Each spring Brandon and I look forward to our Marriage Retreat. Taking a retreat is something we have done since our Engagement 14 years ago. I know there are movies that poke fun at Marriage Retreats, but in all reality they are one of the keys to the success of our marriage. Often times we get asked by people who don’t know us, How long have you been married? When we tell them 13 years they are blown away. Most people think we have only been married a year or two when they see how we treat each other and share love. They say we seem more like newly weds then a couple currently working on year 14.
Today we wanted to share 5 reasons we take time for a Marriage Retreat Each Spring.
- The first reason is pretty obvious, it gives us time to leave the world behind and just focus on each other without distractions. Life is busy and so full of distractions. For us it is so easy to get caught up in work, the farm and daily duties leaving intentional time together for the very last part of our day. Taking a retreat gives us time to refocus on making our love and intentional time with each other every day a priority.
- A retreat gives us the ideal setting to communicate + rest. We like to choose a place that is calm, soothing, beautiful and full of God Grace. We personally love to visit monasteries located on vast lands full of God’s beauty. We also look for missions located in scenic escapes perhaps on an island or in the mountains. We sometimes seek little tucked away places in country settings that are quite + darling and not far from a church. Being in an environment that is full of God’s Grace, Peace and Love is critical because we are opening ourself to be fully vulnerable. We find it easier to get to the heart of any issues or problems in this type of environment.
There is no way to fix a problem if we can’t identify it. Which is why prayer is so vital to us while on retreat. Hence, choosing a place full of prayer and faith. Our souls need it, so we take full advantage of that.
- We set goals and come up with creative solutions. Our marriage retreat is not a quick-fix solution or a temporary Band-Aid that only covers up wounds. It is time that we use to come up with creative solution with God’s help + direction. We also like to have our retreats guided by either live faith based talks or an online faith based corse for marriage. We always plan to listen to a talk a day while on retreat. We always discover new tools we can use in our marriage, wether it be for communication, organization or just general life tools.
- Our foundation gets stronger. A retreat for us is both relaxing and “love work” at the same-time. Our “love work” looks something like this…
• Writing love notes to each other
• Having discussions about where we are in our prayer lives
• Sharing what we love most about the other
• Saying I love you daily
• Planning date nights for the year
• Setting up dedicated family time + prayer time for the year
- We forgive each other and ourselves. Forgiveness is so important for a great marriage! We are Catholic so we go to the sacrament of confession which we are both so incredibly thankful for. But we also take time to forgive each other, to say peace to each other and to move forward hand in hand.
- Our retreats offer the blessing of getting to knowChrist better. During our retreat we are giving back to God the gift of time. I once read “The spiritual movements, stirrings, communion and prayer that happen during the blessed time of a retreat are a conversation that can last a lifetime. The Holy Spirit is our primary spiritual director, and through our time of contemplation, we come not only to know God better, but also ourselves. There is no one gentler than God in revealing ourselves to ourselves.”
–Tim Drake executive director of Pacem in Terris Hermitage Retreat Center
- Our souls our nourished and tended too. When we come home from a marriage retreat we feel rested, invigorated, renewed, stronger, full of energy and peace. Jesus always tends to our souls and our deeper needs while we are on retreat.
One important thing to keep in mind is that a retreat is totally different than a vacation.
On a vacation we go away from our normal duties and spend time with family. We make a trip; we have meals; we spend money on things and activities that have no purpose other than bringing us together with the ones we love for a period of time. In other words, we have fun. And if we are being honest, when we come home from a vacation, we typically feel we need a few days to rest from our vacation.
On a marriage retreat we literally retreat from normal life. We find a place that is silent, beautiful, and we cut ourselves off from the world of work, technology, concerns and spend time exclusively with God and each other focusing on our marriage. The entire time is wrapped in prayer and God’s Grace. When we come home from a retreat we are well rested and ready to take on any challenges that may come. Coming home from a retreat feels so different then coming home from a vacation.