Going Deep with your Spouse

Happy Spring, Chicks and Roosters! If you haven’t noticed, in the last few months we’ve added a lot of new faces around here. I’m so thrilled to officially welcome:

Susannah Scott, Jodi Linton, Alison Bliss, Kym Roberts, Naima Simone, Jerrie Alexander, and AJ Nuest!

All are sassy, awesome women, not to mention fabulous writers, so I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them!

I’m excited to take the mic today to share something that was a bit of a game changer for me. The first time my husband suggested we attend a marriage retreat I was like…

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What you talkin’ bout?

He totally threw me for a loop. I mean, why the hell would we do something like that? Our shit was already tight. We rarely argue and, honestly, I don’t know how I could have found a more perfectly imperfect match for my dysfunction personality.

The thing is, my man is patience personified. He calmly brought up this marriage retreat thing three years in a row, but I had always found a convenient excuse for us not to sign up. “We’re too busy,” I’d say. Or, “I don’t want to leave the kids for a weekend,” or “I’m already so happy with you, let’s just go on a date.”

In my mind, ‘those’ weekends were for other couples with some big ass issues.

woman kicking butt

I can assure you, this is not us.

Well, the day came last October when my sweet man approached me once again asking if I was interested in “investing in our marriage” at a retreat weekend. With a bad feeling in my gut, I knew I’d finally run out of get-out-of-jail-free cards. I mean, how could I turn him down yet again? So I ponied up, and he got us enrolled.

keep-calm-and-fuck-it-all-11

After that, I conveniently forgot about it until two weeks before the scheduled weekend. We started to get all these communications behooving us to leave our technology at home, get a hotel room even if we lived in town, come rested, yada yada, blah, blah, blah.

Whatever. I still had two weeks.

My girlfriends asked me what the weekend was all about, and I was like…

Hell if I know, girl!

Hell if I know, girl!

In the car on the way to the retreat, I reassured Mr. D that it wasn’t like we had to stay if we hated it. It’d only be $75 down the tubes. And dang, Tutti Fruitti would be a great stop on the way back home. He just smiled, parked the car, and took my hand so I wouldn’t bolt as we approached the welcome table.

There were three presenting/mentoring couples, one priest (this was a Catholic retreat), and thirteen lambs for slaughter retreat couples. Did I have a piss-poor attitude? Why yes, yes I did!

Was it warranted?

I don’t even know how to describe how intense and fun the weekend was. There was no group sharing (hallelujia!), just presentations to facilitate thoughts and offer constructive and effective tools for being vulnerable. After the presentations, the husbands and wives split up to write individually. After writing, we rejoined our spouse in a private room to dialogue on what we wrote.
Yes, people, this involved feelings. Lots and lots of FEELINGS. I may have cried by the end of the weekend (but only once, when they asked us to write a letter to our spouse as if we knew they were dying – OMFG).

Walls I didn’t even know I had came down, the fat lady sang, and Mr. D & I shared things with each other we haven’t in the fifteen years we’ve been together.

Whoa. Just…whoa.

What was it about the retreat that made it so amazing? Well, the mentoring couples kicked ass for sure, but of course, like anything, what you put into something is usually what you get back. After I dropped my bad attitude and got down and dirty with the process it was so freeing. Scary in some ways, too, but definitely liberating. The process gave us tools to talk about anything and everything.

What an investment in our relationship.

By the end of Sunday afternoon, I was feeling like Sammy on Supernatural…

Balls deep, motherfuckers!

And definitely a lot like Dean…

Have I ever told y’all that Dean Winchester is my TV husband?
I love him. LOVE. LOVELOVELOVE!

So the moral of this story is:

Don’t get your panties in a bunch when your man brings up weird shit.

Kidding!

Seriously, though, if you have the opportunity to attend one of ‘those’ weekends, I hope you do (and hopefully it’s as good as the one I went to, otherwise that sucks). The type of weekend I attended was put on by World Wide Marriage Encounter. We renewed our vows the final hour of the weekend.

Yeah, it was awesome.

In closing, I’ll leave you with a video that one of the organizing couples shared. It’s pretty funny in a Mars vs. Venus way:

So, what are your thoughts on marriage retreats? If you’ve attended one, what was your experience like? If you haven’t, would you ever?

Comments

  1. Loved this post, Misty! Especially the reversal of who initiated the marriage retreat. Mr. D. definitely has some swagger ;)

    I’ve never considered a marriage retreat, but Mr. S. and I do like to get away a few times a year, and you know, communicate without the din of our children drowning out our deep conversations. LOL

    • Rachael, you’re right about not having the distractions of your children. We decided not to get a hotel room since the retreat was in our city, but we had the kids spend the weekend with their aunt and uncle, so when we got home (which was pretty late anyway), we could still focus on each other. That really is key to going really deep with your spouse – having the time to really get into the process. I encourage you to check it out! :)

  2. OMG Misty! My hubby keeps trying to get me to attend one of these–but I just can’t do it. I know I will let an eye-roll slip too many things, drop the f-bomb when I trip and stub my toe, or when that one person who shares every emotion known to man keeps droning on, I’ll blurt out “Grow a pair already!”–cause that’s what I tell myself and my hubby, when we start complaining about the nail in our foreheads ;) Our kids get a cleaner version, but it’s still there. Hmmm, not sure I could do it. You’re a much nicer person than I am ;)

    • Kym, believe me, I was dead set against this. I *only* decided to do it because I knew my hubs really wanted to. There was no group sharing at the one we attended, other than one small segment at the end, and that was only if anyone wanted to. I think only two people did and it was like for 90 seconds. This was key for me, too, because I didn’t care about anyone else’s relationship (does that sound bitchy? lol), I just wanted to spend time with my man. And that’s what it was all about. The mentor couples gave their presentation (where they would share their personal stories to illustrate the process) and then couples would write individually. Then the couples would get back together — every couple had their own PRIVATE room — and talk.

      I really do encourage you to at least give a try for a couple of hours. Go into it telling your hubby that if you don’t like it after the first couple of hours, you can go home. That’s what I did. I’m really glad I finally checked it out because it was totally worth it!

    • Kym, I did the oh-so-attractive spit-laugh at your comment. You and I are soooo much alike!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Kym, that cracks me up!!! I think I’d be the same way and Mr. M. would just sit there sayin’ “I don’t get it…” Then he’d ask if I had a Ranger score….

  3. ajnuest says:

    I am so amazed by this post in so many ways. First, that your hubs would suggest the retreat. I can’t imagine that mine would EVER do that. LOL Not that I would either, but you get my drift. How cool is that!!!! I absolutely loved everything you wrote and even got a little teary eyed for a bit…which was quickly erased by that hilarious video. So true, so true. Thank you so much, Misty, for this reminder that while I’m working on all these various “relationships” I’ve got going in my head, I’ve also got one right here in front of me that deserves my best efforts to love and share. x

    • AJ, you are taking away exactly what I’d hoped – that relationships take investment. And the more we invest, the more fulfilling they are! As writers we spend so much time learning all we can about our characters, and in many ways it’s like the thrill of new love. But the retreat weekend reminded me that my man has changed and matured in the years we’ve been together, and that I need to pause from the busyness of everyday life and kids’ activities to remember how we used to be together – so engrossed in each other and hungry for every little detail that would help us understand each other better. xoxo

    • I loved that video, too, AJ! So funny! :)

  4. Ha!! I laughed all the way through this post! So funny, Misty! I have never been to one, but I have an open mind…unlike someone I know. Ahem. ;) So yeah, I’d definitely be up to the challenge. Sounds like a good time!

    And thanks again for welcoming me into such a great group of supportive, spunky women. You ladies are the best friends a girl could have! <3

  5. Emily Allen says:

    Great post!

  6. Oh my. The whole what if you were going to die letter… hurts just to think about! well done, XO S

    • Thank you! I know you’ve been there in real life, Susannah. Life altering stuff. I’m fortunate that I only had to imagine it, which was plenty awful!

  7. Misty,
    How great that your man asked you to do this. It shows his strong commitment to your marriage. To be honest, I’ve been married for over twenty-five years and had never thought of attending something like this. If hubby and I went, I’d have to lie to Mr. M and tell him we were going to a basketball retreat. LOL. Enjoyed the Mars Venus video!

  8. Chickswagger posts always make me chuckle.

  9. Josie Matthews says:

    Ok…Mr. D. just HAS to be cloned…handsome, intelligent, DEEP…What guy does that? His momma did you proud, girl!!!
    I’d LOVE to do one of these…Me and Mr. M. hit the marriage counselor once every few months (mostly for my crazy mental issues and how he needs to handle them) but it is SOOO eye opening when there is another person in the room doing the digging. We learn so much about each other! I love it that you were so resistant!!! There is that ‘thing’ called the Marraige Box running around facebook that is so meaningful. Your marriage really is an empty box if you don’t put something into it every day! I thnk alot of men (mr d not included in that!) based on intrinsic emotional depth, think you get married and just ‘live’ it. My man has to constantly be reminded to grow and work…and I have to say, he responds rather well when I cry and stomp my feet. But Im sure he see’s that nail in my head that I refuse to see…… Great post lovey!!!!

    • You crack me up, Josie! I think it was you who shared that marriage box with me on FB – I love that. You’re right about it needing to spend time on the relationship – things slide and grow stagnant when you don’t, that’s for sure. Glad you get Mr. M to the counselor with you – that’s definitely love for ya! xoxo

  10. naimasimone says:

    Okay, first…LMAOLMAOLMAOLMAOLMAOLMAO!!!!!
    The clips? I cried, yo! Freakin. Cried. Like Sammy. LOLOLOL!!

    Now. *wiping tears away* my church used to host annual couples retreats. We haven’t had one in the past three years, but the three years before that? For a week in June Mr. Simone and I could be found in a 15 room chateau in the mountains of Gatlinburg, TN. I’m not gonna lie. I loved them! We would all eat breakfast together, have 2 sessions in the morning, have a break-out session where the wives and husbands separated then maybe come back together or not–depending on how deep the discussions became. And sometimes they became deeeep. Like you, Misty, I slung snot a time or two. After lunch we’d have 2 more sessions and then have the rest of the afternoon and evenings to ourselves. It was intensive–the last one we called Marriage Bootcamp…not to be confused with the dysfunctional, Bridezilla tv show–cathartic, eye-opening, spiritual, encouraging, unifying…just wonderful. I miss them. It was a time to learn more about ourselves, our spouses, and reaffirm our marriages. And a week in Gatlinburg? Yeah, no hardship! So I totally get you on the marriage retreat thing! And Mr. D? High-five!! Here’s to the fab-u-lous husbands who put up with and love wives with dysfunction, er I mean, personality! LOLOLOL!!

    • Heehee! Glad you enjoyed the GIFs, woman! :)

      How awesome is that that you and Mr. S regularly went to retreats! Sounds like they were just as productive and soul-wringing as the one I experienced. “Unifying” was the word you used, and I think that’s about as perfect as any I can think of. And hells yes, here’s a return knuckle bump and hip chuck for our awesome husbands who live with us and all our shizz! xoxo

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