A bit of the backstory to SUSTAIN Marriage Retreat:
Garrett and I are huge fans of each other of course and are always looking for ways to collaborate, offer support, and participate in each other’s individual worlds. We often make the joke that we are both in the business of marriage but on different ends of the spectrum. Garrett captures the beautiful and vastly significant beginning of couples’ journeys as a married couple, and I will more and more, have the privilege of meeting couples in a time of need, crisis, turmoil, grief, or in times where they recognize they need a bit of encouragement.
A couple years ago, sitting at a bayside restaurant here in San Diego, we threw out the wild idea to each other,
“What if we hosted retreats or something like that?” I could provide some marriage education and content based on therapeutic training and practice, and Garrett could provide an amazing professional photo session for each couple. “But wow, that sounds like a big undertaking. Would people even be interested?”
Several months later, maybe even about a year or so after, the dream had not gone away. We felt the pull on our hearts to make this happen but did not have thorough clarity on the when, the where, the how. We were at happy hour at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, just brainstorming and letting our intended purpose and values swirl around in our minds and the air of conversation between us.
Garrett got up to use the restroom and a middle-aged woman who sat by herself at the table next to us, and who I had noticed look over and smile to herself from time to time, leaned over to talk to me,
“Excuse me, so sorry to interrupt but I have been watching you two and listening in here and there. The moments and laughter you are sharing just seem so sweet. It is clear you have fun with each other and that your relationship is very dear.”
“Wow, thank you so much. What a kind and generous compliment.”
“My husband and I would come here all the time, and looking at you two reminds me of so many moments between him and me….” Tears fill her eyes. “He passed away just two weeks ago. This is the first time I have been here without him.” Her gaze drifts, I imagine she is briefly lost in some magical memories with her recently deceased love….”So sorry to be a burden on your evening, I will let you two get on with your night. Just be good to each other, enjoy every single bit of it.”
Garrett had returned mid-conversation, he listened without interruption as he too noticed the kind woman’s raw emotion. We expressed our sentiments and gratitude as best we would and I grabbed the woman’s hands squeezing them tight. “Please know, you have not been a burden. We will sincerely be praying for you and we are sincerely grateful to have met you.”
We proceeded to return to our conversation, however, were now determined that our dream was important to chase. Marriage matters and it is beautiful. It should be enjoyed, “every single bit of it.” But to do so, it must be cultivated, nourished, chosen, SUSTAINED. We believe this comes with intention. Most don’t “fall into” a thriving, easy, or perfect marriage. It requires small and big choices along the way, investment, time, energy, and stubborn commitment to each other. In the day to day busyness of life, these types of choices can, unfortunately, fall by the wayside. SUSTAIN marriage retreat is aimed at creating space where the only distraction is each other, so the choices flow easily and you and your partner can breathe, rest, “be good to each other,” and explore a beautiful city full of light, love, and really freaking good food.
We hope you take some time to consider joining us at SUSTAIN Marriage Retreat. Stay tuned as more info will be available tomorrow here on the blog!