May 2, 2008

An Anniversary & An Enriched Weekend

About 3 weeks ago, we celebrated our "proposal anniversary" - the day that W asked me for my hand in marriage. A year later, here I am in Brisbane. Its amazing how much can happen in the space of 12 months...

I cooked a special meal for us to enjoy and celebrate the occasion.

Pork chop with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and veggies

One year on...

It was also timely that we went off for a short getaway down at the Gold Coast last week. Thank God for the special promotion that we got for our 4D/3N accommodation at Surfer's Paradise. Hubby had bought this as a Valentine's Day gift for us to enjoy and we picked last week with Anzac Day public holiday to enjoy the gift :) We spent time relaxing, cooking (in the seld-contained apartment), watching DVDs, taking walks, eating and visited the casino :p (we only went in to look and did not play. I was flattered when the security asked for my ID because he think that I could be younger than 25 years old!)

In the queue for buffet dinner at Conrad Jupiters. A nice Aussie lady offered to take this for us.

Right after our break, we checked out and drove 2 beaches down to check ourselves in to a marriage enrichment retreat. This MER was organised by Chinese Families for Christ. There, we spent 3D/2N with 12 other couples, learning to enrich our marriages in Christ.

Everyone who has been to the retreat left with a "Wow" and an enriched marriage. But of course we have to put into practice what we have learnt thereafter. To begin with, it was a rather challenging task because the retreat was conducted in Mandarin (there was only either Mandarin or Cantonese to choose from). Hubby had a little more difficulty than me but he eventually understood more than 90% of it. My parents-in-law had gone for this MER years ago and their marriage was transformed thereafter and hence they felt burdened enough to serve in the ministry to facilitate the retreats. Having personally witnessed the transformation, hubby and his sister decided to sign up with their spouses respectively.

Many of the things that were taught were not too new to me and hubby. But what was very helpful was the genuine and honest sharing of experiences from the facilitating couples. We also got to put into practice, how to do certain things, like effective communication, how to build up each other's emotional banks, how to share our feelings especially our negative feelings. The practical lessons helped us a lot. Being put in the environment of 12 other couples with varying years of marriage and everyone were there with a humble heart of learning, we walked away feeling really recharged to work on our marriage.

After our romantic dinner: words that read literally "We love because God first loved us. How God love us, we also love each other in the same manner"

Do not be mistakened that MER is meant for those whose marriages are on the rocks. It is to enrich our marriages. Although we are only married for 5 months+, the past attendees would tell you that it is better to attend the MER when you are younger in marriage, than later in marriage. Indeed like one couple said, we could be involved in setting up a good family of origin and background for our children and their marriages. Like it or not, our mindset of marriage and family come from our own family with our parents. So it is crucial that we begin now for our future generations... and by God's grace, our marriage, our children and their marriages will honour Christ.

MER made us better understand that marriage is tough, but it is a good thing that God instituted. We learnt practical methods on how to work through our marriage, to build in the romance factor into it and also how to practically love each other in Christ - to love and respect each other. It is not easy for husbands to love their wives just as Christ love and sacrifice for the church. It is also not easy for wives to submit to their husbands. But we all learn and progress together in this journey and I think this is the beauty of it all :)

I thank God for the gift of His love, the gift of marriage and the gift of my hubby.

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