Thomas is a sweetheart, and he came home early from work with gorgeous flowers for me on Friday to kick off the weekend. We then headed off together on a road trip to the beach.
We went in with few expectations and no ideas of what the retreat would be like. I am so, so glad that we decided to go. We left feeling inspired, touched, blissful, and more in love than ever before. I am so thankful we were able to spend an entire weekend together having intentional, intimate conversations.
From the moment we got there, we felt so welcomed by everyone. When we pulled into the parking lot, there were volunteers there to greet us and help us bring in our luggage. Everyone was so friendly, and we immediately felt comfortable and very excited about the weekend. They took a picture of us when we registered, and I of course had to be the one to ask if they would take one with my phone. Once we got inside, they told us to turn off our phones for the weekend (woops!). We shoved our phones into the bottom of our suitcase for the rest of the weekend, and I am really grateful they had us cut out all distractions because it enabled us to focus all of our attention on each other. However, I did snap a few pictures with my camera because the beach was gorgeous and Thomas was handsome. :)
This was unlike any retreat I have ever experienced. We learned a new way to write and verbally communicate our feelings with one another. After each presentation, we were given the opportunity to separately write love letters about our feelings. We then joined each other in our room to read and discuss what we had written. It was absolutely amazing to spend so much time becoming so vulnerable with one another to talk about our feelings, hopes, dreams, and fears. It was really satisfying to feel completely accepted and respected, and it was so nice to have the time to talk with each other as opposed to a group discussion.
We had a gorgeous view of the ocean from our room, which made for a very calm and peaceful setting for discussion.
There were so many things that left us feeling touched this weekend. We were inspired and encouraged by seeing so many other Christian couples around us seeking to improve their relationships, grow closer together, and closer to God. We were touched by the openness and honesty with which the presenters shared their feelings and experiences. We were touched by a conversation with a couple who has been married for 30 years. They greatly encouraged us in our walk of faith and told us at the end of the retreat how we impressed them and that they will be praying for us and our future family.
We were especially touched to receive a beautiful letter at the end of the retreat. We found out that there were couples who have been on the retreat in the past who were assigned to us as a prayer couple. This couple went on the retreat back in 1975, and we were truly touched by their kind words. I was astounded by the fact that they spent time offering up prayers, the rosary, and mass for us over the weekend, without even knowing us or anything about us. They had a special candle lit in their home to remind them to pray for us over the weekend.
The final mass was also very touching. When they told us we would be renewing our vows at the end of the weekend, I thought it might be kind of silly for us since we have only been married for a little over a year. However, after hearing so much over the weekend about how we need to make the decision every day to honor our marriage vows, it was the most emotionally moving part of the weekend for both of us. I felt so close to Thomas, and it seemed like we were the only ones in the room.
Thomas and I very highly and very strongly encourage married couples to consider going on the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. It really opened us up to a new form of communication, and we are looking forward to writing daily love letters in the notebooks they gave us and communicating on a deeper level everyday. The retreat is geared towards couples in all different walks of life. We met young couples, older couples, couples who have been married for three years and couples who have been married for over thirty years. The retreat is run by Catholic couples and priests, but we met both Catholics and other Christians. All were couples who wanted to transform their marriage from a good marriage to a wonderful marriage.
I am truly in awe of God's grace. He has blessed us abundantly in our marriage, and has given us so many wonderful opportunities throughout the beginning of our marriage. I see so much of his love through my marriage to Thomas, and as our love grew more this weekend, so did my love for God. We are so grateful for the gift of this weekend, and we truly hope that all couples can experience it. If you have any questions, please let us know and we'd be more than happy to talk to you about it! It is well worth the weekend away, and we know this will continue to affect us throughout our lifetime.
I just linked this up to a blog hop! Check it out! :)