This past weekend, my wife and I were able to attend the first annual Better Together Couples Retreat in Amarillo, Texas. The church we serve at had a small part in helping put on the event, but Arden Road Baptist was the church that did such an incredible job hosting the event with their facilities and their volunteer team. Even though I had a few responsibilities at the event, I walked away refreshed and revived. I was surprised at how badly my wife and I needed a couples retreat, and I was blessed by 3 specific ways the retreat ministered to our marriage.
No matter how long a couple has been married, they need these 3 things that a marriage retreat can provide.
“Just Us” Time
Shelby and I are still new to parenting (our daughter isn’t even a year old), but I am realizing more and more how difficult it can be to have quality time together with Natalie around. It takes a bit of planning and investment to ensure that we can have a couple hours together for a date night, but trying to arrange a night or two away from our kid has proven to be a really difficult task. As much as I love our little girl, it was so refreshing not to worry about hauling a Pack-and-Play and the many necessities to care for her on this out of town trip. Having this event on the calendar forced us to create time just for us.
One thing I really appreciated about the Better Together Retreat was that the schedule allowed couples to have the entire evening free to themselves on Friday night. Having free time, combined with time spent around God’s Word, is a great investment for any marriage.
But, on the other hand, if couples can get “just us” time by taking their own vacation, why should they attend a couples retreat? That’s where the next two benefits come into play.
Tailored Biblical Instruction
On a week-to-week basis, if a Pastor is trying to “feed the flock of God”, he won’t always have the opportunity to deal with topics related to marriage. On top of that, there are some marriage topics that are less appropriate to cover when a pastor is preaching to a mixed demographic. The Better Together Retreat featured breakout sessions that covered areas like conflict, communication, biblical roles, and even sexual intimacy. As married people, we need to be taught those things and reminded of some of principles that we’ve failed to obey. A couples retreat is also a great place for a husband and wife to respond to God’s Word together at the altar.
Fellowship with Other Christian Couples
This reason may sound strange when you consider that most good churches do everything they can to facilitate friendships between Christian couples. But just as my relationship with my wife is improved when kids are not around, fellowship with other couples is improved when neither has to worry about taking care of their children. Think about it, how often during your interaction with a couple, do they have to break the conversation to correct their child or look around them to find their child? A couples retreat is a great place for married Christians to strengthen friendships with other couples in their church or other churches.
Let me encourage you to make the effort to invest in your marriage by regularly attending a spiritual retreat with your spouse. If you’re within a couple hours of Amarillo, mark your calendar for next year’s Better Together Couples Retreat–November 2-3, 2018.