Have you and your spouse ever gone to a marriage retreat? If not, you really should!
Our church hosted a marriage retreat and we decided it would be fun to attend. We are so glad we did. We had the most amazing weekend together!
The name of the marriage retreat we went to was The Art of Marriage - getting to the heart of God's design, by FamilyLife. The retreat was set up with a timeline that went for 3 hours on Friday evening, and from 8-4 on Saturday.
Now, when most people hear the words Marriage Retreat, they automatically assume it's for couples on the verge of divorce or who may otherwise have a troubled marriage. I must admit, at first we thought the same thing, but were assured by the people in charge of the retreat that it was designed for ALL couples.
They were absolutely right! This marriage retreat spoke to engaged couples, newly-weds, troubled marriages, and healthy marriages. In fact, we were impressed to see such a large turnout, but also to see a handful of couples in attendance with more than 20 years of a healthy marriage to celebrate.
For The Art of Marriage, there were six different sessions of discussion.
Session 1 was about the purpose of marriage. There was a lot of time during this session spent discussing the importance of having a Christ-centered marriage.
Session 2 focused on the way in which sin affects every marriage, sometimes causing couples to drift apart toward isolation.
Session 3 was very interesting to me. The topic - Roles of husbands and wives. God expects men to love and lead their wives. He calls women to respect and support their husbands, also known as submitting to their husbands, which is something strong independent women in today's society really struggle with.
Session 4 focused on conflict and conflict resolution, with communication and forgiveness being at the heart of the matter.
Session 5 was my personal favorite - Romance and Sex! God created men and women uniquely different, but so intimately perfect for each other. Having a fabulous marriage means having a pleasurable sex life, and vice versa.
Session 6 really touched my heart. It was about the importance of leaving a godly legacy to future generations, long after we're gone from this earth. Very powerful stuff!
For Mark and I, this marriage retreat was an opportunity to check-in with each other and confirm that we are both still happy and very madly in love. We also found it to be a perfect and safe opportunity to discuss a few topics in our marriage that we otherwise may not have mentioned to each other.
The added bonus --- intentional focus on our marriage. The reality is, it's not very often we have the chance to spend quality time together without our kids tagging along. We had about 12 hours spread over the course of two days, of completely and intentionally focused time together discussing our marriage and love for each other. And not once did we mention the funniest thing Abby just started doing or talk about what Faith just started learning in school.
Our weekend together was all about us, our marriage, and our love for each other. And I couldn't help noticing that it lit a new spark in our love chemistry that we had let fade a bit over the years.
I can't stop smiling!
For me, I don't really believe in going away for a weekend or even on vacation without my children. Maybe it's my own personal trauma from growing up in a broken family. I don't know. But I do believe the marriage is the foundation which holds a family together. It's so important for children to see their parents spending time together, communicating, and showing love and affection for each other. It gives them a sense of security to know their parents are happy and in love. It also shows them what a healthy, loving marriage or relationship is supposed to look like.
Therefore, I highly recommend scheduling intentional and focused time to get away with your spouse, even if it's only for a few hours each day during a particular weekend. Maybe it would be a great way to celebrate an upcoming anniversary. However you choose to be together, devote that time to focus completely on your marriage. And when you do, be sure to open your ears and your heart to hear what your spouse has to say.
~Until next time, may God bless your marriage with love, laughter, and sizzle!