The whole reason this podcast ever came to be was so you could live with more time and meaning in your home, motherhood, and your marriage. Well, today’s episode is extremely valuable and might just prove to be the best system I have ever implemented in my life. If you are in a place in your marriage where you want more connection, more meaning, more unity and trust, then this system needs to be a part of your life.
Book a date night on the ole shared google calendar and pop a link to this episode in the notes because you and your husband should be jamming on everything we talk about in today’s show. There are so many resources inside that I really want you to pick up and use to strengthen your marriage. Now go hit play and check out why I am so passionate about this killer system!!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
What is a marriage retreat?
How can I afford it?
What do I do there?
All of the many questions you may have, I am about to answer them today.
Marriage retreats are a system that is a very critical part of my life. This system is something my husband and I do and have done every single year since we have been married. I have fallen in love with the process of our marriage retreats and I have also seen it completely transform everything we are about. We look forward to this every single year. Without this, I am not sure how we would grow and accomplish the things God brought us together to do. These retreats just bring a vision to our marriage.
I am an incredibly intentional person. Systems require intention. You have to put forethought into whatever it is that you are doing in order to create your system. Maybe this is a huge part of why I systemize everything or how I’m able to systemize everything because I am so incredibly intentional. I look at everything through this really analytical lens.
The idea of marriage retreats was not my idea. Let me give you a little insight into how we started attending marriage retreats. When my husband and I reconnected we were a long distance from one another. We knew each other in high school. We disconnected by time and space for a long time, from sophomore year in high school until about 17 years later. We reconnected through Instagram. I was a single mom. He was single and he had never been married. When we connected, he knew exactly what he wanted in a wife. So there was truly undeniable courtship, there was actual dating. It wasn’t necessarily an interview but we did both share what was absolutely important to us so that the other person could actually think about them. Every time I flew out to Ohio to see him, we would have really meaningful conversations. He was living in Ohio and I was living in Arizona. The intention in dating was to get married. We wanted to find a partner to do life with and we wanted it to be very yoked biblically. That is what we were both looking for.
He sent me a link to a Youtube video. He said, “Hey, watch this and tell me what you think about it.” The YouTube video was from a pastor named Jimmy Evans. He has dedicated his entire ministry to marriage. The name of his ministry is Marriage Today by Jimmy Evans. He simply focuses on growing and strengthening biblical marriages. He believes that if you do marry God’s way you have a 100% chance of succeeding. So I started listening to the counsel, the wisdom, the warnings, and just all this teacher had to say. So we decided to use that as the foundation of how we would come together to talk about things in our marriage since we both agreed on the things he was talking about.
The Marriage Today ministry promotes marriage retreats. They actually have a marriage retreat where they go on a cruise for 7 days, they have marriage conferences, and they have a website where they have marriage books, marriage coaches, marriage counselling, crisis counselling, and a ton of videos. They have all kinds of resources on everything you could think of concerning your marriage needs. So we picked up the marriage retreat concept and ran with it. We loved the intention behind it, what it meant, and what you did there.
This is how the whole thing got started and what we do there.
Now, what is a marriage retreat?
A marriage retreat is a time when you do not have your children around and you go away with your husband anywhere between 3-5 days. Due to my husband and I have really small children, we only go for 2 days because we don’t like leaving our children for too long. When we first started doing this we had an infant so we had a babysitter come with us and that was ok. It wasn’t ideal, but the fact of the matter is that we were getting it done. We made it work for us and still prioritized our marriage and the needs of our family. You can also do a marriage retreat where you go somewhere for a day and come back home that night. It isn’t what a true marriage retreat looks like but it is better than not doing anything at all.
The ideal scenario is where you go somewhere with your spouse to make memories. Half of the time you are doing something fun, playing and having a good time enjoying one another. The other half of the time, you are praying and communicating, talking about the hard things, what’s working in your marriage, and what you want to see happen.
There are several ways you can make this happen. My husband and I use the resources in Marriage Today. We take a book or video series and we watch it or read it together and discuss it and implement it based on what our marriage goals are in that particular season. In previous years, what we have chosen to do is we have gone through all of the pillars in our life; financial, spiritual, physical, emotional, and parenting. We would write all of those down and we would take inventory of each area. We would talk about it a little bit before going into a marriage retreat.
We would also take inventory of ourselves. We find out what those things are within us that need to change for the betterment of our marriage, we improvise, we adapt, and then we overcome. So this is what we are doing when we go to our marriage retreats.
How do we actually make this happen?
With small children, we have to be really, really resourceful. We lean on our families to help take care of our children. You can make it where you come home in the evening during your marriage retreat if you have to but the point is to really get alone time in order for you to reconnect with your husband. If you never do this any other time, try to do it once a year. Start small and then let it grow as your children get older.
How do we stay focused?
We create a plan. We block out our time so that we can dive into whatever we want to do and we are intentional about not blowing the weekend. We have seen the benefit of how it can change and impact our marriage. When we are intentional with our time and get through the hard conversations, we see a huge change in our marriage and in each of us. We come home from these marriage retreats, insanely reunited. Over the course of a year, a lot can happen in the life of a husband and a wife. Really unexpected things. Some things are really good and some things are really hard. Handling life with another person can be very challenging. I recommend taking it very seriously and going through the refining process and focusing on growing with your spouse over the next 12 months as it relates to the area of focus that you choose to work on during your marriage retreat.
One of the reasons why we take this very seriously is because we both watched our parents get divorced after we graduated from high school. We were the thing keeping our parents together and once we went off they divorced. We do not want that for our lives. We do not want that for our children’s lives. We are working very hard to do what we know to do and that is what the marriage retreat is for, to open our eyes to things that we may be missing from each other’s perspective and how we can be drawn back together.
We are always trying to bring everything back to what we feel we are called to do as husband and wife.
We believe that each specific unit, the husbands and wives unit, is together to fulfill a purpose.
“When we are intentional with our time and get through the hard conversations, we see a huge change in our marriage and in each of us.”
How can you get started?
I would suggest doing some research. You can start where we started by visiting xomarriage.com or just do your own research on resources for your marriage. You can have a conversation with your husband. Just express your desire to do it and see how well it goes over. If it goes over well, begin planning it. Google Marriage Retreat Workbook and download a workbook for you and your husband to work through. Or choose a very specific topic to work through during your trip.
Expect it to be hard. There may be crying and that is ok. There may be frustration and that is ok. As long as both of you agree to not give up on the process and to continue to work through it. You may argue a lot the first few times. That is ok. Just don’t give up. It may be very uncomfortable, but go through it TOGETHER and come out with a plan in place of how you will tackle whatever you plan to tackle for the year.
The idea is to come out with a goal in mind. If your goal is finances, you both choose what you want to bring to the table during the retreat. You show up to the retreat with your work done and your husband comes with his work done. Once you are on the retreat, you work through whatever the issues are in your finances and then address the changes you want to implement. Then create a plan or goal for the year to stick to.
This may be hard but you have to fight through it to get ahead of the enemy. When you tackle all of the different areas in your marriage that are hard, you are doing so in order to prevent the plan the enemy has and is using to try to tear you apart. When you come into your marriage retreat, please be intentional about praying against the attacks of the enemy.
Make prayer a huge priority throughout your entire retreat.
Be very slow to speak and put yourself in a position where you are very trusting and respectful of the process. There are a lot of little things to work through in order to get you to that point. However, as long as you keep sitting on the idea and watering the seed, it will grow. You and your husband will have so much fun. Cater the retreat towards what you and your husband both like and you won’t go wrong.
I hope this system of how to utilize a marriage retreat has sparked some inspiration and hope in you and what you and your husband can do and grow into together.
Let me know what you think about it. Join me in my Free Facebook Community Group and ask questions or just share what you thought about this blog.
If you are looking for more marriage resources, I have a full tier in The Systemize Your Life Academy on Marriage where my husband and I both share how we manage our marriage with necessary systems that have changed our lives and transformed our marriage.
Looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts and how this possibly impacted your marriage. Talk soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any day to day suggestions you have for systemizing your marraige?
Sure do. The first thing I want you to realize is that you need to be intentional with your time. If you haven’t discovered my Fundamental Needs (yes…there is a free workbook!) start there. If you are still wondering whether incorporating fundamental needs into your week is actually important, go read this blog post!