Posted in Christian Living

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Another retreat for married couples

retreat cover sheet

The second annual couples’ retreat was held in Redmond, Oregon. Considering we drove to the coast in snow last February, many people wondered what traversing the Cascade Mountains might be like this year.

The group in attendance last year agreed to seek a guest pastor to present the four sessions at the retreat this year. Pastor Richard Adams from Greater Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, enjoyed two nights at Eagle Crest Resort in exchange for sharing his lessons.

“Let’s go on a trip and take your marriage from ordinary…to extraordinary.”

And thus began the sessions from Pastor Adams. Such a parable-like metaphor powerfully connected with this group of couples who had sat inside vehicles for nearly four hours to reach this venue. Marriage is like a road trip?

Indeed. And sometimes, there are problems. One whole session was dedicated to checking “blind spots” and another expounded on the “Check Engine” light.

Adams speakingPastor Rick Adams started in Proverbs 4:26 (and used many verses from this book relaying Solomon’s godly wisdom during the presentation). The idea behind “ponder the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 4:26) is that none of us hop in the car for a week-long vacation without some idea of where we’re going and what road we’ll take to get there.

Do we know where we’re going in our marriage? There is the road to “Ordinary” and then a more narrow path to “Extraordinary.”

Bro. Adams encouraged us to dream together about where we want to go. Do we want to travel to Europe? Climb Mt. Everest? Sell everything and become motor home vagabonds? Just like we plan a vacation together, we should have a meeting of minds over life and ministry goals.

God’s Formula for Lasting Loving Marriages

  1. Become the right person. The world says once we find the right person we can live happily ever after. God says, no matter who we’re with, if we become the right person we can be content.
  2. Walk in love. Sure, the world offers up the fairy tale of falling in love, but falling can be dangerous. Someone might get hurt. God knows if we purposefully walk a loving walk, love can abound in our lives.
  3. Fix your hope on God and seek to please Him through this relationship. Rather than making another person your “end-all and be-all,” set your sight higher. With the right focus, your perspective is much healthier.
  4. If failure occurs, keep working at steps one, two and three. Our society encourages people to find a new person when a relationship doesn’t work out, but that offers no more guarantee of success than it did the first time. God’s way provides actionable steps for us to move toward a healthier marriage.

Blind Spots in an Ordinary Marriage

All these electronic sensors for the sides and ends of our cars pronounce that blind spots do exist. In fact, they are a leading cause of automobile accidents. If you can’t see an obstacle, how can you avoid it?

The same can be true in our marriage. If we know where the blind spots are in our vehicle, we pay closer attention on the road.

Pastor Adams offered the same knowledge for relational blind spots. The blind spots in marriage can be:

  1. Time – What do we choose to fill it with? If we won’t make our spouse a priority, this blind spot can derail us in short order.
  2. Transgression – We mess up. Seek forgiveness and get back on track. Don’t keep making more wrong turns that lead us farther away from reconciliation.
  3. Temper – If you have one, you know how lighting that fuse can lead to destruction of anyone in the vicinity.
  4. Trials – Hard times will come. We can let them drive a wedge between us and our spouse, or we can lean more heavily on each other. The choice is ours.

Check Engine

Most cars on the roads these days have at least one light that flashes if there’s a problem under the hood. The same is true for marriage.

According to Ephesians 5:33, there is a simple formula to keep your marriage running smoothly.

“Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

In one word, your man needs your respect – and your woman needs to know your love is steadfast no matter what.

This post could go on for another thousand words. Bro. Adams shared other lists (which might make later posts) and offered up some best practices for marriage. The bottom line:

If two people in a marriage are focused on putting the Lord first, they will move closer together as they move closer to Him.

After six sessions of teaching, the couples dressed up and headed out for dinner. It was a great reminder that “date night” is an integral part of getting from point Ordinary to point Extraordinary.

Piling in the car the next day, refreshed couples embarked on a real road trip back home, ready to take their ordinary marriages to the next level.



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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