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What a Difference a Weekend Can Make

with Dennis Rainey | July 19, 2006

Can your marriage change in a weekend? We think so! Today on the broadcast, FamilyLife President Dennis Rainey talks about the couples whose lives and marriages were changed forever after attending the largest "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference held recently in Dallas.

Can your marriage change in a weekend? We think so! Today on the broadcast, FamilyLife President Dennis Rainey talks about the couples whose lives and marriages were changed forever after attending the largest "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference held recently in Dallas.

What a Difference a Weekend Can Make

With Dennis Rainey
|
July 19, 2006
| Download Transcript PDF

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Bob: Different people come to a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference expecting different things. 

Man: Why did you come today?

Man: I just want my wife to know that I still love her, and that I'm committed to her, and I always will be.

Woman: But I want to know, too, what God expects out of our relationship, especially what are good ways to keep the communication lines open.

Man: I just hope to learn some things that I can take home.  My wife and I are working on our marriage all the time, and just looking for more tools.

Woman: Just closer intimacy, the fun and to hear what God has to say about marriages.

Man: Why did you come today?

Man: Because my wife asked me to.

Man: See?  Ask the wives.

Man: What is your hope for the day?

Man: That's a good question.  I don't know what to expect.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, July 19th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Step aside, Barry Bonds, we're going to hear today about one recent Weekend to Remember conference that made its way into the record books.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday.  You know, it is tough in the middle of summer to stop and think about a fall weekend and spending a weekend together as a couple getting away, because it just seems like it's so far away.  But I know, for my schedule, if I don't sit down now and start to make some plans, then nothing happens.  Do you know what I mean?

Dennis: I do, and there's a lot of our listeners who have been listening to you and me and Barbara from time to time talk about the power of spending a weekend away together to sit and soak in the Scriptures and have a fun, romantic getaway as a couple and join us at a Weekend to Remember.  But if you don't plan ahead, Bob, you're not going to get away in the fall.  The football games, the activities, the issues that come up -- I'm just telling you, you have to put it on the calendar.

Bob: Just raking the leaves, I mean, nothing else.  See, that's a …

Dennis: … no, no, no, no, no, you let the leaves -- God intended for the leaves to nourish the earth.

Bob: This is how you handle your yardwork?

Dennis: It was how my dad did it.  He let the lawn die right about now, and then when the leaves fell, they provided a nice mulch, a nice mulch for the earth, for the planet.

Bob: This week we have been encouraging listeners to contact us and go ahead and make plans for one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember conferences this fall, and if you'll contact us, either go online at FamilyLife.com and register for an upcoming conference, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to register and make sure you let us know that you're a listener to FamilyLife Today, we're offering FamilyLife Today listeners the group rate so you wind up saving $60 per couple off the regular registration fee by signing up before the end of this week.

 Again, our website if FamilyLife.com.  You can call toll-free 1-800-FLTODAY, you get registered for one of these upcoming fall conferences, you'll have a great weekend together, just the two of you, and you'll save a little money by planning ahead.  Not only will you make sure you get there, but you save a little money in the process.

Dennis: Instead of talking about it, you'll be able to experience it together.  I want to read a quote from a recent Weekend to Remember in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  This is from a pair of marriage and family therapists who have been married to one another more than a decade.

Bob: A husband and wife, and they're both marriage counselors?

Dennis: Yeah, yeah, right.  The wife said, "Begin a therapist and being married to one, we're supposed to have this thing all figured out.  Hah!"  Well, as being -- and I might add at this point being a host of a daily radio program speaking on marriage and family and writing on it as well, we're supposed to have it figured out, too, right?

Bob: Hah!

Dennis: Yeah, that's right.  She goes on to say, "Well, going through these sessions and working on these projects together has been life-changing and eye-opening.  We have not focused on each other this much in a long time and have been able to renew our devotion and commitment to each other and our marriage.  Thank you for your dedication to marriages and families and your obedience to God!"  Now, are you interested in what the husband had to say?

Bob: Oh, did he write a comment, too?

Dennis: He did.  He said, "Just because I'm a marriage and family therapist doesn't mean I don't need some instruction and encouragement about my own marriage and family.  I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this weekend has been for me to recognize my own failings with my family.  The projects were particularly helpful in encouraging some healing discussion with my spouse.  I am leaving here incredibly encouraged and hopeful.  Thank you!"  Another exclamation point.

Bob: Now, that was from the conference where you and Barbara and I spoke back in the spring, right?

Dennis: Right.

Bob: The one that was in Grapevine, Texas.

Dennis: The largest Weekend to Remember in our 30-year history, and, you know, Bob, I have to take a little bit of a trip down memory lane back to the mid-80s when we had hosted what was then the largest conference that we'd ever held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where we had almost 3,000 people, and there were so many lives touched in that event that I would run into over the past 20 years.  In different places, I'd meet people who attended there, so a little bit like a baseball game that was a no-hitter?

Bob: Right.

Dennis: You know, people would come up and say, "I was there.  I was there, I was there."  You start thinking there was a couple of million people at the game.  Well, there was a little less than 3,000 at that Weekend to Remember 20 years ago, and you don't think of a conference having a profound influence and impact upon a human life or a marriage and a family.  Well, I'm going to tell you something -- it does.  It can redirect priorities, it can help bring some healing of hurts and restore some hope for a couple of people who want their marriage to be something else other than just mediocre.

Bob: We saw that firsthand at the conference because we had the opportunity to have lunch with a couple who were at the conference back 20 years ago, the largest one we'd ever done in Dallas, and they had come as a husband and wife whose marriage was in a little bit of a fix, right?

Dennis: Right.

Bob: And God used that weekend in their marriage.

Dennis: Well, it was actually hanging by a thread, according to the wife, and she didn't want to fix it.  But at that conference, God got her husband's attention, and evidently his heart was pretty hardened, but she saw her husband begin to respond to Jesus Christ and to God, and it was interesting, it not only breathed hope into their marriage and their family, but they decided to make a difference in others as well.

Bob: Since that time, they have been volunteering to help with the promotion of the Weekend to Remember conference anytime it has come to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, they've been involved in helping get the word out and rallying people to be a part of the conference.  There are a number of volunteers in each city, where we host these conferences, who not only spread the word but pray for the event and …

Dennis: … they volunteer at the event.  It takes about 300 to 400 volunteers at a conference the size of the one we had in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Bob: Well, this couple has been involved for the last 20 years, and that means they've been at the conference pretty much every year over the last 20 years, and it's remarkable to see where their marriage is today considering where it was 20 years ago, and it proves your point, that we have no idea of the significant impact that God, through the Holy Spirit, can have in an individual's life or in the lives of a couple at one of these conferences.  But to see it 20 years later and have those folks remember what a turning point that was in their life and in their marriage, it's powerful to see.

Dennis: It really is, and when I checked into my room, there was -- and I wasn't sure if I was going to share this with our audience, because there are some people in the audience who have an addiction to chocolate, and there was a small chocolate boot -- not a big one -- but a small chocolate boot in our room waiting on us.  Now, it wasn't that big, Keith.  Keith is holding his hands up like it was two feet high.  That's a life-size chocolate boot.  This was …

Bob: … a miniature chocolate boot.

Dennis: Thank you.  It was a miniature chocolate boot.

Bob: Now, wait, you had one of these in your room when you checked in?  A little miniature chocolate boot?

Dennis: Are you saying you didn't?

Bob: I got some kind of a moldy cheese tray.  You know, you got the chocolate boot.  I'm a little …

Dennis: Well, there's a reason why I got the chocolate boot, and with it was this notecard, which is from the Gaylord Texan, and …

Bob: That's the hotel where the conference was held, right?

Dennis: That's right, and it says, "Welcome to the Gaylord Texan, Dennis and Barbara."  She writes, "Each year I get so excited when I hear the Weekend to Remember is coming to Dallas because I know lives will be transformed, marriages restored, hurts supernaturally healed, hearts softened, eternities determined, legacies created, and Satan's plans destroyed as his kingdom suffers damage!"  And then she has, "YES!!" in all caps, and three underlines and two exclamation points.  She said, "In 1985" -- back to this same conference we're talking about 20 years ago -- "my husband RESISTED" -- and that's in all caps -- "RESISTED attending with me, and his life was forever changed as God used your ministry to bring my husband into His kingdom.  Our dead marriage was given new life, and the following year when we attended, for our second conference, for our 10,000-mile checkup, our daughter was conceived and then born the following Christmas Eve. 

We were on the executive planning committee for a number of years and are thrilled to be a part of God's plan for your ministry.  We'll always be indebted and eternally grateful."  And she said, "Although I'm working here at the hotel, I'm going to be off Saturday night, but I can't wait for the couples to begin filtering in on Friday evening.  I'll be sharing my testimony as God leads.  Enjoy your stay and let me know if there is anything you need.  I am praying a believing.  Yours for godly homes," and then it's signed "Janet."

Bob: And Janet works at the Gaylord Texan, right?

Dennis: That's right, that's right, and I went down and said hi to her and asked her why she didn't send you a chocolate boot to your room.

Bob: She said, "Bob who?"  I know, I know.

Dennis: It was fun, though, because here's a mom and wife and a woman whose marriage was touched and dramatically change and, you know what?  She hadn't forgotten and, I'll tell you, Bob, we really underestimate what can happen when you get that number of people together, and I don't think we've mentioned the exact number that came last May to the Gaylord Texan.

Bob: Mm-hm, there were 3,877 people in attendance, and I had somebody ask me, "How is it that you had an odd number of attendees at a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference?"  And I don't know for certain, but I did meet one man who was in attendance at the conference alone.  He was 30 days post-divorce, and he said, "I'm trying to learn what I need to learn and would hope that there might be a chance for reconciliation," but he said, "I'm here alone."

 And it is interesting, as you meet folks at these conferences, you find them in all different stages of their marriage.  I talked to engaged couples, I talked to one couple that had been married a year, and this was their one-year anniversary present to each other.  They were there with her parents, so it was a double-date situation.  And I said, "How is it coming to one of these with mom and dad?"  And they said, "Oh, it's cool.  We double-date all the time."  I talked to other couples who had been through a very dark valley in their marriage.  I talked to a couple who, several months earlier, had lost a child, and they were still grieving that, and that had an impact on their marriage.

 But, as you know, there are some folks who come, and their marriage is in good shape.  They just want to make sure it stays good, and then there are other folks who come, and their marriages are in a pretty desperate situation.

Dennis: You know, there are, Bob, and there's a small group of people, it's usually, I don't know, five to seven percent of the audience that are engaged couples or those who are contemplating engagement, and I ran into a couple who -- just cute as a bug -- and I asked, "When are you getting married?"  And they said, "Oh, we're not engaged yet.  We're just here kind of checking out the blueprints to decide if we're going to build a house together."  And I ran into them near the end of the conference and said, "Well, what about the house?"  They said, "We're going to do it.  We're going to do it." 

And, you know, I think for a number of couples who are getting married across our nation and, you know, it's interesting, a lot of us think spring is when people get married.  Marriages occur through all 12 months, and all of us have to give folks wedding gifts.  I mean, you know, that's standard for getting an invitation to a wedding.  But I'm going to tell you something, if you know a couple who are getting married, give them the Weekend to Remember as a wedding gift.  I know couples whose lives have been so changed, they said that the finest gift they’ve received, by far, as the gift that helped them turn their marriage license into a real marriage.  It was the Weekend to Remember and the equipping they received there.

But, Bob, it's just a great way for a couple, whether you're contemplating marriage, engaged, just got married, and you know what?  That group really benefits from this weekend.  Or you gave away a gift and honored the couple who had been married the longest and on Friday night at the conference, do you remember how many years they'd been married?

Bob: I think they'd been married for 53 years.

Dennis: There were a number of couples standing who had been married for 40, 45, 50 years, as I recall, and you honored them there at the beginning of the conference.

Bob: Yeah, and anytime we have a chance to talk with older couples who attend these conferences, one of the things that you'll repeatedly hear them say is, "I wish we had heard this material years ago.  It would have saved us a lot of heartache, a lot of struggle along the way."  And these are couples who have made it work, they've gone the distance, but we all know that marriage presents some real challenges, and unless you have the tools, unless you have a plan for how you're going to work through those challenges, you're going to wind up with the marriage off in the ditch somewhere.  We see it happening right and left in the culture.  We have a number of couples who come to these conferences who are either considering a second marriage or they're in a blended family situation, and these couples are trying to make sure that the mistakes from the first relationship aren't a part of this new relationship that they have formed.

Dennis: As Barbara and I were walking into the ballroom on Sunday morning, and, as you know, we separate the men and the women, and this drives the women crazy, not to know what their husbands are hearing, but it doesn't drive them crazy for long, because they get a chance to hear the speaker's wife share the blueprints for the wife's role and the mom's role, and they usually find that is plenty of challenge for them.

 But Barbara and I were walking, and I was going to walk Barbara in where she was speaking, and we ran into this couple, and I said, "Well, how are you doing?"  "It's been a great weekend."  "Really?  How long have you been married?"  "Well, we were married for 10 years."  "What do you mean?"  "Well, we're not married right now."  "Oh, really?  Okay, you're divorced?"  "That's right, we divorced, and we have two little girls, and we're here at the conference kind of thinking about what we're going to do for the future."

 So we walked along a little bit further and kind of chatted with them, and I turned to the wife, and I said, "Well?" and she said, "It's going to work."  And I wish, at this point, I had a video.  Because her husband, his head turned on a dime, it just turned straight towards her and looked over at me, and he said, "Really?  That's great news."  She hadn't told him yet.  And, you know, I do think, for a number of people, Bob, there are those who are off in the ditch or maybe even off the road totally, and they're off in a field.  I mean, two separate fields, and although it's a small number who attend the conference, it is, nonetheless, a group of people who are there who are trying to make something that is desperately broken, make it whole and make it work. 

And, you know, we're not successful 100 percent of the time, but I'm going to tell you something, the conference really is the finest investment I know of on the planet for a husband and a wife to spend a weekend together, to sit and soak and hear the Scriptures in a fresh way, in a practical way, in an equipping way so that you don't leave there with a bunch of lofty principles that don't fit your life where you live, but you leave there with, as you said, Bob, two key words -- a plan and tools.  Because you need -- in order to build a home, you've got to have blueprints and then, secondly, you need some equipment.  You need some practical training and some skills to make it work.

Bob: There is a third thing that a lot of couples don't come with that they leave with, and that's hope.  They don't come with a lot of hope for where their marriage is headed, but they leave with a fresh sense, like that couple you described -- a fresh sense of hope that now there is a way to make their marriage work, and that hope comes from realizing that there are things they maybe didn't understand or didn't know how to do.  Someone has explained it for them, made it practical, given them some projects to see exactly how it works, and now they have some hope, because they look and say, "This is not as insurmountable as if felt.  This is not as complicated as it seemed."

 I was just looking at some input that we got back from conferees, and you were talking about Sunday morning when the husbands and wives are in separate parts of the ballroom and were speaking separately to the men, and the wives are speaking to the women.  That time, on Sunday morning, is what our guests tell us is the highest-rated part of the conference.  That time is where we get to talk straight to men and to women about the core role we're called to play in marriage.  But there were also very high marks for the session on sexual intimacy, for the session on resolving conflict, the session on communication.  We're hearing back from those who have attended these conferences, that these issues are very real, and the help they're getting at the conference is very real as well.

Dennis: What's that worth?  I mean, where is most of life lived?  It's lived in marriages and families, it's lived in the midst of challenges and choices and circumstances that sometimes demand that we just hang on.  Let me tell you something, in the storms of life you need a plan, you need the blueprints, and I don't know of a better place to get those blueprints than attending a Weekend to Remember together as a couple.

Bob: We're going to be kicking off our fall season of Weekend to Remember conferences in September, and they will continue through early December.  In all, there will probably be about three or four-dozen conferences in cities all across the country, and there is likely a conference coming to a city hear where you live, although that shouldn't be the sole criteria as to whether you attend.  When we were at the conference in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there were folks there from 16 states including a couple that had come from Hawaii to Dallas-Fort Worth for the Weekend to Remember conference.

Dennis: Yeah, I had to question that.  In fact, when are you and I going to do the Hawaii conference?

Bob: The Hawaii conference, that's what I say.

Dennis: It's been 10 years since I've done that.  Why am I in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I love Dallas-Fort Worth mind you, but …

Bob: You can go on our website …

Dennis: … it ain't the island.

Bob: … at FamilyLife.com.  On our website, you'll see a listing of all of the cities where conferences are being held this fall.  You can register for one of these upcoming conferences now, and if you do it this week, you will save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee.  That's the group rate, and we're making it available for FamilyLife Today listeners.  In order to take advantage of that group rate, here is what you need to do.  Go to our website, FamilyLife.com.  There you'll find a listing of upcoming dates and locations for these Weekend to Remember conferences.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, and we can give you the information over the phone.  You settle in on a date and a location, and then register for the conference and let us know that you're a FamilyLife Today listener. 

If you're registering over the phone, just mention that you listen to FamilyLife Today.  If you're filling out the form online to register, when you come to the keycode box, just type in my name, type in "Bob," and that way we'll know you're a FamilyLife Today listener, and you and your spouse will save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee, as long as you register between now and the end of the month.

 So hurry and take advantage of this special offer either online at FamilyLife.com or by calling 1-800-FLTODAY, and if, for some reason, you're not able to be at one of these upcoming conferences, and you'd still like to hear what we talk about at the conference, we do have the Weekend to Remember audio series.  It features all of the messages from the Weekend to Remember conference.  It's not the same as having a weekend away together, but it is helpful, practical, biblical information for your marriage and your family. 

 You can find out more about how you can receive the 16-CD audio series when you go online at FamilyLife.com or when you call us at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.

Dennis: And, Bob, hold it, you know, I'm amazed at technology and how we have listeners here on FamilyLife Today who really care for you as a co-host, and although we didn't have a chocolate boot or chocolate sock or anything in Dallas, we have had a listener stop by the studio who is listening, and they want you to have this.  It's a Butterfinger.  It's a small Butterfinger.

Bob: It's a really small Butterfinger, it's about a two-bite Butterfinger.

Dennis: It is not in the shape of a boot.

Bob: They think this is going to make up for your boot that you got?  Oh, this isn't going to do it.

Dennis: You don't even care about chocolate.  Besides, Barbara is the one who rated the boot.  She was the one who ate it.  I couldn't believe it.

Bob: That's the way it goes with chocolate, isn't it?  Tomorrow we want to invite you back.  We are going to hear from a couple who faced a crossroads in their marriage, and it's the crossroads that a lot of couples come to and some wind up spinning out and some get back on track.  We'll talk to a couple that got back on track tomorrow, and you'll want to hear their story.  I hope you can be back with us for it.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you again tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.

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