I’m a big advocate for marriage retreats and weekend getaways. I know sometimes it takes a miracle to make it happen, but it’s always worth it. Date nights are important, of course, but there’s just something extra special about setting aside an entire day or two (or more!) to spend solely with your spouse.
Logan and I have done this three times since kids came along, and I know to some people that will sound like a lot and to others it doesn’t sound like a lot at all. I have one friend who has a child with special medical needs and has accepted the fact that her and her husband are in a place right now where weekends away just can’t happen.
But for most of us, I think they certainly can happen. Sometimes it will take a lot of figuring out, perhaps a little bit of money, and maybe it will at first seem like it’s not worth all of the hassle to make it work.
And sometimes you will actually manage to get your husband to ask off work for an entire weekend, you’ll find babysitters, and book a marriage retreat…just to have a hurricane pop up out of nowhere and head straight for your area, causing the retreat to be cancelled 36 hours before it starts, and the hurricane will end up turning east and missing your state completely. (I really wish that was a hypothetical situation, but nope, definitely happened to us at the beginning of the month. Thanks for nothing, Hurricane Nate.) (We are thankful to be safe, of course, but MAN, it’s still frustrating, not knowing if we can make another retreat anytime soon.)
Once you actually do make it happen, though, you’ll understand why a weekend away with just the two of you is so important.
Logan and I have been on two marriage retreats in the last four years (and attempted to go on another one this month, which didn’t work out because of the hurricane), and both times have been so, so fruitful for our marriage and our family. Getting out of your house for an extended period together with zero distractions is something that I’ve found is extremely helpful in seeing your life more clearly.
The first time, I was pregnant with Chase, which was one of the hardest times of our marriage, and I can’t even adequately explain how much that weekend away was exactly what we needed at the time.
At the last retreat, when I was pregnant with Aaron (our youngest), we talked about many changes to make back at home. It was much easier to have certain conversations without worrying about cooking, cleaning, tending to the kids, etc.
Marriage retreats are wonderful, obviously, but sometimes the timing just doesn’t work out. So, I think the next best thing is an overnight date.
We did this two years ago because I just really wanted a fun weekend away with just Logan before we got pregnant again. Due to limited time and money, we only stayed at a hotel one night (and managed to get a great deal on a room thanks to Logan’s coworker), and kind of did a no-spend month beforehand so we could afford eating at a few restaurants.
That weekend getaway is a big reason why I wasn’t completely overwhelmed when I was staring at a positive pregnancy test less than 2 weeks later. Why yes, we did conceive a baby on that trip, because God is funny. It’s even funnier to think about how I vividly remember looking at my calendar to figure out a night that we could go, and that weekend was the only weekend that seemed feasible.
But anyways. When you have a bunch of kids running around (and even when you don’t), it’s hard to think about the fact that one day, it will just be you and your spouse. And if you don’t do what you need to do to foster that relationship with each other, you might find yourself as empty-nesters looking at each other like, Do I even know you? Why do we feel like strangers now that the kids are gone?
Our main responsibility now is raising our kids to know, to love, and to serve the Lord - but they’re going to be on their own before we know it. It’s way too easy to let your kids and housework take up all of your time which is exactly why getting out of the house is a great idea if you need some one-on-one time with your spouse. A change of scenery can be good for the soul too.
Last year on our marriage retreat!