What comes to mind when you think about Brazil? It is well known for its soccer, beaches and also Carnaval. I like soccer and I like the beach, Carnaval, however, is a whole different story. For four or five days the whole country stops to party in the streets. What began as a religious observance of abstinence of the flesh turned into the very opposite – the celebration of the pleasures of the flesh. While some value the celebration for its cultural aspect, it is hard to overlook the noise, violence, drinking, debauchery and everything else that taints this long holiday.
Most Christians organize retreats during these days in order to leave the city and focus on God. Some organize retreats at campsites, church buildings and public schools. This year, my wife and I along with four other couples traveled to a city eight hours north of Recife a time of rest and renewal. All of these couples are Christian, young and do not have children yet. Most of them have been married for one or two years now. So it has been a great group of friends for Lívia and me to have because we learn so much from their experience. It is a close-knit group, one that has become comfortable with each other and able to share in each other’s burdens as couples. I’m starting to think that every couple needs these kinds of friendships in their lives.
Each day of our retreat, we would have an open discussion of what it means to live life as two, to pursue love, and to strengthen our wedding vows. While many of these vows are broken in Brazil during Carnaval, we hope that more families can see the perfection and beauty within God’s plan, as we seek to reflect God’s perfect love in our marriage.