Valentine's Banquet 2011

On Saturday, February 12th, 27 couples enjoyed a special evening out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In a beautiful room at the Eastman Center in Grantham, they enjoyed a dinner catered by Bistro Nouveau. Seated at tables of eight, couples chatted as they enjoyed salad, dinner and dessert.

After dessert, Pastor Willeman shared an encouraging talk entitled “The Secret to a Happy Marriage.” First, he explained three danger signs for our marriages. He compared these areas to check engine lights on a dashboard. He said that if we are experiencing conflict in our marriages over money, intimacy issues, or anger/bitterness it is time to ask others to come along side us and our spouses and help deal with these issues.

Secondly, Pastor Willeman talked about the secret to a happy marriage. He said this secret is thankfulness. He recalled how amazed he felt when he first fell in love, that Dori felt the same way about him that he felt about her. Yet he reminded us that in the day-to-day struggles of life, we lose that thankful attitude toward our spouse and instead begrudge the ways we think they wrong us or are not meeting our needs. He encouraged us to return to this attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for the other person. But how are we to cultivate this attitude of thankfulness?

Pastor Willeman pointed us to the ‘secret behind the secret’. That deeper secret is knowing our sinful state before God and His amazing loving action on our behalf. When we realize that while we were sinners, Christ willingly died a painful death on the cross on our behalf, we are moved to thankfulness. And when we realize how amazing it is that we are accepted by God, this changes our perspective toward others, including our spouse. We can be gracious with them in their faults, and thankful for their love in our lives.

Following Pastor Willeman’s talk, couples who had been married more than 15 years lead the way on to the dance floor for the first dance. Then all couples enjoyed dancing to music that brought back many memories.

On Sunday, Carissa Means shared her thoughts about the evening with the congregation. You can find the audio of what she said here.

Thank you to Markes and Julie Wilson, Lauren Groves, Christine Engert and many others who planned and carried out a wonderful evening.
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