Pursuit of Marriage 3 Day Retreats are Texas Bound!! Join us in March 2019

You asked, we responded. Texas…Here we come!!

Yes, we are taking our Marriage Retreat to Athens, Texas: Caplin Ranch

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This is a Three-Day Marriage Retreat facilitated by Joe and Kerry Vivian.

Come and spend the weekend at Caplin Ranch in Athens, Texas for our ” 3 Facets of Intimacy in Marriage” retreat.

Caplin Ranch Living Room

During that weekend you will spend time as Husband & Wife and learn to apply the three facets of Intimacy in a Marriage: Emotional-Spiritual-Physical. Take time to invest into your marriage what God originally designed for  intimacy in your marriage.

This “3 Facets of Intimacy in Marriage” retreat is scheduled for March 15-17, 2019 in Athens, Texas. Early Registration is $425 per couple before December 1st, 2018, only requiring a $200 non-refundable deposit. The total remaining balance due on February 8th. Standard Registration is from December 1st thru January 31st. That cost will increases to $450 per couple. Also including a $200 non-refundable deposit and total remaining balance due by the 8th of February also.

The cost includes a private room with private bath, all meals and all materials and reading resources for each couple.

This retreat is limited to the first 7 couples who register.  We truly believe it will sell out quickly, so don’t delay.

This is an intimate retreat so couples can listen, share, and glean from God’s word as well as the experiences from other couples.

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Check-In opens at 4pm. The Retreat begins at 4:30pm.
Check-out is 11am on the final day.
Register by using our online registration.

Early Bird Registration POM Marriage Retreat March 15-17, 2019

Don’t forget, registration is limited, so don’t delay.

For more information, please email Joe and Kerry at pomarriage@gmail.com

Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sex; They Begin with Inappropriate Friendships

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

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It seems that far too often when  a spouse becomes close to a member of the opposite sex, other than their spouse, it begins to place them on a slippery slope.  In our years of counseling we have seen the results of what occurs when it was initially shared to a spouse, “We are just friends, that’s all.”  An adulterous affair, whether it be physical or emotional, begins with allowing a friendship to be inappropriate.  These friendships will grow an emotional attachment with people of the opposite sex. When this begins to grow it can spell danger and sometimes disaster for a marriage.

Here are three things to Avoid…Beware of the following:

Beware of private communications and intimate conversations with people of the opposite sex: The only person to share an intimate conversation with is your spouse, no one else.  Communication between a husband and wife is crucial.  If you feel it necessary to discuss private, personal matters about your relationship with your spouse to someone other than your spouse, especially a member of the opposite sex, then you are emotionally connecting with them instead of your spouse. By doing this, you are purposely causing the relationship with your spouse to atrophy. Which leads to the next one.

Beware of workmates who seem too concerned with your personal private life: Those are the ones that tell you “let me know if you need anything.” They are more interested in having you focus on them and relying on them instead of your spouse. These are dangerous people. They shroud themselves with the cloak of being a “good friend” and “one that will always be there for you.”  The key things to remember is just that, your personal private life is that-personal and private.

Beware of those that give you exaggerated and suggestive compliments about the way you look: Regardless of what is happening in your marriage don’t give the Devil a foothold in your marriage by falling victim to this trap. Let your workmates know there are things you won’t tolerate.  Suggestive comments are a pathway to flirting and there is no such thing as “harmless flirting” between members of the opposite sex.  It is especially harmful to have spouses engage in this activity outside of their marriage.

Remember this, keep a healthy physical, social and emotional distance between you and people of the opposite sex.  This is a safeguard for your marriage.  If necessary, seek marriage counseling to avoid these pitfalls in your marriage.

Again, adulterous affairs do not just happen overnight.  They are a slow and deliberate process that involves the choice of both individuals.

Stay connected emotionally, physically and spiritually to the one God has ordained for you…your spouse!

 

Joe & Kerry

 

 

 

Forgiveness…4 Principles to Apply to Your Life

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies.”                  Saint Augustine

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Forgiveness is one of the most difficult and most misunderstood concepts in all of life. Refusal to do it can create a toxic root of bitterness in our hearts. A lack of forgiveness can wreck marriages, families, careers and most every other aspect of life, but embracing grace in its true form can bring freedom and healing.

This past weekend at our POM Communication Conference, we spoke in great depth on the communication skill of forgiveness. Not only receiving but granting it as well.  It is evident that so many of us struggle with the concept of Biblical Forgiveness, both extending as well as receiving.

Kerry and I would like to share 4 basic principles that we like to put into place on this journey of forgiveness.

To live a life of grace and forgiveness, do the following:

When you’ve blown it, own it!

We live in a world that loves to deflect accountability and assign blame somewhere else. We’d like to believe we’re always either the hero or the victim in every situation, but sometimes, we’re the bad guys! Never admitting fault doesn’t make you look strong; it makes you look foolish. Be willing to swallow your pride, confess your offense, and humbly seek forgiveness.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Recognize the difference between forgiveness and trust.

Some people reject forgiveness, because they wrongly believe it’s the same thing as trust and since they don’t trust the person, they assume they can’t forgive the person. Forgiveness can’t be earned, only given (that’s called grace). Trust, however, can’t be given, only earned (that’s called “Common Sense!”).

Follow the example of the world’s only perfect Forgiver.

The more you learn from Jesus, the more naturally forgiveness will flow. He is the embodiment of love and grace. We still live with the natural consequences of our decisions, but ultimately, the penalty of our sins was paid for by Him on the cross. Don’t beat yourself or others up for offenses that Jesus has literally taken a beating to forgive.

Give as much forgiveness as you’d like to receive.

We all want grace when we’ve messed up, but we’ve got to realize that grace flows both ways with equal measure. If you want to receive forgiveness, you must also offer forgiveness.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Think of it this way- We are not called to “wait” for that person to come and ask for forgiveness. No, we must actively forgive in the moment.
Better example yet, God sent His Son into a world that hated Him. If God had waited for the world to be “worthy” to receive Him, His Son would never have come.

In closing, Forgiveness is so unnatural an act that it takes practice to perfect it. In fact, it is rarely the case that we are able to forgive “one time” and the matter is settled, more often than not, we must relinquish our bitterness a dozen or so times, continually choosing to release the offender from our judgment.

So, today, what do you choose?

Joe & Kerry

Practice Biblical Conflict

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Last year I was blessed and honored to have officiated 6 weddings.  Kerry and I spent time with each of those couples as their Pre-Marriage Counselors.  We were privileged to spend time with them and journey with them as they prepared for their marriage and life together as husband and wife. To be able to do Pre-Marriage Counseling as Husband/Wife and to also be a firsthand witness to the genesis of each of these relationships-from courtship to becoming one as husband and wife, is cherished and priceless.

During the 12 week journey with each couple, the primary focus of discussion usually turns to conflict in their relationship and how to deal with it in a Biblical manner. Kerry and I tell each couple that Biblical Conflict is good and necessary to grow in their marriage; however, we so often are not taught what this looks like nor how to fight fair. One of my favorite “Joeisms” is to say, “If every day were sunshine, you would have a desert. Storms bring growth and new life; however, you need to know how to prune and manage that growth so it will not overrun your marriage.” The need of effective communication thus in turn leads to how well your conflict is dealt with and what growth comes from it: nurturing or destructive.

Gary Thomas wrote a book, The Sacred Search-A Couple’s Conversation Guide, as a guide for pre-marriage counseling. This has become our primary tool we use with our couples we journey with. In chapter 6 of his book, Constructive Conflict, Gary delves deep into the attitudes and actions we each take as individuals with regards to conflict. I would like to share with you his closing paragraph in that chapter.

When it comes to marital conflict, there are many unhealthy forms of communication—acts that make the conflict worse. Let’s agree to reject all these unhealthy methods of relating:
A.Hurtful Words. So much harm can be done in so little time if we don’t train our tongues (see James 3:1–12). Name-calling or blasting back with hateful things has never solved a single marital conflict. It has never served the cause of love. It has never fostered intimacy.
B. Stonewalling. This is such a harmful and common practice. It’s passive-aggressiveness taken to a malicious level. When you agree to marry someone, you agree ahead of time to work through conflict. Stonewalling (the silent treatment or withdrawal) is essentially renouncing your wedding vows. Some introverted personality types may need a moment to themselves to collect their thoughts and pray, but this is different from refusing to engage with your spouse. It’s putting off resolution indefinitely, and that’s just wrong.
C. Bringing Up The Past. Adopt this mantra: “One conflict at a time.” There is no use trying to bring three previous fights into the current one.
D. Acting Like You’re Above Being Wrong. In most conflicts, two people are both behaving inappropriately. One might be 95 percent in the wrong, but there is still 5 percent to be owned. Your spouse’s 95 percent doesn’t excuse your 5 percent. Seek to grow, not to win, in every argument. Own that 5 percent.

As said at the beginning, this is a journey that takes time and practice on both individuals and it is not only necessary in a marriage, but in any form of relationships. Praying that we all heed and own James’ teachings in his letter; James 4:1-3. Seek the Lord and His counsel as you then seek forgiveness from God and then from the one you are in conflict with.

In His Grip~

Joe

Vows on the 25th…

  

 On Tuesday the 30th of June, Kerry and I renewed our vows on our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  It was a surprise for Kerry that evening. With the amazing help from our kids, Samantha-Baylee-Ryne, over 50 close firends and family were there to share in our time to rededicate and celebrsate the past 25 years as we prepared for the many years to come.

I am going to share those vows we spoke to one another. This is not to brag but to encourage other couples to constantly focus on the blessing of your marriage. God ordained you as Husband and Wife, you must daily seek ways to thank Him for that blessing.

Joe’s Vows to Kerry

I still remember the first time I laid eyes on you that fall day in 1987. Standing next to something also near and dear to my heart…the Hot Dog vendor by the Duck Pond at UNM. You took my breath away at that moment….it just took you another 4 months till you felt slightly close the same way.

The past 25 years have been truly a humbling experience for me. You came along and joined me in this adventure. You never considered the “D” word, you never sought to purposely attack me as a father or husband. You joined me hand in hand and became the living model of Genesis 2:18-You always are there to assist and complete me as you reflect Christ in everything you do!

So I would like to speak these commitments to you for our next 25 years and beyond:

1. I commit to seeking Christ first in my life and obeying what He reveals to me.

2. I commit to praying for you daily, every morning, before my feet hit the floor.

3. I commit to Holiness in our marriage, not happiness.

4. I commit to displaying Christ to not only you but to our children, and grandchildren daily.

5. I commit to making sure you have a hot towel each time you get out of the shower.

6. I commit to only having eyes for you!

7. I commit to pray for you as a teacher, and educator, as an awakener towards your students.

8. I commit to never ceasing to display chivalry towards you.

9. I commit to always infusing Intimacy into our marriage: Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Intimacy.

10. I commit to always getting “puffy eyes” when you are around me!

11. I commit to Hobby Lobby runs with you at your becking call.

12. I commit to the 6 questions. Not just asking but listening and growing!

13. I commit to date nights as much as possible!

14. I commit to being the best Papa Joe alongside my Lovey.

15. I commit to practice turning the bathroom door in a very quiet manner in the morning.

16. I commit to continue to smile and make eye contact with you everytime you enter a room!

17. I commit to out-serving you 

18. I commit to being the best forgiver in our marriage: both asking and seeking.

19. I commit to always seeing you as the princess you are: God’s precious daughter!

20. I commit to daily Redeeming the White Space in our marriage from this day forward

Kerry, I am honored, humbled and so over the top excited to call you my wife but most of all, calling you my best friend. You daily display to our daughters what it looks like to be a woman of God, and Imitator of Christ. You daily display grace and forgiveness, not only to me, but to those you encounter. We have entered a new calling in our lives as we do ministry together. I am at awe as you counsel and encourage spouses, wives and moms. You truly give Biblical counsel and always point to His amazing love in every encounter. 

Kerry, I want you to know today, that I commit to Him, to us, and to our family. You are My Dove and always remember this…I loved you first and always will love you through His love and holiness!

Kerry’s Vows to Joe

I still remember that night when I called you to say I was finally ready…All God…to go out on a date. Thank you for waiting.

I still remember the dog we picked up on a rainy night, the red car we picked out together and the nights we hunted down the “mega event” lights in the sky.

I remember our wedding day and honeymoon at the cabin. The rainy walk we took.

I remember our first mountain loft home we built with family and the centipedes we constantly vacuumed up.

I remember sharing our car one car and how you would drop me off at the school at 6:30am when I worked at the YMCA.

I remember how you supported me through school, graduation, and then the endless hours I still dedicate to school.

I remember getting pregnant the second time and the look on your face when you said, “Again? So Soon?” 

I remember how excited you were when we found out we were pregnant and how I did not change a diaper for the first 2 weeks of Samantha’s life and how it was a rainy day and you tried to make baby food. That lasted a day.

I remember the tough times thru the business and the incredible times traveling with Special Olympics. 

I remember standing before our current church family and the process it took to be voted in. What a blessing that turned out to be!!

I remember the first wedding you officiated and the transparency that was created.

I remember how you would cry each time you thought about giving away your oldest daughter and I smile about how you are going to cry when you hold your grandbaby girl.

I remember the first time I sat across from you and listened to how you gave such Godly counsel to a hurting couple. I was so proud of you.

I remember so much about our last 25+ years together. But the one thing I don’t need to remember is how you use to love me because you show me everyday by your words and actions that you still love me unconditionally. Every part of me knows you will lead us by His Word. 

I know you will love me even when I frustrate you. 

I know you still find me hot.

I know you will make me proud.

I know you will be in His Word.

I know you choose me daily.

I am so blessed to be your wife and I know that the next 25 years standing by your side is fgoing to bring laughter, tears, and many blessings.

I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is Mine!