A Couples’ Retreat is NOT the same as a Lovers’ Getaway

February chills us to the bone. If the groundhog sees his shadow, we’re in for another six weeks of winter. I was ready for summer three months ago.

Spending time away from home with your significant other sounds like a cozy arrangement. You can leave behind all the household projects staring you in the face. Staying in a fancy chalet should be a great time.

When I think of spending time away with my husband, I’m thinking about long walks holding hands. Cuddling up together to watch romantic comedies on a tiny screen in our private room.

Sleeping late followed by in-room exercise that’s guaranteed to work up an appetite is on the schedule. Follow this up with breakfast and coffee and sharing a hot shower. Sounds pretty awesome so far, right?

Except – just like last February – my husband and I aren’t vacationing alone. We’re heading over Mt. Hood with five other couples to invest in strengthening our marriage.

Let me tell you, Couples’ Retreat is NOT synonymous with Lovers’ Getaway.

First of all, there will be no private room. We share the three-bedroom chalet with two other couples. One of them we don’t even know that well.

But I feel bad for them because they are young – and have only been married five months. This non-getaway must be cramping their style much more than it is mine.

After breakfasting around the log-cabin-style table, we all prepare to meet the day. First on the schedule is a team-building activity. Team meaning a married couple.

Lunch hits the spot. Who knew Central Oregon could chill a person to the bone in February? Oh, right. Me. I’m the one who reserved this place for the retreat.

On to a communication activity – or three. This is where my nearly-idyllic marriage falls short. Hubby and I have forgotten how to listen to each other. We think we know each other so well that we zone out during conversation.

Now we’re forced to confront these poor habits head-on. And discuss ways to improve our communication skills. I look around the room and wonder how forthright these couples are being in this group setting.

Now it’s time for the retreat to begin. “From ordinary to extraordinary” this presenter has called his four workshop sessions.

If I can’t have a lovers’ getaway, maybe I can learn how to communicate with my husband again. When did I stop listening to him? Sometime during those three years I worked full-time and went to college for the rest of my waking hours.

The retreat ends with a dress-up dinner out at a local restaurant. It’s a six-tuple date.

Maybe not romantic, but we all know marriage is hardly about the romance.

Would you choose a couples’ retreat or a lovers’ getaway? What do you see as the major weakness in your long-term relationship?

7 thoughts on “A Couples’ Retreat is NOT the same as a Lovers’ Getaway”

  1. Ha! You are braver than I am. If my husband and I went to any kind of retreat, we’d end up yelling at each other. We’re both pig-headed and obstinate and we both feel like we are the first one’s to have to bend or listen to the other. There is a distance on a daily basis, but when the crises hit, we’re one unit, standing strong and together. We “wear” each other like old shoes: both of us we stink, our soles are worn, our laces broken, our tongues often slip and we have to pull them up and in more times than not. Looking at us, sometimes I wonder why one or the other of us didn’t throw the other out a long time ago. All I can say is that there is something wonderful about old shoes. They’re comfortable, they wear well. They’ve weathered many storms, lots of mud puddles and maybe even shrunk a bit, but they’re always there, tried and true. Sure I’d like to have the romance, the flowers, all the things that marriage SHOULD have. I get jealous when I see other women getting flowers for no reason. Their hubbies taking them on date nights for no reason. Seeing them getting spoiled when my other half rarely hugs me and says he loves me. But I’ll take that old shoe any day because, after 24 years, he’s still with me, protecting me, loving me in his weird little way, and more importantly, he accepts me for the way I am, and trust me, I have plenty of faults. To split up this pair of dirty, worn shoes would be heart-breaking, so I think we’ll just toodle along together, snapping and yelling, while knowing underneath it all, there’s not place else we’d rather be. And we don’t need a retreat to tell us that. 🙂

    1. Yeah, there was plenty of sniping from me on the trip down here – and our pastor and his wife were riding with us. There goes the illusion of me as a perfect person (HA, never existed) and us as the couple who never has spits or spats.
      I wouldn’t trade my husband for anything, but I think everyone can improve their relationship. And I want to do that. So here’s hoping we will listen to each other a little better – for these two days and beyond.

    1. Deborah-
      Yes, it has been a few years since I read The Five Love Languages, but I recall it was enlightening when I went through it. I’ve become a lazy listener – and same with my husband – but acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it, right?
      I prepared the activities for communicating yesterday and the dinner for the ten of us last night, so now I can relax and “do” nothing but soak in the teaching.

      1. I read it a few years back – I think it was part of the avalanche of marriage advice books that descended on us when we got engaged 🙂
        Acknowledging the problem, having the wills to fix it (and to fix dinner for ten on the side!) and hunting down good advice across the frozen wastes of Oregon – sounds like a recipe for success!

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