A few weeks ago Beau and I were able to travel back to Rome, GA (just outside of Atlanta) For Connect Retreat 2017. A marriage retreat for couples in business. This was our second year attending the conference and once again it was exactly what we needed at this time in our lives!
We feel really strongly about working hard at our marriage. Both Beau and I are constantly looking for ways to improve, grow stronger together, and create a wonderful home to raise our family in. Which is why we think its really important to invest in our marriage.
For us that doesn't just mean going on a trip without the kiddo, or spending some "quality" date nights together once a week. It means that we spend the time, and money to go and learn more about how we can grow a stronger marriage. And this retreat is the perfect place for us!
There are tons of books, podcasts, workshops, retreats, seminars, conference, etc. all geared towards helping people in their marriages. The Connect Retreat is special to us, because we are surrounded by so many people who know exactly what its like to live the life that we do.
Beau and I consider our life to be a little out of the norm. Most couples work separately from their homes, spending multiple hours a day away from each other. They come home, work is left at the office, and they have the weekends off. Our life is not like that at all! Beau and I work together from our spare bedroom ("office") in our house. We are basically together 24/7 - unless we have shoots or projects we are working on solo. We split time between the office occasionally, but for the most part its working side by side pretty much everyday. We also don't typically have a "weekend" like everyone else does. We shoot weddings on Saturdays and sometimes Fridays. So for us, finding a balance between "work" and "Family" has been a bit difficult. Its hard for us to draw the line between where it starts and where it stops.
Which is why we love Connect. Its a place for us to be surrounded by people who are doing the exact same thing we are. People who have figured out things that work for them, and the things that don't and they are open and honest about the triumphs and struggles that they share. Its a place that we have cultivated some of the best friendships that we could ever imagine. We have been able to surround ourselves with friends who are fighting for us. They are fighting for our marriage, and our business and they want to see us succeed. Just like we want to see them succeed!
A little backstory. When Beau and I went to Connect 2016 we were in a little bit of a Rocky place. Nothing major, but we just seemed to be clashing on so many things. We felt really out of sync. That week was exhausting, in the best way. We spent that time talking and connecting on a level that I never knew we could. We were able to open up and communicate with each other things that we had been afraid to share for a really long time. I am pretty sure we cried all day every single day that we were there. haha It was emotional to say the least, but looking back now it was so critical for our marriage at that time and I am so glad that we went.
Fast forward to Connect 2017, Beau and I felt stronger in our marriage than the previous year. We truly felt like we had moved out of that "winter" season that we had seemed to have been in, and we were excited to go to Connect and get to see our friends, and get to experience the wonderful Winshape Campus again. Due to some unforeseen family situations, the week before our trip it looked like we were maybe not going to be able to make it. But thankfully the day before we had to leave to go to the airport, we got it all worked out and made the trip! And I am so glad that we did! Connect 2017 was completely different for us than it was the year before. And it was exactly what WE needed. After talking to a few other couples and hearing about their experiences and what they took away from it, I realized that every single couple there was able to gain exactly what they needed in their marriage at this time, and it was all so different. That is the amazing thing about this conference, and that is the amazing thing about letting God into your marriages to help them grow and blossom. We haven't laughed as hard as we did at Connect in a long time. It was so important for Beau and I to get away and just have fun together. No agenda, no work, no stress about outside issues. Just me and my best friend getting to be together like we were when we first fell in love.
I realize this post is a jumbled mess of thoughts. I didn't really know what I was going to say about our time at Connect and I really just let my fingers start typing and ended up here! So I will leave you with this. Don't put off "investing" in your marriage until things are too tough to handle. Don't wait to take the time to work hard at your relationship, even if things seem to be perfect for you. Let God into your lives and into your marriage and let him show you what he can do when you put your faith in him. I am so glad that Beau and I have attended this retreat the last couple of years. Its made us work harder on the thing that is most precious to us. Its allowed us to build relationships with people that we never would have met otherwise. And its helped us to grow a closer bond with our Father in Heaven together as husband and wife!
If you want to know more about the Connect Retreat. Check it out here: http://connectretreat.com/