If you have never experienced a Joy Rekindled Marriage weekend, then you are in for an incredible treat! My wife Cathy and I just had the honor and delight of teaming up with Chris Coursey to facilitate a weekend at our church in Orange County, California.
Joy & Shalom
Over the past few years we have learned, along with many of you, that joy and its companion Shalom are the way God designed our mind/body/spirit systems to function best.
Both joy and peace are relational. We experience these life-giving emotions whenever we are connected to or surrounded by those who are “glad to be with us.”
In the last few years, we have been so grateful to discover the power of sustaining and returning to joy and peace in our own marriage. We have learned that when we fell in love 37 years ago, we actually fell into joy with each other. See Jim Wilder’s article on Thriving in Marriage.
Marriage Training Weekend
The last weekend in August, 25 couples came to the Friday afternoon and all day Saturday retreat to experience a unique, interactive training where they learned six powerful relational skills that build joy and peace in marriage.
We watched and felt the joy and intimacy grow throughout the weekend as couples were given extended time practicing and applying the concepts we were presenting. There were multiple moments for us as facilitators where we looked around the room and literally watched love and joy be reignited in couples.
At one point, all the couples were doing a simple holding, quieting and appreciation exercise, and we could sense the presence of God in the room moving among us with significant Shalom and rest. It was a beautiful thing to see!
Something significant was occurring for each couple. Several shared with us afterwards that this particular exercise was the highlight of the weekend for them.
Testimonies from the Weekend
“The Rekindled Joy Marriage retreat we attended in August breathed new life and hope into our marriage. We came into the weekend joyless, angry, and resentful and left hopeful, softer, and connected. We have been able to maintain the change as we use the skills we learned to listen and respond to each other tenderly. We are grateful we had previously taken other Thrive courses and want to continue learning and growing in these skills.” – David and Kim
”We loved the Joy Rekindled retreat in Laguna Niguel. It has helped us to grow closer to The Lord and each other. We loved the ‘Joy Smiles,’ ‘Heart to Heart Holding,’ and Immanuel prayer exercises, and especially expressing appreciation to each other. We are incorporating these into our lives. We are also helping to start a couples’ group at our church and will use 30 Days of Joy book.” – Mark and Janet
“This marriage retreat was fantastic! We gained new vocabulary and techniques to foster joy and connection in our marriage. We loved the interactive activities that were woven throughout the weekend. This is not a typical marriage weekend, as we walked away with new, practical insights and activities to grow intimacy with each other. You will be blessed if you make time for this amazing weekend!” – Jeff and Sandy
The response was so great from the weekend that we decided to do 11 weeks of small groups with couples in our church to continue practicing some of the skills we learned in the retreat. The couples are in groups of three or four couples. We have designed a curriculum for them to follow each week supplemented with training emails, videos and occasional large group sessions.
Our desire is to equip and nurture marriages in every way we can. The groups are enjoying building friendships with other couples and discovering ways to build joy in their marriages.
If you would like to host a Marriage Weekend in the Western United States Kent and Cathy Larson are available to lead a Rekindled Joy Marriage Retreat in your area.