After I quit my teaching & coaching job 4 years ago and we started doing jobs as a family & spending more time ministering to others, the dynamics of our marriage changed quite a bit. We were now together 24/7 for the most part. Needless to say, some adjusting was required. Chelsa, along with being my wife, became my closest friend and employee (sort of). That was different. We struggled with those roles for a while & never quite got the communication & expectations like we wanted. After a few years of trying to fix things on our own we started talking about getting some marriage counseling, but we always decided we could do it on our own.
A couple of months ago we started going verse by verse through the book of Proverbs for our morning family Bible study. Over and over again Proverbs talks about how wise people seek Godly advice. It finally hit us that God was trying to tell us it's good to get Biblical counseling. So, we started looking at the options for retreat/seminar weekends for marriages. I found quite a few of them that looked fun & more like a vacation with an auditorium full of people laughing at a humorous speaker. That was not what we wanted. A friend recommended a marriage intensive through Relational Care out of Austin so we checked them out. It was by far the longest & most expensive, but most of the time you get what you pay for. So we signed up.
The first thing we did was several hours of on-line questionnaires. Then we went to Austin for 8 hours of counseling (which was absolutely wonderful). Then we went to the Omni Hotel in Austin for 4 days of "intensive" marriage counseling with 3 other couples. From 9 am until about 9 pm (we had an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner which we all ate together at a big table) we all were in the hotel room together.
The premise of Relational Care intensive counseling is not to try & change each other, that's the Holy Spirits job, but to heal any hurt (all anger comes from hurt) that has been experienced by learning how to care for & comfort each other. Remove their aloneness with a more intimate relationship. That starts with honesty & intimate openness. We all shared our childhood experiences and some had a lot of pain from that time. Others had some issues that they never realized until they talked it out with wise, trained counselors asking hard questions & giving Godly, scriptural advice. When you realize that your spouse might be acting in a way because of something from their childhood, you feel compassion for them filled with grace. We also talked about dealing with fear, what gets in the way of our spouses needs being met, how to confess, & lots more.
We all had some hurts & we all experienced some healing. Praise God.