Journey Toward Intimacy Offers Couples An Opportunity for Growth

    On January 22-23, Willie and Elaine Oliver from NAD Family Ministries came to Andrews University to present Journey Toward Intimacy to an audience of 50 couples at Garber Auditorium in Chan Shun Hall.  The Olivers led discussions on renewal, commitment, problem solving, friendship, forgiveness, and intimacy.
    Sponsored by the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary’s Religious Education Program, and Seminary Support in Ministry, the event was opened to the greater community of Berrien Springs, Michigan, creating a rich blend of seminary couples and couples from the surrounding area.
    “We were gratified by the level of interest among the participating couples,” shared the Olivers.  “Whether married almost 30 years or just over 30 days, these seminarians were serious about growing in their respective marriages.”
    The well-researched presentations and exercises led to meaningful discussion and new discoveries for the attendees, as well as challenged preconceived notions and ideas.  
    “I really enjoyed the couple exercises,” noted Nelida Aguero, 25, from New Jersey.  “They really made me think about aspects in my relationship with my husband that still needs growth.”
    “I was impressed by how many important topics and interactive sessions the Olivers could fit into one weekend! I had a fun time with my wife at every meeting, and we got to talk about things that we have been needing to discuss but hadn’t found the time or motivation to do so,” lauded seminarian David Hamstra.  “My wife and I have made several improvements to our marriage as a result of what we experienced, and I consider the Journey Toward Intimacy time well spent.
    Many of the attendees were especially impressed by the expertise and new ideas that Willie and Elaine Oliver presented.
    Newlyweds Nate and Rachel Skaife of Berrien Springs, Michigan commented, “we really appreciated what they said about how important it is for us to take vacations to get away and reconnect with each other.  This is something that we are going to plan to do.”
    What seemed to resonate with all the attendees was the obvious passion the Olivers had for the importance of an active seeking of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit within the marital relationship. “There are many wonderful and practical take-aways from their seminar” observed Yvonna Applewhite, 40, from Berrien Springs, Michigan.  “If I had to pick a favorite or two, it would be consistent Biblical references and the encouraging assurance that it only takes one to change the equation, for ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matt. 19:26, KJV).”
    Journey Toward Intimacy is one of several community-wide events hosted by the Religious Education Department at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  Coming this summer is Family Celebration Sabbath, July 16-17, 2010, an affirmation of family life and values.  For more information on Journey Toward Intimacy, Family Celebration Sabbath, and/or the variety of academic offerings through the Religious Education Department, call 269-471-6186 or visit http://www.growingdisciples.info.

by J. B. McMillen