Adventist Church running marriage retreat through SaturdayPOSTED: 09/21/11 12:58 PM
“There’s a difference between alone and lonely”
St. Maarten – Equipping people considering marriage with tools for success and helping to strengthen existing marriages is the focus of a five day marriage retreat that is being facilitated by Thomas and Laverne Jackson. The couple, who both hold Phds and jointly run Meet Ministry, were invited to give the workshops by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The overall theme of the retreat, which began on Tuesday night, is Preserving the Sacred Circle. That theme was chosen to represent the fact that the church considers marriage a sacred institution and that a circle remains unbroken. In this context the circle represents the joining of one man and one woman who have a connection to God. Subtopics that will form part of the discussion are What is Marriage, The Purpose of Marriage, Roles, Marital Conflicts, Forgiveness, Commitment and Communication. Divorce will also be a topic during the sessions, but the Jacksons intend to stress that “conflicts are not a reason to dissolve the marriage.”
The doctoral couple have candidly pointed out that most marriages don’t work because people do it for the wrong reasons and avoid the biblical reasons for doing it. The most common examples are that people want to be happy, they’re lonely and desire companionship for themselves or in helping to raise children.
“People need to be happy and emotionally stable when they get married. Genesis 2:18 says it’s not good to be alone. There’s a difference between alone and lonely. Each of us must establish who we are before we merge someone else. Sometimes people get married for selfish reasons but we must realize that marriage is about making a commitment to serving one another,” T. Jackson said.
“Do not allow your circumstances to determine your choice of a mate. There is a way for single parents to stay strong. It’s really a community thing when it comes to raising children. The Bible also states that the older women should support the younger women and that the older men need to watch out for the boys – not as a way to get to the woman, but as a means to instruct the boys,” the couple said.
The Jacksons were also candid that the Christian church is not currently well placed to take the moral high ground on marriage because people are also not following the biblical principles for entering into and maintaining a marriage. Whether Christian or not, the couple believe that anyone who gets married and then has troubles should ask whether or not the marriage is worth fighting for, before they end it.
Speaking on the roles in marriage L. Jackson said, “A woman who gets married needs to remember her commitment, keep her relationship with God and stick things out with her husband. We’ve seen situations where the man becomes paralysed and the relationship ought to be such that the woman can stay with her husband even when that happens.”
T. Jackson added, “A woman needs to know that she is loved and secure and the man must recognize that the woman is part of him, that true love is vulnerable and that the definition of a man is not making babies. As men we have to realize that an emotional connection and emotional intimacy are important. The man must be the provider, protector, leader and teacher.”
Asked about the profile of a person preparing for marriage T. Jackson said, “The prerequisite for marriage is that you’re settled and you commit to another person. Marriage means self is laid aside. Also if you look at Adam in Genesis you’d that he had a spiritual connection, a home and a job before he got married.”
Nightly sessions for the retreat will continue at the Philipsburg Seventh Day Adventist Church between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. tonight before moving to Rock House Café at Port de Plaisance on Thursday evening. The session will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday night and then from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 on Saturday.
There is no fee to register for the seminar, but there will be materials at a cost. Port de Plaisance has also offered a reduced room rate for the weekend, but organizers have stressed this is optional. People who’d like to register can call 553-8781 or 524-1809.