The Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway has been changing the forevers of couples for more than 40 years. In 2018, more than 60,000 people learned about God’s design for marriage as FamilyLife hosted 92 getaways around the country. 

Many conference guests are in a good place in their relationship and simply want to learn how to be better together. Others have divorce papers already drawn up. Last year nearly 11,000 people indicated they were recommitting to their relationship. And 986 individuals let us know they received Christ as their Lord and Savior! 

It’s not just about the numbers, but what each one of those represents: marriage transformation. At the end of every event, guests are invited to tell us their stories. Here are a few of our favorites from 2018.

One decision can impact generations

This is [our] second getaway, our first since being married. God led us here by way of my parents. My parents’ marriage was strained growing up. I remember many, many yelling matches and family meetings.

Often I was asked to be the moderator. I tried to be a peacemaker. My parents are both very loving and cared deeply for my sister and me. I should note that my father is a pastor. My mother often felt alone and neglected.

I remember during my senior year, my mom sat me down and told me that she was going to leave my dad. She didn’t deserve to be unhappy for the rest of her life. I asked her how she would make it by herself, and she told me she had been saving away money to pay for an apartment.

After our talk, I immediately went into, “We’ve got to save their marriage” mode. I found Mom’s stash, over $1,000, and hid it so she couldn’t find it, and began to research. I reached out to one of the deacons, looked at counselors, and finally found Weekend to Remember.

My sister and I combined what little money we had, bought the tickets and hotel, printed the itinerary, and presented it to them. Thank God they went. I had never seen them so in love and so caring for one another. They’ve stayed together and will celebrate their 29th anniversary this year. God is amazing. Now my children will be able to see their grandparents together.

My husband and I have now been to Weekend to Remember twice, and my sister and her fiancé plan to attend for the first time next month. Thank you for your ministry in keeping families together!

They discovered they weren’t alone

My husband and I [are] both police officers. We saw two other officers from his department that came to this Weekend to Remember. We knew we weren’t alone, but we often feel very alone in our struggles at home. Because we are supposed to be strong, we are trained to put our feelings aside and care for others. Our eyes opened this weekend to the need to help others in our boat … There is a need.

Thank you for the realization that we are not struggling alone. We tell cops all the time to talk, talk about what you see on the streets. But what first responder couples need to hear is talk to each otherbecause they aren’t alone. Take care of yourself and your family, you don’t have to be strong at home, you aren’t to fix everything at home like you are on calls. Instead ask for help and you might just find out your colleagues are struggling, too.

She didn’t believe one weekend could make a difference

When we showed up, we were broken and hurting. We were committed to staying together, but had no idea how to stop living in conflict and isolation. I came kicking and screaming. A weekend alone with my husband with no escape sounded like hell on earth.

We drove nine hours in silence. We fought during every break the first day. But by the end of the weekend, God moved in our marriage.

It was nothing he or I could have ever done on our own. Honestly, it was a miracle. I didn’t believe them when they told me one weekend can save a marriage. We came here feeling like we were enemies. We left here as best friends.

We learned how to communicate. I learned how to respect and support my husband. It’s not a magical fix. But for the first time in a long time, I feel re-inspired and filled with hope about the future. I feel like I have direction and tools, and an achievable goal. I have a plan, God’s plan.

The greatest thing I learned this weekend is that God is BIGGER than the challenges in my marriage. It feels so good to know that I can let go, let God be in control, and trust that it will all be ok.

Their marriage was broken after losing their son

We started out coming to Weekend to Remember needing a revival. We never learned our “roles” or how to deal with conflict with good, strong communication. We were broken and distant after losing our son and going through a very rough year financially. We were trying to come together, but floundering.

After the Weekend to Remember, we have been closer than we could have imagined. We have had in-depth talks and lowered our pride. We broke down walls, shed tears, and had talks that led us back to finding a closeness that we hadn’t felt in years. We are so thankful for this weekend, and we will be back every year for a tune-up. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

She had lost hope for their marriage

My husband and I came to [Weekend to Remember] a second time. This time [my husband] is five years sober. During sobriety and working on recovery (AA program) there were two relapses.

The life of addiction greatly affected our marriage. The communication was gone along with trust, companionship, respect, and intimacy. We lost hope again. FamilyLife was our last effort to rebuild our marriage.

Friday and Saturday started out well at the conference. By Saturday, things fell apart. I said, “Let’s leave the conference.” We did!

At 7 p.m. we were on I-4 heading back to Tampa. God stopped our car. I felt Him speak to me, Go back to the hotel. Forgive Victor.

We talked on the side of the road and turned the car around back to the hotel. We unpacked our things and went out for date night. [We] both surrendered to the Lord. We will put God first to create oneness.

We want to stay married and do the work to better our marriage. It’s now the last hour of the conference and we both are so happy we stayed! We love God and are leaning on Him to move forward. Thank you FamilyLife for letting me share. Thank you for giving us hope.

From isolation to an affair

Over the past couple of years, life took us to a consistent place of isolation. Over time, I felt alone and unsupported, and a lack of emotional connection led to a lack of physical connection and ultimately an extramarital affair.

As a result of the isolation and where we found ourselves, we went through a temporary separation, all while doubting God and His purpose for us. Although [my husband] believed that divorce wasn’t an option, I was strongly considering it … Some God-loving family friends suggested we attend the Weekend to Remember and we arrived with hearts ready to forgive and love.

This experience and weekend has shown us ways in which we have failed one another, rejected our needs, ignored our vows, and most importantly, disobeyed God. We have learned that our marriage was and continues to be God’s plan and purpose for our life. If we can acknowledge that and keep that at the center of our family, our marriage will not only recover from a place of hurt and pain, but will flourish to become the very gift it was intended to be by God.

We now understand how trusting and seeking God daily can help us to achieve a place of oneness in our marriage. Today, we leave with previously crushed spirits and broken hearts, now walking out with renewed and uplifted spirits and hearts full of forgiveness and love. We leave as one, and knowing The One who makes our marriage complete. Thank you from the bottom of our mended hearts.

Pornography hurt their marriage

My wife and I came here after narrowly escaping a divorce. I had engaged in pornography early on in our marriage. In trying to rid this sin from my life, I turned to emotional affairs outside of my marriage. My wife and I even attended counseling for a year to fix what was wrong while the whole time I was hiding my sinful actions.

My wife found out, confronted me, and offered grace. This moment broke me, and I then and there repented and began the process of restoration.

Now we are here three months later. This conference has allowed us to take a leap years ahead and move beyond much of the hurt we had suffered. We are both committed to not only seeing our marriage grow, but seeing how God can use our story to help others.

We’re thankful to God for the work He has let us witness in 2018. But one last comment from a couple reminds us that even the best marriages can benefit from a weekend together. 

Too often people view these conferences/retreats as a last ditch effort to save a marriage. We have a really good marriage but want it to be better. The [Weekend to Remember] is a way to check under the hood and keep it running smooth. Oil changes are cheaper than an engine overhaul. We continue to encourage other couples to work on their marriages no matter how long they’ve been married or the condition of their marriage.

Here’s to more transforming stories in 2019!

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