Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Refreshing our marriage: Couple's Retreat 2015

"You married her because you loved her.  But from tomorrow on, you must love her
because you married her......love is a choice."

~Elizabeth Elliot

If my husband and I have learned anything in our nearly 19 years of marriage, it's this:
you must be intentional about nurturing and investing in your marriage.

A great marriage doesn't just happen.
You don't always get along.
You don't always get to see each other everyday.
You sometimes have to make quick decisions apart from each other.
Life can become a tsunami of demands from children, bills, phone calls, responsibilities.

Another thing I've learned over the years is the more stressful your week, the less time 
you've had to talk, the less sweetness between you,
the longer it takes to make a connection when you do finally get time alone together.

It sometimes takes more than an hour at dinner alone to get the surface conversation out of the way
to really be in sync with each other again.

One way that we have loved combating all that is by purposing, at the beginning of the year,
to get away for a two-night couples retreat.

 We have found a lovely camp that is just 4 hours away from our home that hosts
a delightful retreat annually.
This spring was our 3rd couples retreat.

It is so peaceful and relaxing there.
The schedule is the perfect combination of planned, encouraging sessions
and free time to just be together and choose what activities you 
might like to participate in.
Want or need to just nap all afternoon?
Go right ahead!!!

Feeling particularly social and want to join in some games?
There are lots of friends to visit with!

The schedule begins with dinner on Thursday evening,
so once our children are settled in their places for the weekend, we head
out for the 4-hour drive.
We usually stop along the way for a sweet lunch somewhere and just enjoy
the conversation together the rest of the way there.

After we get checked into our room, we have a little time to visit with friends
from other churches we haven't seen in awhile.
After a fun dinner, there is usually one marriage strengthening session.
After that is over you can head back to your room to relax together,
or you can get together with friends and play games or get some snacks and coffee.

Friday includes several more teaching sessions, fun group games,
and an afternoon of free time.
On Friday evening, the staff usually comes together and puts on a really lovely
private candlelit "date night."
It is designed to last for one full hour with several courses
and allows you time to just talk quietly and enjoy each other.

After the evening session on Friday, they set out more snacks and board games and open up
an area for game night.

Saturday morning begins with a session and brunch is served immediately after that.
Then it's time to pack up and head home.

We love this so much that we start planning it all out right at the beginning of the year.
Once we have the dates nailed down, we pair up the children with a sibling they get along with, 
and start farming them out to close friends.
We also get Grandma on board to help with transportation and food preparation and
supervising household care.
We've also agreed to devote part of our income tax return money to pay for this
much needed investment.
We look at it as an investment in a happy retirement!! 

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