My wife, Merry, and I drove to Dallas for Valentine’s weekend—a nice getaway to enjoy time together and to attend the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. It was amazing to see a crowd of over 4,000 people filling the huge ballroom at the Gaylord Texan hotel. In all, nearly 9,400 attended 10 conferences on Valentine’s weekend around the country.
During times like these, when so many are worried about the economy and about job security, it’s important to go back to the basics, to the priorities of life. That’s why I was pleased to see so many couples at the Weekend to Remember conference in Dallas—they were making an investment in their marriage. They were strengthening the foundation that will help them withstand the storms of life (Matthew 7:24-25).
A number of couples at the conference were there because they received a scholarship to attend after losing their jobs. One wife wrote:
My husband has had 3 jobs in the past 4 years, and the separation from the last job had begun to cause a large amount of contention in our marriage … We've been married just over 10 years and for the most part things have gone beautifully. But, in the past year, if I were to be completely honest, I'd begun looking at my husband differently. I began taking many of the things that caused me to fall in love with him for granted—I saw his gentleness as weakness, his kindness as indecisiveness. The Weekend to Remember conference reminded me that our marriage is worth so much more than the stupid games I've been playing … I love my husband and I'm so grateful that you took the time this weekend, to scrub the "dirt of life" off of my eyes … the TRUTH is either we WIN TOGETHER or we BOTH LOSE.
For Merry and me, it was a time to enjoy being together, away from the normal everyday pressures of life. With its giant atrium filled with plants and trees and streams, the Gaylord Texan is one of the most romantic conference venues in the country. I watched a lot of happy couples recapturing that sense of young love which so easily fades over the years.
Our getaway continued even as we drove home to Little Rock and talked about dreams for the future and made plans for our daughter Melissa’s wedding this summer. And then … boom!
We were jolted back into reality by a huge blow to the rear of our SUV. A vehicle in the passing lane had suddenly lost control and swerved into us. Somehow both vehicles remained steady, and we quickly pulled to the side to assess the damage and to call the state police. Nobody was hurt, and while we could still drive our SUV, the front end of the other driver’s minivan sustained major damage.
As I’ve thought further about the accident, I’m filled with a sense of gratitude for the knowledge that, ultimately, my life is in God’s hands. You make all kinds of plans for your life, and then you realize how powerless you really are to control your destiny.
The other driver probably hit our vehicle in the one place (the rear) where we could still maintain control. If he had swerved a split-second later, he would have hit our car on the side—perhaps right where I was sitting as the driver—and we easily could have spun or rolled. If he had swerved a second earlier, he would have missed our car entirely … and flown right over an embankment into a line of trees.
And so our Valentine’s adventure ended on a sober note. It was truly a “back to the basics” getaway; at the end I found myself grateful not only for my wife, but also for my life.
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