Steve Schappell-My Blog

Friday, March 1, 2013

Our Weekend to Remember...(First in a Series)

It may not be your typical Valentines Present for each other--but for 1,930 others it was.

We attended our First ever Weekend to Remember, held in Hershey, PA at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

My wife told me about this event and as a re-married couple with a blended family, we thought this would be a great idea to learn more about each other and have a getaway.

Family Life is a ministry, where their total focus is on the family unit: strong marriages, strong familes, raising kids, and more.
You can learn more about this weekend by visiting  or

The weekend started Friday night with a welcome reception, opening lessons and our first project.  Saturday was an all day event with more sessions, couples projects, and a Date Night during the evening.  It ended Sunday some final sessions and a wrap up around lunchtime.

Here is a summary of the event from Dennis and Barbara Rainey, the co-founders of Family Life.  "What you're about to hear this weekend is not just one couple's opinion on marriage.  It is the result of more than three decades of biblical research by a team of men and women who distilled what it takes to have a successful marriage and family.  You'll learn about timeless blue prints for marriage, about commitment and communication, and about romance and resolving conflict."

Family Life has a mission and four core messages that were discussed during the weekend  They are: 
  • Your personal walk with God
  • Your marriage Covenant
  • Your role in the family
  • Your spiritual legacy
 With that in mind, here is an overview of our first Session on Friday night: Why Marriages Fail.

First off, we learned these two things:

-Every marriage is either moving toward oneness or drifting toward isolation.   
-Understanding what threatens our marriage can help us achieve oneness.

So, what is "Oneness" in Marriage: involves complete unity with each other.  It's more than a mere mingling of two humans--it's the tender merger of body, soul, and spirit. 

Years of study and research has identified 5 Threats to Marriage and Oneness

-Difficult Adjustments
-Our Culture's Pattern
-Inevitable Difficulties
-Extramarital Affairs

In all these cases, when couples fail to make necessary adjustments, follow our culture's pattern for marriage, fail to grasp God's perspective on difficulties, fail to escape extramarital affairs, and are selfish....the result is

We looked at each Threat in order and had some main points for each.

Difficult Adjustments

A. There is little in our culture today that encourages two people to make the difficult adjustments required to achieve marital oneness.

B. Contrasting backgrounds bring about painful adjustments for a couple in several areas, including: values, family history, past relationships, religion, and finances

C. The following superficial motivations for marriage require adjustments:
Feelings, Sexual attraction, Cultural or family pressures, Escape

D. Differing expectations about marriage in the following areas result in unexpected adjustments:
Roles, Expression of Love, Sexual performance, Plans for the future

 Our Culture's Pattern
A. Our culture's pattern is a 50/50 performance relationship.
  1. Acceptance is based upon performance
  2. Giving is based on merit-affection is given when one feels it is deserved
  3. Motivation for action is based on how one feels
B. Our culture's pattern is destined to fail because of:
  1. My inability to meet all unreal expectations
  2. My tendency to focus on weaknesses in my spouse
  3. My disappointment in my spouse, which hinders my performance
  4. My desire to get revenge when wronged
  5. The impossibility of knowing if my spouse has met me halfway
Inevitable Difficulties

A. There are 2 failures in our response to difficulties:
  1. Not anticipating the certainty of difficulties and problems
  2. Not responding properly to difficulties and problems
B. Difficulties do not mean something is wrong in your marriage, rather your response to difficulties will either drive you apart, or bring you together.  There needs to be a plan to move through difficulties without rejecting or withdrawing from your spouse.

Extramarital Affairs

A. An extramarital affair is an ESCAPE from reality or for Fulfillment outside of marriage.  Extramarital affairs take on different forms:
  • Activities affair: Life has too many activities with the kids, church, work
  • Materialism affair: Pursuit of everything
  • Career affair: Work is your fulfillment
  • Family affair: Marriage is not about the kids first
  • Fantasy affair: Porn or romance novels
  • Love affair: Affects 20% of every couples
B. We are seduced to believe that we deserve complete fulfillment and perfect happiness.


A. Everyone has a natural tendency to be self centered and destructive in relationships.

B. Our culture today promotes selfishness.

C. Reality sets in after marriage
-During dating, there is little responsibility and pressure
-Early on, appreciation and approval is freely given

D. Selfishness robs the relationship of its romance.
-Our selfish nature focuses on and becomes critical of our spouse's weaknesses, mistakes or failures to meet our expectations.

-Our disappointment or disapproval of our spouse can lead them to feel rejection, anger and bitterness.

-Out selfish nature seeks to justify our rejection of our spouse.

If couples are not intentionally moving toward oneness, their marriages will drift toward isolation. 

Next, we will learn about Communication...