The “Real” Benefits Of A Couple's Retreat

BY: - 7 May '12 | Marriage

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Okay, I should be completely honest, my husband and I are a touch overdue for a retreat.

It has been some time since we experienced a spiritual weekend getaway with other couples, but nevertheless we still hold on to many of the lessons learned in our last one. We anxiously look forward to participating in another one in the very near future.

For me, the “idea” of the retreat itself creates particular emotions and expectations, which can strengthen the relationship before the couple ever arrives to the destination. Every action leading a couple toward this type of experience has already created a desire for healing in a relationship.

The moment a couple learns of the retreat can easily become the very beginning of a marriage-altering discovery. Whether the event is facilitated through the couple’s church or if someone else who cares about the marriage shares the details, the information is planted, stored and up to the couple to use or not. Usually there is one person in the marriage who is more excited than the other and that’s just fine. More than likely that has been the situation with other areas of the partnership as well. The beautiful piece here is that even though the other person isn’t as excited, they are still willing to participate because it will gratify their partner. What a true definition of sacrifice. This sacrifice, again, is only the beginning. Through every phase of this process there is an opening for transformation.

Let’s examine it even further.

Once a unanimous decision is made and both partners are willing to attend, it’s time to register for the event. At this point various emotions are surfacing, ranging from excitement to doubt and fear. Couples aren’t sure exactly what to expect so the situation seems a little frightening. The significance is both individuals agreed the relationship may perhaps benefit from this type of activity.

Next is planning and re-arranging schedules to create time to focus on the marriage in this way. Scheduling babysitters and making other arrangements allows others to witness the serious commitments a couple is willing to make for the health of the marriage.

Preparation and packing immediately follow. As couples decide what to bring, they are looking for items to make them the most comfortable. The whole time they are picturing themselves participating, which means they are already open to trying the new ideas that will be presented.

After planning and packing, the couple is on the road to the retreat. This alone time allows the couple an opportunity to converse and discover the other’s anticipation about the event ahead. It should be used wisely.

As the couple enters the retreat and notice the other couples in attendance, a sense of unity is created as this becomes a great opportunity to feel even further connected. Observing the connections of other couples can stir up certain feelings and desires for one’s own marriage. Either they will witness more of what they do wish for in their relationship or what they desire to have less of.

Once the retreat officially begins, and most of us don’t even realize it, we have already connected with our spouse on so many levels. The retreat itself actually becomes the icing on the cake. From eye opening exercises and reflections, to realizing we aren’t the only couple experiencing certain challenges, allows us the opportunity to leave with more than we ever imagined.

We receive immense reward from the actual retreat itself, but I advise not to miss the blessings and benefits that occur before. The message not to be forgotten is that both people were willing to stretch that extra mile to gain further insight about one another and collect new ideas on building up a marriage.

Do you and your spouse regularly attend marriage retreats? What is your favorite part?  

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 530 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com

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  • Adrienne

    My husband and I went on our first one last year (we’ve been married 15 years) and it was AWESOME! We are now looking forward to going every year it’s offered. I HIGHLY suggest them. When we got back we told EVERYONE at our church who had not been that they NEEDED to go. It was SUPERB. I think my favorite part was the question and answer section. Everyone put a question in a box at registration and they read the question aloud and each couple chimed in. It was priceless information. Some of the couples had been married up to 51 years and some only one year so it was something in it for everyone.

    • Shamona J.

      What is the name of the company or who is the the retreat thrown by that you and your husband attended? I am highly interested in going. Our marriage is in desperate need of resuscitation.

      • http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/blog/ Mike

        Hi Shamona! We would love for you to explore The Heart Of Marriage Retreat this September in Atlanta. http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com

  • Tiya

    Adrienne,

    Thank you for your comment. Retreats are absolutely amazing. Did you find any benefits or opportunities before you and your husband arrived at the retreat?

  • Cherrell Jones

    This is good to hear. We have been looking for a retreat to attend and I googled them. I found out this may not be a good idea since there are different faiths. any suggestions of good Christian (the ones that believe in Jesu s as Christ) ones within this year?

  • Ronnie_bmwk

    We’re looking for a good one to attend this year!! Thanks for this post Tiya.

    • Tiya

      Thanks Ronnie. We know a beautiful Christian couple who host a marriage retreat in the Atlanta area, I will make sure to send you the info.

      • Brittany

        Hi Could you please send me the info for the retreat also? I am in the Atlanta area?
        Thanks!

        • Onisa

          Hello,
          Could you please send me the info for the retreat as well?

    • http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/blog/ Mike

      Ronnie, We would love for you to explore The Heart Of Marriage Retreat this September in Atlanta. http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com

  • Mikka

    Wow!!! Love that one, I have always wanted to go on something like that but I never even heard about anything like that in my area. Also me & a friend were discussing how many churches here doesn’t have a marriage ministry which I think would be very nice to attend.

  • Tiya

    The retreat I mentioned, which is held in Atlanta, will take place in February. Here is the website for the other great events that have upcoming
    http://www.ydministries.com/

  • http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/blog/ Mike

    Loved this blog because it articulated so well the feelings and emotions of a retreat attendee. If you’re looking for a christian based marriage retreat targeting African American couples, we invite you to “The Heart Of Marriage Retreat: The Passionate Oursuit Of Oneness Through All Seasons” http://www.HeartOfMarriageRetreat.com

  • Diane

    My husband of 6 years decides to move out a go back to his parents extra home he keeps saying he is not feeling the marriage but keeps coming back home. This is his 4 time doing this its like a cycle that happens . He had an affair, I forgave him while he was living outside the home, he comes back home to spend time with me and loving, apologetic tells me how he appreciates me being there for him …but remains at his mothers extra home his sister has moved into the extra home also and all they do is fight and argue over bills. He admitted how frustrated he is and unhappy with his living arrangements but stated that he is unsure if he wants to move back home with me. I am so confused as he still has a key to our home and comes home to rest after work , I cook and still treat him with love when he comes. I have been praying fasting and am so, so tired of this ..I don;t know what to do . I love my husband and have no desire to redate, and start over ..to exhausting…I feel discourage , distress, depressed, mentally draining.

How Often Should You Forgive Your Spouse?

BY: - 8 May '12 | Marriage

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The phrase “I will forgive, but I will not forget” has always baffled me. I wonder what’s the point of forgiving if we are still holding on to whatever that thing is. And not only do most people still hold on to it, they bring it up using it as ammunition on the person they claim to have forgiven. Quite naturally, the healing process is immediately halted whenever this happens.

The strange thing about marriage is that in consists of two imperfect people. With that type of dynamic mistakes are bound to be made, multiple mistakes at that. One partner is going to disappoint the other. Hurtful words will be spoken, careless actions will take place all leaving someone with the tough decision of how to forgive and move forward. The fact we entered into a sacred covenant with our spouse doesn’t make it any easier for us. Forgiveness can be extremely powerful. It has the ability to destroy our unions on the one hand or build us up on the other. We, each individual in the marriage, have control over the affect it has. It is even a bigger challenge when we feel our mates make the same errors over and over again. We are less likely to forgive in this case.

The reality is, unfortunately, sometimes the people we love are going to wound us. For the most part, it will be unintentional, which doesn’t make it hurt any less. But once we reflect back, we usually come to the conclusion that if our partner had it to do over again, they would have made another choice. If forgiveness stands a chance, several things have to occur.

  • First, the spouse who made the mistake has to ask for forgiveness. If this spouse doesn’t take full responsibility for their error in judgment the couple will struggle with moving forward. How can a person forgive someone not asking to be forgiven?
  • Next, the injured party must determine what they need to know, hear and feel to assist them with the process of forgiveness. Certain questions may need to be answered in order to better understand how this lapse in reasoning occurred in the first place. Then a determination must be made as to whether or not moving forward is an option.
  • After it is agreed that moving forward is the goal a real grown-up conversation has to occur. Both partners must be willing to open up, listen and offer ideas on how to improve. Learning the others communication style and understanding their thought process when it comes to making decisions is something a lot of couples fail to do. Our expectations must be clearly defined in the beginning of the marriage; this will leave little room for misinterpretation. We typically think our partners should react the way we would in every situation and that isn’t realistic. Being able to reframe each situation and look at it from our spouse’s point of view also has a huge impact.

Whether our spouse makes many tiny mistakes or one large one during our marriage, how we decide to forgive will be up to us. We can decide to store them up for later use or we can choose to address, forgive and keep the peace in our home. Forgiveness is a reward and a loving and supportive spouse is always worthy of receiving such a gift.

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 530 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com

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