love after marriage
This past year, there were often times, for one reason or another, that I wanted to skip Wednesday night youth group, Friday night worship service, Sunday morning home fellowship gathering, or Sunday evening Eleventh Hour School of Ministry session -- but I never wanted to miss a Thursday night of Love After Marriage. If you know me and my love/hate relationship with commitment and social groups (on my list of things to deal with), this is a big deal. Love After Marriage is more than just a marriage workshop; it is an identity course that targets a married couple's identity of oneness through an intentional progression of spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy. Since it is fundamentally about identity, the class is applicable to any and everyone; in fact, Single Life Workshop is constructed from the same curriculum.
I wanted to do Love After Marriage because I had a fantastic marriage filled with mutual trust and good communication, and I wanted to go deeper. There were people from every background needing every sort of breakthrough: from the wise and experienced Bahamian couple - married 54 years, to elders in the church and other worship leaders, to newlyweds like Noah and me. We all needed something a little different and were met by the same Holy Spirit, who set the stage for revelation and healing in the deepest parts of us. I ended up learning more about myself than anything else, and it was exactly what I needed:
- Breaking generational strongholds and getting rid of spiritual baggage: My tendency to live in the past stems somewhat because in the past, I loved my mom and I knew she loved me.
- Differentiating godly grieving from self-pity: Seeing my friends' engagement and wedding pictures always makes me sad. I am in the process of addressing pain and disappointment from events surrounding the beginning of our relationship. It's slow deliverance, but good things can take time.
- Learning to dream again: In March, I decided to pursue a Master's in Social Work, was accepted and received my first-choice internship as a victim advocate with the State Attorney's Office, and then decided to let my dream go.
Noah calculated that we participated in Love After Marriage for over 1/3 of our marriage. The 18 weeks of LAM correlated with so much growth, decision-making, and maturity that it is impossible to compartmentalize the results from other catalysts. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest personal blessings from the past four months has been our adoption into the Magua family. Dave and Sylvia were introduced as the parents of my incredible friend, Gaby. They soon developed into friends and parental-figures for us too.
I vividly remember February 21st, the first day of Love After Marriage at the Harbour. Shaila was giddy with excitement. "This is the fulfillment of my dream!" she exclaimed, contagious with expectancy. Little did the rest of us know, it was the beginning of the fulfillment of our dreams as well - even dreams we didn't know we had:
- dreams of nothing hidden
- dreams of reconciliation
- dreams of sexual freedom and blessing
- dreams of unity as the basis of successful parenting
- dreams of hope, of future, of abundant living
For me, it was the fulfillment of the primary dream I had moving to Florida a year ago: the dream of having a mother.
Throughout the course, I was reminded of how fortunate I was to be married to have the opportunity to be involved in Love After Marriage. Next month, Noah and I celebrate our 1 year anniversary, and we are in awe of all that we have learned in our first year being together. Thank you, Barry and Lori, for spearheading this ministry. Thank you, Igor and Shaila, for bringing it home. In such a brief amount of time, God has transformed lives, healed marriages, revolutionized families, and brought revival to our community - and this is just the beginning.
Looking forward to the fall semester :)