Amanda and I attended the Great Smoky Mountain marriage retreat. This is a retreat put on by the Jacksonville Church of Christ, the same brethren who do Polishing-the-Pulpit. This was a our first retreat to attend. The retreat has grown to two sessions and about 500 couples. We have had a great vacation in the Smoky Mountains for the entire week.
As a part of the retreat they asked for written submissions from participants about what makes a great marriage. I wrote this description, which won Amanda a stuffed elephant (pictured below). I am so blessed to be married to Amanda and am so proud of her. It has been a great week with just her!
What Makes a Great Marriage
A great marriage is started with pure attraction and blissful joy in dating. It is united into a one flesh union at a wedding ceremony. It is forged through the challenges of life. A great marriage is fashioned through humility when each spouse realizes this marriage thing may be the hardest thing they ever tried to do. It is shaped by persistence and commitment late in the night to love. It is fueled by a deep pursuit to know one another, be what God called you to be, and love the other person more than yourself. It is tested by children who enrich and test the core unity and purpose of your marriage. It is nurtured by constantly serving one another in small deeds and thoughts. It is knowing the other person so well that you know their thoughts before they do. It is maintained through compromise, sacrifice, prayer, long walks, weekly worship, and joint service to the church. It is challenged by sex, in-laws, money, children, and selfishness, but love overcomes through patience, forgiveness, and loyalty. A great marriage is made over years, through tears, set-backs, and victories.