Scenic view of trees at camp

Camper Story: Receiving Your Spouse

by Mario Zandstra

Catching Football

At family camp, adults get to enjoy teaching on parenting, marriage, and the Christian life by excellent Christian speakers. One week, our speaker shared the concept of leaving your mother and father, cleaving to your spouse, and receiving them as a gift from God. The speaker shared the “power” of accepting this realization and the commitment to your spouse that is acknowledged by receiving them.

At the end of this session, the speaker had all of the couples stand and go through a “receiving” ceremony. He used the example of catching a football. Follow the ball in, catch it, pull it close to your body and embrace it.


All of the couples stood to their feet to go receive their spouse with one exception amongst them, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey (not their real names). The couple remained seated. We were all shocked. Nearly 30 years of marriage on the line.

The other couples finished, there were tears and kisses shared… but not between the Baileys. Mrs. Bailey was heartbroken. She had hoped her husband would lead, but nothing.

The week progressed and our staff prayed for all of our campers—especially the Baileys.

On Friday nights, our campers share what they learned during the week and maybe a commitment they intend to make after leaving. During our camper share time, Mr. Bailey got up to speak.

“I know you all noticed that Mrs. Bailey and I did not participate in the ‘receiving’ ceremony earlier this week. As I listened to the speaker, I realized that I had never left my mother and father. My wife has competed with my mom for nearly 30 years. During this week I have acknowledged this to my wife, I have told her I was sorry and have asked her for forgiveness. She has forgiven me, so today…”

He then turned to his wife and said, “Mrs. Bailey I am so sorry this has taken so long… Today, I receive you as my wife, as God’s perfect provision for me.”

They wept, the ladies cried, the guys’ allergies flared up. Tears everywhere. Prayers answered. A new beginning 30 years later.

Have you received your spouse as God’s perfect provision for you? Today would be a good day to do so.

The curriculum used by some of our speakers comes from the Weekend to Remember marriage conference by FamilyLife.  This unique partnership between FamilyLife and Pine Cove has had an amazing impact on marriages. For biblical help on all things marriage, family, and relationship-related or for more information check out Family Life website.

Posted Jan 6, 2014

Mario Zandstra

Former President and CEO of Pine Cove

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