears had been seen in the area recently so I was a little nervous about that and it didn't help that my husband kept growling behind me as we walked! It was hard to turn around and go back to our car, but we had to so we would be back in time for the ropes course. We literally ran down the mountain and made it back with only a few minutes to spare. That was one definite difference I noticed without kids...we could keep a tighter schedule which was nice for a change.
Here I am all ready for Adventure Session #2...the High Ropes Course. Kevin has done something similar to this in the past, but this was a first for me. It was a game of risk-taking, encouragement and trust between the couples. As I was up there, I seriously got scared and didn't know if I could do it, but hearing Kevin's voice encouraging me and coaching me through it really helped...and I made it!
I was pretty freaked out at this point...praying a lot. :) As I was nearing the end, we heard thunder in the distance and the rule is that nobody can be on the course when it thunders. I got to finish with this final swing (see video below), but we had to wait fifteen minutes before Kevin could go.

It took everything in me to jump off that platform...but it sure was fun.

Of course Kevin flew through the course at record speed.

We were supposed to do a zip line too, but the thunder continued and we had to stop the course. I was glad we were both able to get through the ropes course.
After that we had another hour long session, and then on Saturday evening we were on our own for a Date Night. I chose to go to Carraba's since it is a favorite and we don't have one in our area. Perfect choice...I've never tasted food as good as theirs...it's like having a party in your mouth...seriously. After dinner, we drove around downtown Asheville then headed back to our room for some R&R. :)

Sunday morning was another sesssion then we packed our things and headed North once again. It was hard to leave this beautiful part of the country. We met some great people and really had a wonderful time. We did miss the kids at this point and were anxious to get back and squeeze them again. Here's a picture with the wonderful speakers before leaving on Sunday.


Jenn said...

Beautiful....the scenery and your words!

Julie said...

Wow - how did you hear about such a great marriage retreat!?! Good for you for doing the ropes course and the bridge :-)

heather said...

Sherri....That retreat sounds so wonderful. I would love to attend something like again someday. We've only been to one marriage enrichment in our 10 years of marriage. This country would be a different place if all marriages were required to attend one seminar every 5 years. I agree marriages are under fire.

The movie looks really REALLY good! I can't wait to see it.

Thanks for sharing your trip. I'm so glad you got to go.

BTW....We were at Carrabbas last night, for a party in my mouth too! MMMMMmmmmm. We couldn't get away on the weekend for a date, So we dated on Tuesday. :) One advantage is no waiting for seating. :) What did you get for dinner?

Cottonista said...

Sherri, I'm so glad you got to go. It looks like you had a lot of fun, and I'm glad you were able to leave the kids behind in good hands.

I'm with you on the bridge thing. My stomach was doing flips just from seeing the picture!

Nicole said...

What a neat experience girl! I am so glad you had fun! Can't wait to hear more about it on Tuesday!

Sherri said...

I always get the Pollo Rosa Maria. Kevin usually orders something different everytime and ends up eating off my plate. :)

Glad you could have a date. We recently had a midweek date ourselves. My mom wanted the kids overnight on a Tues...YES!!! We went to dinner and a 10 oclock movie. It was great! :)

Byron said...


Glad to see that you guys had a great time attending Marriage Impact at Ridgecrest. Hopefully you can help us spread the word and encourage others to come next year!

Byron Hill
Executive Director
LifeWay Conference Centers