A Life-Giving Messianic Marriage Conference
Twenty-two couples gathered at Hope of Israel Congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina, on January 14-15, 2023, for two days of solid Bible teaching, encouragement, fellowship, and blessing. Some were engaged, some were newlyweds, some married for 45 years and many with children from various congregations near and far.
Learning how to communicate
We structured the conference to encourage couples to communicate and apply biblical truth. Even before Sam Nadler’s opening prayer, he asked couples to lean in and pray with and for each other. Over the next two days (in six sessions), Sam taught for 50 minutes, followed by 10-minute Question & Answer time. The transforming work took place as couples then scattered around the building for one-on-one guided discussion (using questions in the Messianic Marriage Matters book) for 30 minutes at a time. (One man smiled as he referred to this as “being forced to communicate!” For some, this practice helped them learn how to communicate.)
“So simple yet so profound”
Sam led us on a deep dive into Genesis 1 and 2 on Saturday. This chapter contains many foundational truths about our God-given roles and relationships (with God and one another.) One woman commented, “Sam draws out such deep meaning from Scriptures that I would just gloss over on my own.” Then on Sunday we covered the attack on marriage in Genesis three and how the Messiah restores us to God’s original design for marriage as the New Covenant instructs us.
One man told us, “We went to a marriage conference years ago based on human psychology with a few bible verses. This one is much different, based on scripture and much more helpful.” He continued, “My big takeaway is this: My happiness has nothing to do with what my wife can do for me…. My happiness is based on my relationship with my Savior and my willingness to be obedient to Him in my service to my wife. It’s so simple, yet so profound….”
“We lead as a manager and not an owner”
After the conference, a soon to be engaged woman told us, “I found this conference to be so incredibly helpful, uplifting, rooting, and inspiring. I have been telling friends and coworkers about it nonstop! As a young believer who is eager to understand marriage from a Biblical, faith-based context, this helped me frame my understanding and more fully appreciate the commitment – before being married! What a blessing indeed. One of my key takeaways is that marriage is a ministry. How wonderful is that!?”
Several men and women commented on a counter-cultural principle that Sam repeated many times throughout the weekend: “The man is the head of the household, but he is never to use that authority to benefit himself.” A similar thought impressed the men during their breakout time: “We lead as a manager and not an owner.”
Submission to our Messiah in all things
Sam teaches one concept that never fails to astound conference-goers: “The husband is called by God to be the nurturer in the family. Because of the role reversal of sin, men are not living out their calling. God called men to hold the family together.” To encourage a bit of nurturing at the men’s breakout session, Sam had the men pair up and pray for one another as they closed their breakout time. He says, “Women tend to do this naturally. Men at first need to be instructed on how to nurture.” It may have felt uncomfortable initially, but the men were greatly encouraged by this simple practice.
During the ladies’ breakout session, Miriam Nadler taught the women about the biblical concept of submission from Titus 2 and other scriptures. Quoting Miriam’s teaching, one woman shared that she found it helpful to process Eve’s part of the curse “as a disciplinary action from the Lord vs. having to walk around under a curse.” Sam reminded us that everything revolves around our submission to our Messiah in all things.
“Faith is intentional”
Another conference attendee said, “For me, the conference allowed me to:
1. RESET my attitude on our marriage, filter through some things on my heart, and allow the truth of God’s words to permeate those ugly areas needing growth.
2. RECENTER focus on God, reminding me He is my source in every aspect of our marriage.
3. REFOCUS prayer and devotion time together and make this a priority on a weekly basis.”
Sam spoke to the men about being intentional in pursuing their relationships with God and their (own!) wives. As we wrapped up, he told the entire group, “Faith is intentional. Backsliding is natural. No one ever heard of front-sliding.”
Pray for the next in-person Conference!
Please pray for these couples as they pursue the heart of God to live as faithful disciples in the home. Sam encouraged them to continue using the discussion questions in the book—and to read the book together.
Watch for the date of our next Messianic Marriage Matters conference. We will post it here in the Shmooze Letter. I’m already making notes for the next in-person event in Charlotte in January of 2024! We appreciate your prayers for God to prepare those who would benefit by attending.