Earlier this year (2010) I was reminded that people need God’s blueprints for marriage and family now more than ever.
My wife, Barbara, and I recently spoke to about 2,400 people at a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway in Washington, D.C. We saw that the principles in this conference are as relevant today as they were in 1976 when we first began to teach them.
For a few days we wondered if the Valentine’s weekend event would even take place. Several feet of snow were on the ground in the Washington, D.C., area, closing down offices and schools for much of that week. Yet somehow nearly everyone who registered made it to the Gaylord National Hotel. That alone showed me how much these couples wanted to work on their marriage relationship.
Here are some highlights from that remarkable weekend:
- More than 300 people indicated they received Christ at the conference.
- Another 700 dedicated their families to Christ.
- At the end of the conference Barbara and I, along with the other speaking couple, stayed until 2 p.m. talking with guests, signing marriage covenants, and having pictures made. So many stories of God working to change lives.
- Twenty-six couples came from Andrew Air Force Base on full scholarships (including two nights at the Gaylord) offered by the base chaplain.
- One man told me his wife gave him her wedding ring this past Christmas, asking him for a divorce. She asked for it back as the conference concluded.
- I met so many men who listen to FamilyLife Today on the radio. Many came up and told of how the show had impacted their lives.
- I don’t know the actual breakdown, but the diversity of the conference had to approach 40 percent. It was an honor to have so many young African American couples in attendance.
- We talked with one couple, Tazwell and Bonita Thornton, who are true warriors as they work in Baltimore to help couples build strong marriages. They said they had taken 1,584 people through FamilyLife’s Preparing for Marriage course in the last 15 years, as well as more than 5,000 folks through small groups using the HomeBuilders Couples Series®.
- Barbara and I met a couple from a Middle Eastern country; he’s a new believer, and she used to listen to FamilyLife Today when she was a teenager growing up in a remote part of that country. She never dreamed she’d have the opportunity to meet us. We prayed for them in the lobby of the Gaylord and commissioned them to return to their country and become emissaries for Christ and families. At that point they told us, “You do know that this could cost us our lives! Still, we want to obedient to God and be used by Him however He pleases.” Amazing.
- We met another couple who said they were divorced with three children. He had just been released from prison after five years, and somehow they found their way to the event despite the snow. By the end of the Weekend to Remember getaway they had decided to get remarried and join a HomeBuilders group.
To God be the glory. He is at work in marriages and families today.