It doesn’t take long for most newlyweds to stumble on a truth known by couples since the time of Genesis: Marriage is hard work.
Blake and Sara Phillips had already faced naysayers who encouraged them to live together or date for years before even considering marriage. But they defied conventional wisdom and tied the knot in early fall 2018, and began juggling the joys and tensions of married life — careers, financial challenges, and rooming with family.As new Christians, the Phillips’s faith was stretched by pre-marital counseling that emphasized putting Christ at the center of their relationship. After marrying, Blake and Sara hungered for an opportunity to tap into the wisdom of other Christian couples, both long-timers and newlyweds, who could show them what a God-centered marriage really looks like.
Enter Sandy Cove’s “Tandem…A Weekend for 2,” an annual program that offered to “reveal how to live as loved and translate that love into marriages on a daily basis.”
“We felt that it is extremely important to build upon our marriage foundation now through this Sandy Cove event,” explained the couple. According to Sara, living with parents makes them feel like kids, and less like a married couple.
With finances tight, the Phillips applied for a scholarship, and received the help they needed to get here.
“We needed a God-centered getaway to reset our identity in marriage and make sure that we’re building marriage on a firm foundation,” said Sara, who called the weekend “affirming.”
The couple had never been to Sandy Cove, and Sara says the visit showed her something new and unexpected. “When I first saw the sign ‘Jesus Never Fails’ coming up the drive, I knew it was something different. I have never been to anything Christian-based, I didn’t realize that something like this existed. The whole weekend reaffirmed to me that I’m not the only one who lives for Christ.”
For Blake, the experience provided a much-needed dose of encouragement as other couples shared their struggles and testimonies of God’s faithfulness. “The day and age where it is now, it gets tough, and it’s nice to see people persevere through that with God at the center.”
Following their stay, the Phillips shared a testimony about their experience at Tandem and the impact of the scholarship that enabled them to attend:
“As newlyweds, it was amazing to fellowship with people who have been married for many years and gone through many chapters together. The wisdom we gained has taught us how to rely on God and each other, and better build a foundation of a Godly marriage.
“We are forever grateful for the people who donated toward the scholarship and made our attendance possible! This weekend has shifted and blessed our marriage in ways we will remember forever.”
As scholarship needs increase and families hunger for Godly building blocks, we invite you to partner with us to ensure more people experience the encouragement and impact of a Sandy Cove program.