Want a weekend getaway? I do. How’s your marriage? Mine could be better, too. A marriage retreat could be just the thing — if only you knew why and how to plan it.
Six kids and lot on my plate can cause me to lose focus on the important stuff in my marriage and family. If you think you’ve got it all under control for now, see my thoughts on How to Avoid the Parenting Blind Spots that plague us all. Maybe what you need is a relaxing and romantic weekend getaway with your spouse.
Not just a vacation, but a marriage retreat with a plan and a purpose.
Over the course of our fifteen years of marriage, we’ve learned a few simple truths why we need to make time for a marriage retreat. We’ve also learned how to plan it. I share them with you — with my wife’s permission, of course — in the hope that you may take your own marriage retreat soon to relax and transform your marriage in a weekend.
Why You Need a Marriage Retreat
Maybe you already get the need for a marriage retreat. Maybe not. Maybe you wish your spouse did. The rush of the 9 to 5, or more likely the 7 to 7, leaves little time to ask the simple question: “Are we going in the right direction?”
For many of us, life just happens without much of a plan. We stir from our relational slumber at key moments — birthdays, holidays, weddings, funerals, etc. Soon our kids are gone and we’re left wondering what happened and who is this person I married so long ago? Guys, I think we men are especially prone to the temptation to keep moving forward without stopping to ask for directions. Just saying.
Remember the classic adage: “Blessed is the man who aims at nothing for he will surely hit it.” Let’s not go that way. Let’s live our lives with a plan. Let’s get intentional about leaving a legacy we can be proud of. A relaxing weekend marriage retreat intentionally weeds out distractions so you can take control of your destiny and your family’s legacy.
You cannot change your destination overnight but you can change your direction overnight. ~ Jim Rohn
If you some of you hard-charging folks think relaxing is a sign of weakness, remember that even Jesus pulled his disciples away from the crowds to refocus their attention on the main things. The famed Sermon on the Mount seems, in fact, to have been a weekend retreat of sorts.
If you’re still not sure why you need a marriage retreat, ask your spouse. That should do the trick.
Get Over the Excuses
We’ve all got them — those reasons for not doing what we know we should do. Here are a few that I have heard or tried on myself to avoid a marriage retreat:
- Who has the time for a relaxing weekend? We all have time for what is important to us. Think about how you spent the last weekend. Which part of it was more important than the long-term success of your marriage and family? You’ve likely heard the saying: Come apart and rest awhile — before you just come apart! Please do — before it gets messy.
- We don’t need a marriage weekend. Our marriage is OK. If OK is the goal for your marriage, you may be right. But why settle for just “average” when your marriage could be transformed into a legacy-leaving, world-transforming, passionate relationship with eternal impact? Via John Maxwell in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential, consider this sobering passage:
“Average” is what failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not more successful.
“Average” is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you?
“Average” means being run-of-the-mill, mediocre, insignificant, and also-ran, a nonentity.
Being “average” is the lazy person’s cop-out; it’s lacking the guts to take a stand in life; it’s living by default.
Being “average” is to take up space for no purpose; to take the trip through life, but never to pay the fare; to return no interest for God’s investment in you.
Being “average” is to pas one’s life away with time, rather than to pass one’s time away with life; it’s to kill time, rather than to work it to death.
To be “average” is to be forgotten once you pass from this life. The successful are remembered for their contributions; the failures are remembered because they tried; but the “average.” the silent majority, is just forgotten.
To be “average” is to commit the greatest crime one can against one’s self, humanity, and one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this: “Here lies Mr. and Ms. Average — here lies the remains of what might have been, except for their belief that they were only “average.” ~ Edmund Gaudet
- We don’t have the money. Retreats don’t have to be expensive. They can cost no money if you want to get creative and plan them that way. It comes down once again to your priorities. Is your marriage important enough to take the time to transform it? Money follows our priorities and reveals them. (Matthew 6:21)
- Who will watch the kids? While childcare can seem like a legitimate barrier to a marriage retreat getaway, it doesn’t have to be. After all, who is likely to benefit most from you and your spouse getting intentional about your family plan and purpose? Your children. So get creative about child care. If you have an awesome mother-in-law — like I do — then you’re good. Your children’s grandparents can be a great place to look for help. Ask friends. Explain what you are doing and why and see if others don’t step up to help. If all else fails, ask your pastor or spiritual leaders for ideas. Or just drop them off at our place.
I don’t know about you, but I’m aiming for a little better than just “average” with our marriage. Now that we’ve covered why you should plan a marriage retreat, start transforming your marriage now by sending your spouse a link to this post — before another weekend gets here!
Next up: Explore Marriage Retreat: How to Plan a Weekend Getaway for practical tips on getting started.
Do you make regular marriage retreats part of your own plan for marriage success? What creative ways have you discovered for getting over the excuses? Leave a comment with your own tips and stories of marriage retreat successes — and failures.