Last year I had two separate friends (who don’t know each other) recommend Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs. Fast forward to this year when I asked George if he wanted to attend a conference based on the book. He said yes. I didn’t do any online research or delve into the Amazon reviews prior to going because I wanted to form my own opinions. After the event, I looked online and only found one blog post, which basically reprints 2 pages from the conference notebook. There were none of the details that I like to read from others and write myself. George laughed and said that people aren’t going to readily admit they have marital problems. At least not in many blogs. He has a point. Facebook and Instagram is ripe with that proof. Nothing to see here. So happy, happy, haaaappy! We’re happy! You know how it goes.
We went two weeks ago. It was a very, very good experience and the best $90 + hotel and gas that we’ve ever spent. For years George and I have repeated conversations about the same things. Most of our discussions are articulate and civil. My husband and I think progress is made or being made, but we soon revert to our same old ways. It was encouraging to be able to discuss the issues from new vantage points at the end of the weekend. Here are 7 things you should know before attending:
- The book – The conference is based on the aforementioned book. I read parts of it last year, but didn’t complete it. My husband asked why I’d want to go to the conference if I didn’t finish the book, as if it must’ve not been very compelling. I reminded him I hadn’t read a full book since before our daughter was born. Time, fatigue and a diminished lack of concentration are why I didn’t finish; not content. I chose to not revisit the book before attending the conference because my husband didn’t read it and I wanted our familiarity with as close as possible. I wanted us to be discovering the information for the first time, together. If you choose to not read the book, you’ll be just fine. We were.
- Logistics – We did the live version, which I highly recommend! Emerson and his wife, Sarah, present the material over two days in a church. Fri 3 hours, Sat 4 hours. It’s also done via teleconference at churches. You can also purchase the DVD set, which you watch over a period of time. I believe this is the link to order and stream it live in the comfort of your home. Our drive was 90 minutes and we stayed over nite. People drive from all over and some fly in from out-of-state. We saw a couple get out of a U-Haul truck. As in a 10 or 14 foot truck. Perhaps they were stopping by the conference on the way to moving somewhere? Whatever the circumstance, I admired it. If you have feel the desire to make the trek, make it happen! There are no breakout sessions. No one will be asked why they’ve attended or tell their story. The conference is solely a presentation by Emerson, with a portion done by Sarah. The only questions asked of the audience were did anyone travel from out of state. Yes. And which couples had been married the longest. It was 50 or 52 years and I believe they had attended 18 of the conferences. I don’t know if they help counsel other couples, want a refresher or both.
- Attire – This is a fashion blog so of course I was checking out what people had on. It was very warm when we went. I wore pants on Friday and the jeans I own in bulk on Saturday, which was good because the A/C was on in the church. At various times, I had to put on my trusty dowtown field jacket. There were all types of couples. From age 20-something, to silver hair and all ages in between. I didn’t see any team jerseys, despite the SF Giants doing well and it being game day. I saw shorts, pants, some very fitted skirts and a lot of very high heels. I never thought of it, but church is a way to wear your sassy, potentially uncomfortable heels and they won’t be hidden under a table. They’ll be seen! And you can sit for most of the time you’re there. Remember some jewelry makes loud noise, so leave the multiple enamel bracelets for another occasion.
- Food – We ate just before going and I was fine on the first nite, until the final hour when I started nodding off. Be sure to stay hydrated with water. Have a meal or snacks and coffee before attending, if you need it. The church we went to is a huge, state-of-the-art church with a hospitality team, but come prepared in the event there are no refreshments. The church provided bottled water both days. On Friday there was coffee and cookies at the break. Saturday there were donut holes, granola bars, bananas, apples, string cheese and coffee. I’m not sure how other churches do things. I wish I’d taken gum. It’s been a no-no in my church experience, but it would’ve helped me stay awake. I can’t say I saw anyone crying, but I brought tissue and needed it. I wasn’t surprised because that’s just me.
- Notebooks – Spiralbound notebooks are provided. The notebook is 32 pages long and outlines the principles of the book. There are ruled lines in the outer columns where you can make notes. Bring a pen because they either ran out or weren’t provided. I don’t think they’re provided. Most people were simply listening and not taking notes. I jotted down comments Emerson and his wife made that weren’t in the notebook. I also noted questions that I wanted to ask my husband.
- Religion – There will be plenty of Bible references as the book/conference’s philosophy is based on Ephesians 5:33. However, I don’t feel you have to be a Christian to attend the conference. I was raised Christian, so I’m familiar with Christianity and the Bible. My husband wasn’t and was still completely into the message. I admit I was relieved because I thought the religious aspect would keep him from truly dropping in. Not the case. We talked alot. A looooot.
- Open mind & Sarcasm – Take an open mind to the conference. The ideas presented are a philosophy. You don’t have to agree with all of the points made. Resist the urge to fight back, argue or create a rebuttal in your mind. Be a sponge. Just listen. Take away the ideas that resonate with you and discuss them with your spouse. Think about ways that you can be a better listener and supporter if you were to apply the concepts. Don’t get stuck on or kvetch about the points you don’t agree with. Keep the focus on creating understanding between you & your spouse. Be prepared for sarcasm in the delivery. If you enjoy sarcasm, you’ll definitely be laughing. We were.
And from my notes:
Never give up hope.
It’s a new day.
I’m not sure I’ll get to it, I will try to do another post that highlights some of the things that resonated with me. If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me gigiofca@gmail.
This is not a sponsored post. I don’t know Dr. Eggerichs, his wife, Sarah, or anyone on their staff. At the time of writing their company does not offer an affiliate program. I don’t know anyone at the church where the conference was held, Adventure Christian. There are affiliate links in the post for the book, dvd and clothing mentioned. I may receive a commission from purchases made from said links. As stated above, I learned about the book from two friends. I’m sharing because I’m glad it was shared with me.