Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, friends. This gives us an excuse to talk all things lovey dovey. Are you cringing, or ready to read more? 🙂
Just last year we celebrated YWAM Townsville’s 25th anniversary, which meant it was time to gather all the stats and celebrate all the milestones that had been achieved. We thought it would be fun to count up how many couples had met at YWAM Townsville over the last 25 years, we were surprised when our final tally came to 102 couples and 286 children!
Why so many couples?
I think there’s a few reasons why YWAM is not only a great place to meet your spouse, but also a great place to date, get married, and maybe even raise a family. Let me share a few reasons from my perspective.
The best relationships advice I ever received was to find someone who is like-minded; someone who shares the same values, celebrates your calling, and is heading in the same direction as you. YWAM generally attracts people who have a desire to serve in missions, grow in their faith, and do something great with their lives. It was these shared values that attracted me to my now-hubs, Matt, eight years ago 🙂
2) Live together, work together, hang out together
YWAM has a unique environment where we live together, work together, and hang out together. It might sound a bit happy family-ish, but it really does create a great environment for personal growth. And the friendships? Some of the best you’ll ever make in your life. When I met Matt, we were both serving onboard a YWAM Medical Ship, he was on crew and I was on the communications team. Working together, living on the ship, and hanging out with friends made it a great place to see all sides of each other. This was important for me when deciding if Matt was the person I wanted to spend my life with.
3) Love is blind, but your friends aren’t
When you’re caught up in an attraction to someone, sometimes your brain goes to mush and it is hard to not be led by your emotions. Can you relate? 🙂 In YWAM, these attractions are often pretty obvious to those around you because of how close we live and work together. This can be a really positive thing as there is often someone around who will ask the hard questions and help give the accountability you need when you have blind spots.
4) Surrounded by others on the same journey
Relationships can be a difficult thing to navigate. Matt and I have often been surrounded by other couples who are in the same boat (sometimes literally), or have been there before. This creates a great opportunity to invite others in to support you, give perspective, and wisdom.We also have great teaching available to us in regard to creating healthy relationships. In fact, our Discipleship Training School (DTS) has one whole week dedicated to it! This teaching has been really valuable and appreciated for Matt and I as we continue to build our marriage in a way that honours God and those around us.
5) Family is valued and celebrated
I absolutely love that one of YWAM’s core values is to value families. YWAM affirms the importance of families serving God together in missions, and encourages the development of strong and healthy family units, with each member contributing their gifts in unique and complementary ways. We’ve seen this in action a lot – families serving onboard our medical ship together in Papua New Guinea, being a part of our DTS outreaches, and finding ways to serve together at the campus. We also have a lot of couples that work together as team mates. The strength that they bring when they serve alongside each other really is incredible.
I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to serve alongside Matt both in Australia and Papua New Guinea. I can’t think of many places in the world where an electrician and a communications person would have the opportunity to contribute toward the same vision together while still serving in our individual roles. Valentine’s Day is a great day to remember that we were designed for relationship. This Valentines Day, I want to express thanks to so many leaders in YWAM who have imparted such strong values into my life that have helped create strong and meaningful relationships – not only with my husband, but my friends and family as well.