Monday, October 1, 2007

Marriage Enrichment

For our anniversary Josh's mom and dad gave us this thing called "marriage enrichment weekend" (for details see This was the weekend. We were to arrive Thursday night, and since Josh and I got there early enough, we hung out in the hotel room for the first little while. Went exploring, watched a little TV, sent some e-mails, just chilled. Then we went to the opening thing.

In the first meeting they said all the normal stuff, 'welcome, we're glad you're here, etc etc etc' and then told us we were there to focus on the marriage relationship and that they suggested that we remove our watches (they'd keep track of time for us), turn off our cell phones, not check our e-mails, not call home, not call work, no TV, no movies, no leaving the hotel to run to the store, just be there. Really really there. We all laughed and kinda got nervous for what they termed "marital prison" but did it anyway. From that point on we were busy the whole time. It was great. They taught us some really cool stuff, dialogueing (which I'll explain later), conflict resolution, communication, fair fighting rules, rating, how to involve Christ and have a Christ centered marriage, etc etc etc.

For me the biggest thing was dialogueing. They asked a question like "how do I feel about our marriage relationship now and what can I do to enrich it?" and then we went in separate rooms to write for 10 minutes. And you have to write the whole time. Then we'd have 10 minutes together to read each other's and talk about it. You read them twice, and then discuss. It was really cool. I'm always amazed by the things my husband thinks and I talk 20 million miles a minute so I hardly ever get to hear his side of anything. So, this dialogueing thing was really cool.

We talked to Josh's parents a little about it when we got back, and I loved what his dad said. It's like a mission, you can tell people it's awesome and highly recommend it and all that, but until you've gone and had the experience, you'll never know what it was like. That's exactly how I felt. It was amazing the things that we learned about each other, and about our relationship. We really had a great experience and I'm SOO glad that we were given the opportunity.

We joked while we were there that we are marriage professionals because it wasn't as hard for us as it was for a lot of other people, mostly because we are so inexperienced. We were the youngest ones there, and everybody else had kids. There were 2 other couples that had only been married about a year, but they were both second marriages for all parties. And they all had kids from previous marriages, so I felt like we were the newliest weds. We don't have years and years of junk and misconception and hurt feelings that needed to be taken care of, and we're still open and honest with each other. We have our moments, but for the most part, we're still young and dumb and in love. So, for us, it was cool to think that when all the hard times come and we're in the middle of hard times, we have the tools to work through it effectively. Now we just have to hope that we can remember to do just that. :)

They talked about the "love cycle" which goes from romance, to disillusionment, to joy, back to romance and around and around. That was cool mostly because it makes me feel good that it's normal to have a hard time every now and again, and that joy comes after it and it works out. We're still stuck in romance, and loving every minute of it, and hopefully our "disillusionment" phase won't be too hard or too long.

The whole weekend was great because we focused on "our relationship" the whole time, which is comforting and makes us both feel close. We also set some goals, most of ours have to do with spirituality, and I'm really looking forward to it. So far we're doing good, but this will be our first week back in reality, and hopefully we can remember what we learned and decided and do good.

Anyway, if anybody out there has a hard time with their marriage, or wants to learn some cool stuff for the hard times to come, or just thinks that there's a possibility that it could be better, I'd HIGHLY recommend this weekend. It really was incredible. And well worth it. Everything was taken care of for us, we didn't' have to worry about ANYTHING ever. We never had to "share with the class" and everything was about us and we only shared with each other. We learned a ton and had a great time. We did learn from other people's experiences because the "lead couples" (the ones putting on the whole thing) shared some really personal stuff from their lives, which was very touching. The whole weekend was just great, I really loved it and think it would work for ANYONE anywhere.

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