Marriage Retreat Weekend: Our Journey to a Stronger Marriage

marriage retreat weekend - chelsijo

July 25, 2023

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I’m thrilled to share an exclusive recap  of our recent marriage retreat weekend. Many of you reached out with questions after my previous deep dive into how we do our marriage retreats. Today I’m giving you all the juicy details and insights from our latest getaway with my amazing husband, Blaine!

Since Blaine has never appeared on the show before, we decided to record an episode together to give you a glimpse into our marriage retreat weekend experience. This episode is worth sharing with your spouse. We offer insights into our experience, challenges, goals, and its impact on our marriage.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

The Importance of Prioritizing Marriage Retreats: Strengthening Your Bond and Enriching Your Relationship

Before we dive into the specifics of our recent marriage retreat weekend, let’s talk about why marriage retreats are essential for couples. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to put our relationships on the back burner. We get caught up in work, household chores, and other responsibilities, leaving little time for meaningful connection. That’s where marriage retreat weekend comes in to save the day! 

Taking time away from our usual routines during a marriage retreat allows us to focus solely on each other and our relationship. It’s an opportunity to strengthen our bonds, rekindle romance, and navigate through any challenges that may be lingering. Marriage retreats provide a safe space to communicate openly, identify areas that need improvement, and set goals for the future.

The Decision to Embark on a Marriage Retreat Weekend

A common question I get is, “How did I get my husband to do this marriage retreat weekend?”. Blaine wanted to attend the marriage retreat as much as I did. We both wanted to strengthen our marriage and grow as a couple during the marriage retreat. It’s all about being open and willing to work on our relationship together.

“You have got to get to work and practice sifting through all the hard details in marriage.”

Just like anything else you do, you have got to get to work and practice sifting through all the hard details in marriage. It enables us to explore deeper emotional connection and vulnerability, rare on regular days at home.

Embracing the Power of a Marriage Retreat Weekend

So, what did we love most about this year’s marriage retreat weekend? Well, of course we both enjoyed having fun by the pool and taking some extended time away from the kids (as much as we love and missed them).

More importantly, we cherished the opportunity to dig deeper into our relationship with the help of the marriage retreat workbook we created. We tackled topics like finances, spirituality, parenthood, communication, and more. It was a fantastic way to address the things that matter to us and set goals for our future.

Preparing our Hearts and Minds

We didn’t have a strict plan, but I took charge of managing logistics like arranging childcare and ensuring our home life was in order before the retreat.

The real preparation was in our hearts and minds for the marriage retreat. We both knew there were important topics to discuss, so we kept putting off some conversations until the marriage retreat weekend, which allowed us to approach them with focused attention. Those of you that are in Systemize Your Life will be able to work through the workbook where you’ll see there’s a whole section on how to get prepared.

If you want to take a deeper dive into what to do to prepare and what it’s all about you’ll want to make sure to catch up on the Marriage Retreat System episode

Structuring Our Marriage Retreat Weekend for Success

Blaine and I structured our days to have a balance of play and deep discussions. We started with a relaxing massage (first time we’ve done this) and then found a comfortable spot to sit and open our marriage retreat workbook. We started off with a prayer to set the tone for our discussions during the marriage retreat, and we focused on one topic at a time, ensuring we covered everything we needed to.

Choosing the Right Location for Our Marriage Retreat Conversations

The key is to choose a place where you both feel comfortable and can engage in meaningful conversations during the marriage retreat weekend. There’s always a decision to be made around whether or not we want to be alone in a room or in a coffee shop type of set up where you can still have a conversation with no one around you really listening or paying attention. 

In public you still have to keep your act together so this depends on where you’re at in  your relationship and what you feel you need in that moment. Being alone with one another can even be an adjustment when you’re used to having kids around all the time. When it’s finally just the two of you and you have no one else to think about, it’s easy to get caught in between feeling like there is a ton of time vs not having enough time.


We managed to get away for a weekend for our marriage retreat. It worked out well even though we couldn’t get through the entire workbook. Another day or two would have been perfect to make it a three or four day getaway but that would be really hard for us.  The key is making your unique set of circumstances work for you.  Even if you aren’t able to get away overnight you could try do it for a day or a half a day.

Being Sensitive to One Another’s Needs

I like to dive in and get stuff done whereas Blaine will get antsy after a few hours and will want to get up for a walk or get some coffee. This is where working together is key.  We set some serious ground rules in the beginning on what our tendencies are and how we tend to communicate. 

In a marriage this could be tendencies to  interrupt, being impatient or not listening for understanding.  The whole gist of what you’re doing is to really work through conflict and then to set goals.

Navigating Vulnerability and Sensitive Topics during the Marriage Retreat Weekend

Effective communication in relationships can be challenging, especially when trying to articulate feelings and thoughts without being disrespectful or arrogant. It requires introspection and careful consideration of how our words will be received to ensure a productive conversation. 

Vulnerability is crucial, even when discussing sensitive topics, as there might be moments of discomfort or offense. However, navigating through these difficult conversations is an essential part of fostering a strong and healthy relationship.

The Marriage Retreat Workbook: Our Guide to Connection

The first couple of years we didn’t have a workbook.  Now we have our workbook that we created together. We used the workbook to help us go through conflicts we identified and then we broke the days up into times of work and play, with meals in between.  Sometimes we’d take a break when we found ourselves at a dead end or not making progress on something.

Embracing Discomfort and Growth in Marriage Communication

There are moments that demand addressing uncomfortable topics and acknowledging past mistakes, a process that requires immense vulnerability. You’re probably going to have to forgive when  you don’t really want to forgive. You’re probably going to have to trust when you don’t really necessarily want to trust. 

Having both set aside this time and possibly invested money into your marriage retreat weekend, make it count.  The last thing you want to do is waste it and not find resolve while you’re there. 

You may argue or get emotional and that’s okay.  Just remember to stay on track. Remember why you’re there. Say a prayer or do whatever you need to help you regain focus. You may even have to walk away and take a break if you need to

Conflict in Communication

One of the first conflicts that we worked through is communication.  Like every married couple, we too have areas where things get tough, and for us, it’s the aspect of communication.

Every year or so, it feels like the dynamics of our communication change, with some aspects improving while others fall by the wayside. Blaine and I recently sat down and acknowledged that communication has become a sticking point for us over the last six months, if not longer.

We made a conscious decision to confront this challenge together, each of us identifying different issues through our workbook exercises. It was eye-opening to realize that what bothered him wasn’t necessarily the same for me. Nonetheless, we embarked on the journey, determined to work through obstacles as a team, finding common ground and understanding.

Discovering the Power of Marriage Retreat Conversations

This time away serves as our sanctuary to address the topics we might have been holding back or finding challenging to discuss. Unlike at home, where distractions abound, the retreat provides the ideal setting for open and heartfelt communication. It fosters an environment where both partners feel comfortable sharing what’s truly on their minds.

To make the most of these transformative conversations, we approach them with boundless love and an open mind, leaving behind any defensiveness or arrogance. Embracing humility, we willingly accept whatever our spouse brings to the table, diligently working through the issues that arise. In the midst of our married life’s familiarity, the retreat reminds us of the importance of maintaining humility and continuously growing together.

 Achieving Financial Harmony and Parenting Alignment

We don’t just work through issues and problems. There are also enjoyable things that we get to work through like goals. 

A great example over multiple years have been our finances and parenting. We’ve been able to achieve better financial harmony and parenting alignment. We are unified on what we want our finances to be like and it’s almost never something that we argue about anymore because we’re on the same page.  Similarly parenting has been a big source of conflict in the past. Over the years, we have steadily improved to the point where this year, we didn’t even feel the need to discuss it. 

The retreat’s transformative influence on these aspects of our lives reinforces the incredible value of this experience in strengthening our bond and fostering growth as a couple and as parents.

Strengthening Unity: The Year-Round Impact of Marriage Retreat Weekends

Throughout the years, one invaluable benefit of attending marriage retreat weekends has been the profound sense of unity we achieve, even on topics that once divided us. When a couple experiences division, its effects can permeate various aspects of life – from physical and emotional well-being to spirituality, parenting, finances, and home management. However, through the retreat’s guidance, we find ourselves united on these challenging subjects, and this unity continues to reverberate throughout the entire year.

As we embark on each retreat, we refine our approach and understanding, steadily improving the way we handle these discussions. With time and experience, we have grown as a couple, gaining deeper insights into each other’s perspectives, ensuring a harmonious journey through the following year, no matter what challenges or joys may come our way.

Enhancing Financial Harmony: Our Weekly Commitment

Our biggest goal was to establish a consistent financial meeting once a week, tracking our finances and ensuring we have at least three to four meetings per month. We understand that life can be busy, so we allow ourselves some grace and may skip a week occasionally. However, we’ve realized that many of our problems arise from not fully following this system we’ve put in place.

The system is solid and has worked well for us. However, when we don’t stick to it diligently, things can become disorganized and challenging. Moving forward, our commitment is to be more dedicated to following the system. This will lead to smoother financial management and a happier partnership.

Implementing Effective Communication Strategies: Our Commitment Statements

During the retreat, we recognized the importance of honing communication skills by focusing on specific techniques, not broad goals. We established commitment statements that outlined the actions we would take to ensure effective communication between us.

One of these commitments was to use language cues – a simple yet powerful tool to stay engaged during conversations. For instance, Blaine would actively listen to me and then repeat back what I shared to ensure understanding and validation. This practice not only helps him stay focused but also lets me know that my thoughts are heard and valued. It’s a game-changer for our communication dynamics.

Each couple’s journey is unique, and the topics and action items you need to work on will vary. What matters is finding the techniques that work best for you and your spouse. By diligently implementing our commitment statements and embracing language cues, we believe we can achieve stronger and more meaningful communication in our marriage.

Overcoming Challenges: Making Time for Relationship Enrichment

We understand that the decision to embark on this experience might seem challenging for some. Especially for those with children or family commitments, finding the time and space for a retreat can be daunting. However, we can attest to the incredible benefits of investing in our relationship through these dedicated moments.

Whether you bring kids along or opt for a kid-free getaway, set aside intentional days to work on essential aspects of your marriage. Committing to this practice annually can yield lasting love and growth in ways you might never have imagined. So, take that leap of faith and watch your relationship blossom year after year. Just do it – you won’t regret it!

Looking For Ways to Support a Healthy Marriage and a Community to Support You?

No need to wait for the marriage retreat weekend to start being more intentional in your relationship and home. Achieve a healthier marriage in one hour a week with a simple system called the Sunday Sit Down.

I would love for you to share your wins and creative marriage retreat ideas in our FREE Facebook community. For more on intentionally managing your time and home, check out Chelsijo.co/SYL. If you enjoyed today’s content, it’s a great resource.

My sincere wish is for you to be inspired to go on your own marriage retreat weekend. Utilize the insights gained to transform your marriage from disconnection to an enriching and open bond.

marriage retreat weekend chelsijo

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any resources to assist me in effectively managing my time, allowing me to be more intentional in nurturing my relationship?

I sure do! Please check out my free time blocking workbook to learn my 5 block time blocking method.

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