My wife, Cindy, recently returned from a Christian women’s retreat and I’ve been reaping the benefits ever since. I highly recommend a women’s retreat for all husbands . . . well, not for all husbands. If you are at least a C+ husband like me, you won’t regret packing your wife off to a women’s retreat, especially if the theme of the retreat is about marriage. Why? Allow me to elaborate. After more than 25 years of marriage, I still have a few faults as a husband (Cindy can’t fix everything). Some of my faults include, but are not limited to: failing to put a new roll of toilet paper on the empty roller (my philosophy is why bother when you’re just going to use up the replacement roll in a couple of days), neglecting to hang up my shirts after washing, leaving streaks of almond butter on my knife before placing it in the sink, failing to transfer the knife (and all other dirty dishes and utensils) from the sink to the dishwasher, failing to squeegee the glass walls of the shower stall after defiling the shower with my inglorious naked presence, failing to . . . well, you get the idea.
Why was Cindy’s retreat with hundreds of Christian women good for ME? Because ever since she returned, she kisses me more often, hugs me longer, and refrains from mentioning my shortcomings listed in the previous paragraph. I have a clever theory why this is happening. Over the years, Cindy has attended several women’s retreats where I believe she heard occasional stories from other women about the nefarious deeds of their husbands. After hearing such stories, Cindy finally had an epiphany that her C+ husband is actually an A – husband when graded on a curve. Walla! I benefit from lowered expectations. Hey, I’ll take a victory any way I can get it.
Sure, wives have plenty of problems they bring to the table of marriage (I occasionally hear about them at men’s retreats). Fortunately, most Christian husbands are not married to a train wreck, though we regretfully tend to take our wives for granted.
Finally, a word of caution for men is appropriate here. If you are not at least a C+ husband, don’t encourage your wife to attend a Christian women’s retreat unless you are OK with God stepping in to fix problems in your marriage, which can often mean fixing YOU. I’m just saying.
I’ve been to a few men’s retreats in my life. (The ladies are so intolerant when I try to sign up for theirs.) I recall one men’s retreat in particular. We were well into the retreat when a contingent of men shared their disappointment about the theme and lessons presented by the speakers. The theme was fairly mainstream for a group of Christian men, so I was a bit surprised by their discontent. Granted, the speakers encouraged men to confront some of their deepest emotional injuries and disappointments in order for the Lord to bring healing (an endeavor akin to asking ladies at a women’s retreat to participate in bare-skin paintball battles).
After decades in the church ecosystem, I have learned many things. Here is one definitely worth sharing: not every sermon, men’s retreat theme, conference speaker, Bible study lesson, worship song or worship team will move me spiritually, speak to me in a profound way, or have anything to do with me. It is OK to feel a little disappointed when this happens. But simply put, sometimes the message is from God to others and our role is that of a witness to support and affirm what God is doing in the lives of the people for whom the message is meant. When we are able to do this, I believe it is a milestone in our journey of maturity in the faith. Oddly enough, I receive a blessing when I accept that the message is not for me and I pray for and encourage those to whom God is speaking.