Because we believe that our marriages are a priority, every year, for the last 17 years, Lynn and Terri and Tami and I have set aside a couple of days to do a “Marriage Check-Up.”
It’s a time to get away, talk and pray, evaluate and work on areas of growth in our relationships. The topics can vary year to year, but we try to cover the basics: communication, conflict resolution, expectations and disappointments, money management, intimacy, stress and pressure, leisure time, family dynamics, extended family…etc.
Over the years we’ve used different materials to help launch discussion and help us get to heart issues.
Many people have asked us what we do and wonder if they could do the same thing - and our answer is always a resounding YES! Here are a few ideas we use- but you don’t have to do it the same way. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas on how you can start your own annual marriage retreat!
MARRIAGE CHECK UP:
1. We set aside 2 days to get away somewhere. We’ve gone to hotels, B&B, cabins, beach houses. We try to go off-season or mid week to save money. You can find friends to trade off babysitting.
2. We usually have a book, an article, or a chapter or two regarding marriage that we use as a springboard for discussion. We will read it the week before in order to give us time to reflect and evaluate. We come ready to discuss.
3. We intermingle fun and prayer and discussion. We will go out for a nice dinner, go to the movies, walk along the beach, go bike riding, stroll down a quaint downtown, antique shop, etc.
4. We set aside a large portion of each day to talk. One day it’s the Bairds turn and the next it’s the Boomsmas.
5. As we go over the material, we are sharing areas of grace and growth as well as areas where we struggle, where there’s conflict or need for change. Having another couple to talk with helps us get a different perspective and is such a benefit when we feel “stuck” in an issue.
6. We always start with prayer - thanking God for areas of grace and growth we’ve experienced and asking for grace to change and for humble and teachable hearts -willing to walk out His word in our lives and marriages. And, after we share, discuss, answer questions and work out issues, we also have an extended time to pray for one another asking God for help in areas of needed change.