There was a sense of excitement in the room. Ten couples had signed up for a weekend Marriage Retreat and the first session was about to begin. Preparations had been in the process for months. Putting the schedule and sessions together, deciding on the menu, getting the word out to potential attendees and assembling a team of volunteers. Each couple attending had their own preparations to make concerning child care, pets, and taking a day off from work. It was an event carved out for these couples to strengthen marriages and put more tools in their tool box for healthy relationships.

Many of the couples indicated they were coming to the retreat to enhance their already strong connections. It was about being intentional. According to the thesaurus this means they were calculated, predetermined, and willful in signing up for this time of learning and refuge.

These couples are setting themselves up for success. Their marriages are a priority and they are practicing preventative maintenance. Instead of waiting for some crises to bring them into a counseling situation, their proactive stance will help them in weathering storms that are bound to come their way.

The topics covered: Understanding Relational Needs, Emotional Cup, Healing Hurts, Learning how to be Emotionally Close, Comforting One Another, and Becoming Saints, Lovers, and Friends. The feedback from the couples at the retreat’s end indicated they felt closer to one another and some had experienced healing they did not even know they needed. The material taught them how to enter each other’s hearts for celebration and comfort. Several were surprised at the amount of insight they received into understanding one another.

I am excited to have led this retreat. It was rewarding to hear the couples share with me how much the material affected them in a positive way. I encouraged them to be intentional in their affection for one another, in their forgiveness of one another, in their comfort of one another, and in encouraging one another. Just as my husband and I have discovered that intentional care is the key to continued love and devotion, I am delighted to have played a role in helping these precious couples discover the power of being intentional with their spouses.

If you are interested in hosting a Marriage Retreat or conference at your church or in scheduling an intensive weekend retreat for just you and your spouse, email Sandra: for more information.

~Sandra B Stanford

Navigating Mental Health Awareness Month: The Power of EMDR Therapy

Navigating Mental Health Awareness Month: The Power of EMDR Therapy

May is a month of significance—a time when vibrant blooms awaken, marking not only the transition to warmer days but also Mental Health Awareness Month. In the heart of Central Florida, where the sunshine often reigns supreme, we at Central Florida EMDR Training...