I remember the day, many years ago, the door closed on our last meeting with the insolvency accountant. The sort of meeting you don’t really want to have if you can avoid it.
We had just lost everything we had ever worked for, except for a few personal goods that we were allowed to keep, after a Part Ten Arrangement had been approved by our creditors.
In plain simple language, we had just gone broke. Our building construction business had been turning over several million dollars a year in today’s currency. We had all the trappings of success that money brings, a large house on one hundred acres with two cars in the garage, but a combination of high interest rates, changing markets, 3 months of rain and plain stupidity on my part was more than the business could bare.
The reason I remembered the door closing that day was because the last question our insolvency accountant asked my wife and I that day with an air of expectancy was, “So are you getting a divorce then?”
“No, what makes you ask that?” I answered inquisitively. “Well,” he said, “most people that are in your situation and lose everything including their house, business and personal assets usually get divorced. Their marriage cannot survive the pressure of the catastrophic change in circumstances.”
I did not have any further words to say at the time. Maybe it was because I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown or the very fragility of our marriage at the time, but this is what I should have said to him that day as I closed the door on that period of my life.
“No, we are not getting divorced. We believe in the words we said on the day we got married, ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’. Sure what we are going through now is putting pressure on our marriage but we have made an investment in love. The word ‘divorce’ is not in our vocabulary.”
When we said for richer or for poorer, we meant it. We have tied a knot in the end of the rope and we are holding on! Love is being committed to being committed or as Shakespeare said, “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.” Yes, it feels like the edge of doom but feelings come go and so does doom, and but love does not.
And anyway, my wife and I take time to invest in our marriage every year because we believe as Andre Maurois said, “A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.” Yes, we have lost everything but they cannot take our love away and we will not let them. We will continue to invest in our marriage because when you invest in love you invest in your children’s future and your grandchildren’s future.
The greatest thing a man can do for his children it to love his wife. Love is priceless and true love cannot be bought and sold. We might have lost our home and all our worldly goods but we have not lost our marriage and we have not lost each other. We are holding onto love because an investment in love bears eternal dividends.”
Hindsight is a wonderful gift and those words “I wish I had said about investing in our marriage to our Insolvency Accountant” were going through my mind when David Tolman, CEO of The Tops Conference Centre was telling me about his joint brainchild the Adventure in Marriage Retreat on the 4-6 August 2017. The retreat is, according to David, one of the facilitators, “. . . a marriage boot camp or love camp, like no other. It is an opportunity to invest in your relationship over a weekend away and strengthen your love for each other”.
The Adventure in Marriage Retreat is a chance to increase your communication, respect and understanding you have for your spouse. David described to me that it entails five fun and interactive sessions, set in the beautiful and modern Tops Conference Centre, interwoven with free time. Itis not just a talk fest, but two days and two nights of activities, exercises and input to give you the space and resources to enjoy each other even more.
He warned me that the Adventure in Marriage Retreat was no typical marriage seminar! David said, “You and your spouse will participate in activities that will create opportunities to bring learning to life. On top of this there will be great food, great laughs, great company, great challenge and great inspiration. It’s my money back guarantee,” he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.
This is what two couples said about last year’s Adventure in Marriage Retreat,
. . . . . We decided to go on this weekend marriage retreat because we both felt that we weren’t connected and we were living different lives. Both of us thought it would be a weekend of counselling and information but we were very wrong. I knew and had made up my mind before even going on the retreat that this was going to be the “make or break” for our marriage. I had such high expectations and was depending on a miracle of a weekend, little did I know at the time that miracle would come much different than I expected. When we arrived neither of us wanted to be there, we actually had an argument in the car park right before we went in and every part of me wanted to get in the car and go home.
It only took a couple of hours we were relaxed, laughing and to our shock actually enjoying ourselves…
We have young kids and being just us again was beautiful. Since leaving the retreat we now have date night every week and will continue to dedicate this time to each other and our marriage because we learnt how important this is for us.
We learnt so many skills on the weekend which we’re both already putting into practice and we’re going to keep doing them throughout our whole marriage. Now when we have a disagreement it’s in love and not a war. We also look at situations a lot differently because of the stories we heard from the couples who were leading the workshop and their perspectives on different situations.
I feel we are a completely different couple and it all started to change on the retreat (our miracle weekend) Thanks again for the lasting impact you have made both on our marriage and lives, no words would ever be enough to thank you.
. . . . . loved the marriage retreat! We went to the weekend retreat to get closer. We already had a great relationship, but are always looking to further ourselves..We loved how there were discussions of stories from our childhood where we had to listen to a childhood story, then repeat it back.
Great listening skills teaching. It also deepened our relationship and we learned things about each other that we wouldn’t normally talk about, or even think to talk about.
The workshop leaders were great! We felt comfortable and welcome from the moment we arrived! The facilitators were ‘real’ and honest with their personal experiences in their marriage… and they genuinely cared about strengthening the marriages of the couples on the retreat.
We definitely grew closer and learned more about each other, it opens up your heart and makes you think about things more seriously.
I would recommend this retreat to anyone serious about strengthening their marriage!
So, we are inviting you to join us as we invest in our own marriage at the Adventure in Marriage Retreat at the magnificent Tops Conference Centre, Stanwell Tops, NSW on the weekend of 4 -6 August 2017. The investment will only cost you $399, a small price to pay for a happier and more loving marriage. Just think how much your children will thank you!
There are still a few places available. To book your place CLICK HERE: So act now because I remember a man once said, “An investment in LOVE bears eternal dividends.”
Yours for Making Good Investments
PS: Do you know someone (besides yourself) that needs to make an investment in love and is passionate about being a good Dad. Please tell them about this blog or better still pass the Dads4Kids Newsletter onto to your friends and ask them to sign up to receive their own weekly dose of encouragement. To sign up to the Dads4Kids weekly Newsletter SIGN UP HERE.