This past weekend we were up in Estes Park with some couples from White Fields for a marriage retreat we organized together with a couple other churches.
For Rosemary and I, this was our first time team-teaching together, and it was a great experience. We taught a session on the importance of Christian community and the local church for a healthy marriage.
In preparing for the retreat, our thought was to get away from the things which we don’t like about marriage retreats, such as:
- The awkward sex talk
- Going to a great location and then spending all of your time cooped up inside a building listening to lectures
- Brow-beating lectures about what you need to do “more and better”
I have been to marriage events in the past where instead of strengthening and encouraging marriages, the retreat seemed to only fuel existing discord and frustrations, so that on the car ride home the wife was saying: “Were you listening to what the speaker said? Those are all the things that I’m always telling you that you need to change and do better!” – and the husband saying: “Did you hear the part about how important it is to have sex even if you don’t feel like it? That’s what I’ve been telling you for years!” And both wonder why they spent $200 to get in a fight, when they were doing alright before the “retreat.”
Instead, our vision was to host a true retreat – and focus on the experience rather than a particular speaker. Our theme was connecting with God, your spouse and Christian community and our goal was to encourage, give some tools, biblical guidance and challenges, and create a setting where couples could be refreshed and reconnect with each other and spend time with other couples.
The retreat turned out even better than I had expected. Some great admin work was put in by the staff of Calvary Belmar in Lakewood. Brian Boehm of Trail Ridge Counseling taught one of the sessions and presented some great material that Rosemary and I will be looking at for weeks to come. Brian and his wife Nicole did a ton of work to make the retreat special and they deserve much of the credit for it being a success; they designed and led several key parts of the weekend.
If retreats are done right, they can be awesome experiences. We look forward to doing more of these in the future.