I was really pleased with the turnout that we got at our last marriage conference (The Art of Marriage). Perhaps what pleased me the most were the longtime marriage veterans that showed up. These were the people who you might think would have the lowest motivation to attend and the least to learn. But here’s the kicker: Some of the most positive comments came from these people. They were generally folks who had been to various marriage events over the years but still were interested in participating. Why?
People that are lifelong learners are winners.
The comments ranged from “Good seminar” to “I picked up a few new tips” to “I never thought about that before” to “I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised.”
As you might imagine Nan & I have been through a sufficient amount of marriage and counseling material. It’s what we do. But still there is always more to absorb and there is an excitement that comes with opening a new book or watching a new DVD. We took some of this with this on vacation this year. In front of us was the television with a series on ‘Attachments’ playing and to the left was the pool and the ocean beyond. They both held their allure.
I actually have heard people brag that they haven’t read a book since high school or college. All I can think is “Wow, how sad, you are really missing out.” I must say that this doesn’t describe the bulk of my friends and co-workers – especially at church. Often they are exchanging book lists, looking for something new and interesting. And most of those who we counsel don’t fit into that category either. Usually there is a hunger to grow. Often we joke about “Here comes the homework part of the counseling”.
So how are you when a new relationship class or event or book is announced? Do you groan and hope your wife (or husband) isn’t interested or do you keep an open mind? In the interest of telling the most honest version of my story – I have done both, leaning toward the negative direction more often than I would want to admit in public. But I have rarely been disappointed when I have embraced the learning experience. It’s almost always been my attitude, not the event that was lacking.
Strong marriages put in the time. I have friends that do a yearly marriage retreat of some sort – and you can imagine the condition of their relationship. Nan and I take at least a yearly vacation – and a couple of long weekends away as well.
What have you done lately? What books have you read? Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts.