My wife and I go on a “Couple’s Commitment Retreat” every year, and I wanted to share how we do it.
Before I go any further, I want to stress the importance of the individual work needed in regards to personal balance before you even attempt to work together on your relationship balance and growth. No matter what you do together during this retreat, nothing will ever change until you are willing to change first.
In 2018, my wife and I decided that we needed a day where we could properly communicate with each other, free of all distractions, about all of the things we wanted to accomplish for ourselves, our marriage, and our family. So, we picked a day,* made the necessary arrangements for babysitters, packed small suitcases that included a “Nice Outfit For Later,” and we committed to the idea.
*We always plan our retreat before the New Year but there is no “RIGHT” time to plan this retreat. Just pick a day and go!
Before the day arrives, go to Staples and purchase:
- A post-it tabletop dry erase pad
- Markers and pens
- Two small notebooks
Step One (Check-In):
Once you are fully checked into your location, set the intentions for the day. It’s important to remember that your room is now a place of non-judgment and a place where the two of you can focus on self-reflection, inspiration, creativity, positive encouragement, and honesty.
Set those intentions at the beginning to avoid any awkward situations or arguments.
Example: When my wife and I first did this, she was afraid to be 100% honest with me about certain things in our relationship in fear of how I would react. Her actions were, of course, justified because I did have a tendency to defend my actions at all costs which turned into an argument that would last for a few days. So remember to listen, set the intentions, and make it a place of comfort for the both of you.
Step Two (Individual Commitments):
This is a time where each of you can find a place in the room and think about your Individual Commitments for the year to come. Set a time frame for completion so you can move into discussion and brainstorming. Bouncing ideas off each other is a great way to narrow your focus when deciding on your individual commitments. Be specific and remember that nothing is off-limits.
We use the word “Commitment” over the word “Goal” because most people will honor their Commitments and make excuses for their goals.
We decided to break up our individual goals into four categories:
Step Three (Work Together):
This is the time where trust and honestly will play a major role in the success or failure of your retreat. You have already set your individual visions and goals and now it’s time to focus on what you want to accomplish as a team.
Here are a few topics and suggestions that will help ignite the fire:
- Communication: Proper communication is a lost art when it comes to relationships. One of the many reasons why so many couples are unhappy is due to a lack of proper communication.
- Connection: What does it mean to have a strong connection with your partner? Couples tend to focus more on the physical connection within a relationship and overlook the importance of maintaining an emotional connection as well. So, ask yourselves: how can you have the best of both worlds?
- Combined Effort (Team-Work): At the beginning of every relationship, teamwork plays a large role in the couple’s growth and maturity. However, as relationships progress forward, the distance between them tends to drift further and further apart. Making the decision to include your partner and not exclude them is the missing puzzle piece in so many failed relationships. You are in this together… start acting like it!
- Commitment to Consistency: This one speaks for itself. Failure to follow this will lead you down a path of heartache, resentment, and pain. Stay committed to each other and maintain consistency. Patience is KEY.
Final Activity (Time):
If you’re anything like us, you have notes and ideas all over the wall and a newfound respect for each other. The only thing left to do is smile, put on the Nice Outfit we recommended you bring, and head to dinner. This part is all about spending time together, as a new and improved team, ready to conquer the world.
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Featured Image Credit: Toa Heftiba