I wrote the material for our marriage retreat. Actually, that is kind of a lie. Paul Tripp, Tim Keller, Dave Harvey, Robert D. Jones and a few other authors wrote a good chunk of it. All I did was take many marriage books and put them into a digestible form. Here is the outline of the marriage retreat.
Session One: A Theology of Marriage.
In this session we introduce the material and explain why the material is not immediately practical. We then attempt to define marriage. We use this definition. Our aim in this session is to get everyone on the same page as to what constitutes a biblical marriage and to help couples see that their marriage has meaning.
Session Two: The Gospel, Our Roles, Our Model, and Our Redemption
This session is an adaptation of a sermon I preached on Ephesians 5:21-33. Here we look at a sacrificial husband and a submissive wife. We also note that both of these are broken pictures and the reality is found in Christ Jesus. We use this session to not only inform couples of their biblical role but also to present the glorious gospel of Jesus.
Session Three: Marriage in a Broken World
Here we get honest about all of the struggles we face in marriage. We begin by having couples outline all of the problems that couples have in marriages. Then we attempt to get at the root of these problems. We look at the inward cycle of sin. We also use some material from Robert D. Jones’ book and give couples a way to think through the fog of marital conflict.
Session Four: Putting Our Theology Into Practice
In the final session (usually on Sunday morning) we watch a clip from The Dick Van Dyke Show. You can find the video and a brief outline of this session here. We use this episode to apply everything we learned in our marriage retreat. We close up the final session with a Q & A time and invite people to help us improve our marriage retreats.
Those are the basic teaching outlines. We also have group time after each session. After these sessions the guys and girls separate and discuss what they learned using a few guided questions. We then come back together and discuss everything as a group. There are also a few guided questions for couples to consider during their alone times.
Every conference we also send home a free book from our suggested resources list with each couple. I will post that suggested resource list later today.