"What did it say? He wondered.
"I think it said something about a Love and Respect Conference April 17 and 18 at some 'Evangelical Friends' church or something like that?"
I didn't have to say anything else. Way back in 2005 or 6 I bought the book Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs and my eyes were opened to a lot of things I had never accepted as truth before. Here was a man who said everything my husband had been trying to tell me, plus some more, and I couldn't pass it off as....well.... "just my husband" anymore.
I actually went so far as to record most of the book on tape so Chris would listen to it and see what he thought. I re-read the book several years later and let the truths change me in deeper ways. I forget which year it was that we planned to attend a conference at a local church in Arkansas, but bad weather cancelled the event and we never went. After we moved to Ohio a couple from church was showing the videos and we planned to join the group but it ended up not working out.
All this to say - when the billboard caught my attention, it didn't take Chris long to gather the information, register online and send me the email with our registration ticket that said we were going!
You know how it is when you've always wanted to do something but it never worked out, and when the opportunity actually comes you wonder if you really even feel like doing this anymore? Maybe that's just a Bethany trademark, I don't know, but that's how I felt. "It probably won't even be that great and there are so many other things going on that weekend..." I'm embarrassed to admit that I also entertained these thoughts, "We know all this stuff already, it's not like we're going to be hearing anything new!"
To be honest, we didn't hear a lot of new things. But we did hear a lot of things that were good reminders! I think my favorite part about the experience was spending quality time discussing the whole thing together. We gave each other "grades" on how well we do with our love and respect toward each other. We expressed our appreciation for the areas where the other does especially well at meeting a certain need. We discussed why so many people miss the "respect" half of the equation and what it has done to our culture. In short, we renewed our commitment to each other and doing our marriage God's way!
It was also fun to watch my husband listen to a speaker address the topic of marriage in such a way that left him with practically no fault to find, but that is neither here nor there...
Dr. Eggerichs is an extremely talented speaker. He has the amazing ability of weaving stories and illustrations into his speaking in ways that bring his points home and make them come alive. I was blessed by his passion for truth. Not many would have the courage to stand in front of crowds and share a message that is so contrary to our culture and warrants such disdain! I sat and listened and wished we could have brought all our friends and acquaintences with us to fill that auditorium to the max -- imagine how this message could change the world!
If you want to hear a message that has the potential to change your marriage, check out the website at loveandrespect.com and find a conference going on at a church near you. It's worth putting forth the effort to make it happen! And even if you think you've heard it all already, there's always room for reminders and renewed commitment and quality time spent with your spouse!