My husband Joel and I recently graduated from our Discipleship Training School (DTS). We were married for almost one year when we said goodbye to our families and friends in the Netherlands to leave for Townsville, Australia.
It was such a unique opportunity to spend five months together focusing on personal growth as well as investing in our marriage. It was amazing to serve together on outreach and to dream together about our calling.
Here are my top tips of how you can make the most out of your DTS when you are a married couple.
1. Be okay with spending time apart
As the only married couple on our DTS, Joel and I were very intentional about not isolating ourselves from others on the school. For us, it was very important to be approachable and relatable, even though our stage of life was different. This meant we didn’t sit together in class all the time and we joined different groups for activities.
A lot of people commented that they appreciated how present and approachable we were and that we didn’t isolate ourselves as a couple.
For some couples (including us!) it is natural to not be together all the time, but even if it isn’t for you, I think it is worth being intentional about.
2. Make your own friends
One of the beautiful things about DTS is that you make the most incredible friendships. It was important to us to seek our individual friendships, as well as hang out in groups together as a couple. Fun fact: some people on campus only figured out that we were married after several weeks!
I know everyone is different, but I would definitely recommend building friendships with others individually and being intentional about spending time with your own friends. The friendships you build are so valuable and can be lifelong, so I would encourage you to invest in them individually.
3. Value your time together
As important as I think it is to connect with others, it is also really important to spend quality time with your spouse. Be purposeful about allocating time to be together to process the lectures, to share revelations, and to dream together. DTS gives you an amazing opportunity to get away from the noise and distractions you would have at home, to focus on God, your personal calling, and your calling as a couple.
4. Invite others in your journey
Being in YWAM is the perfect environment for growth. Living in a community with people who are like-minded, share the same values, and dare to ask the hard questions, gives you amazing opportunities to learn as a couple.
This gives a special opportunity to invite others to give advice, share their perspective, and support you. Share dinner with the families who live on campus, have coffee with your speakers, and ask your friends for their observations. Because of how close you live together with your friends, they will be able to point out some things you might not see yourself.
5. Share your experiences
Even though you might not realise, many other students look up at you because you’re married! It is an amazing opportunity to share your experiences, to give others a real view on what marriage looks like and give them tips!
My final advice is to come with open expectations; have faith that God has great things in store for you and enjoy the journey together!
If you want to read more about what it looks like to do a DTS as a married couple, see my previous blog, What it was like to do a DTS as a married couple.
Joel and I on our DTS – it was amazing to see Australia together!
Tamara did a DTS with us in 2019 with her husband, Joel. Tamara is from the Netherlands and enjoys good coffee, spending time with friends, and is always seeking for more inspiration to create a cosy home.