Guest Blog by romantic explorer Seyka Mejeur of www.ForGoodnessSeyks.com
For our anniversary weekend in 2018, my husband Brian and I logged offline, snuggled into a cabin nestled in the hills overlooking the ocean. This was not your typical romantic escape – instead, we decided to have a romantic weekend away to workshop our marriage.
Where we first learnt how to workshop our marriage over a weekend
We attended a marriage workshop Weekend to Remember when we were first married and one of the things that the speakers recommended was doing a “workshop weekend” to dig into any tough issues in your relationship. While we don’t have any scary or looming issues that we have to wrestle with because we’re continually communicating what is working and what needs adjustment, this weekend that is dedicated to workshopping and discussion allows us the emotional space and time to dig into what makes us passionate, how to best take care of each other, and how we want to design this relationship.
How we workshopped our marriage over a weekend away and how you can too
Our weekend together included creating an outline for a mission statement for our marriageot – describing our values, goals and plans for the next month, 5 years, 60 years and the time in between. Along with a lot of discussions, physical movement and healthy vegan food to keep our bodies happy, we enjoyed a fun evening of play to wrap it all together.
Some great components of our weekend included:
- A romantic getaway space.
- Planned, easy, healthy, vegan meals (we used Purple Carrot*), so that doesn’t take up much of our time while away.
- Structuring our time so that instead of just talking, there was always an intention of making the best of what we learnt over the weekend.
- Physical movement each day to keep bodies and minds happy.
- Common expectations about how we should use phones and how the way we use it impacts our relationship.
- Material for workshopping:
a. A workbook by Luke Nelson who provides terrific content on marriage coaching – this includes topics around communication, stress profiles, conflict resolution, finances, leisure, sex and affection, roles in the marriage, spirituality, marriage expectations, parenting, goals and more.
b. The structure for writing a mission statement for your marriage designed by Barrington Brennen, Counseling Psychologist.
c. Some material we did not use, but others might find useful:
i. How to Plan a Successful Marriage
ii. Marriage Goal Planning Worksheets
iii. Rescue Plan (sounds terrifying and not aligned with what we were looking for, but the advice was great for even the happiest marriages).
- Fun, relaxing, play time for after the workshopping time.
Why we workshop our marriage and recommend you do too
With great blessings come great responsibility. We plan to have a remarkable marriage and building something remarkable means putting in the love and energy that it deserves. So we approach our marriage with great respect, great joy, great intentions.
We treat so many other areas of our life with such importance; we figure that we should be doing at least that much with the most important relationship of our lives.
We find workshopping one’s marriage is an excellent form of marriage therapy and marriage therapy can be fun.
Brian and I love the marriage therapy that we have regularly. I know, this is a stigmatised topic, so it is embarrassing for me to tell the world, BUT we want to be sure to make that statement loud and clear so that we can hopefully give more people access to that tool. You do not have to be struggling in your marriage to have marriage therapy!
Marriage therapy is fun for us. We learn about each other, we gain great tools for dealing with tough topics that are sure to arise in close relationships, and we have a trained professional who can coach and guide us to having the most fulfilled relationship possible! Our therapy sessions are an hour, and we get to discuss one or two topics.
In our relationship romance means intimacy in all aspects of life. We are vulnerable with each other, we talk openly about our fears and pains, we seek mentorship from couples we trust and admire for their marriages, we have a ridiculous amount of fun together, and we give our marriage time and intentionality so that it can thrive.
Here’s a quick list of some of the things we do to keep our marriage strong:
- Hold hands in public and in private
It feels great – releasing oxytocin and pulling the other person in emotionally.
- Always kiss goodbye and hello
Even when people are around. It might feel funny at first, but the feeling of having our connection be the most critical thing is empowering to both people in the relationship.
- Ask for hugs when we’re feeling off
- Walk together
- Sit next to each other at restaurant tables
Even when it is awkward and we have to shift the plates and utensils around to the other side of the table.
- Schedule date nights
We have “movie in” date nights, “dress up and go out” date nights, “long walk” date nights, and “foot rub” date nights. Each one nurtures a different part of our marriage and enhances the fun we’re having.
- Speak and write appreciation
It is so easy to get used to the remarkable things that your partner does. By taking extra special care to pause and consider to yourself what you appreciate about your partner, thanking them for it, and even writing it down can be hugely empowering ways of letting your partner know how valued they are.
Have you ever done a marriage workshop during a romantic weekend away? Does it sound like something you would love to do or would benefit from? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Guest author Seyka and her partner Brian travel the world and are focused on making the vegan lifestyle more accessible for people everywhere. Their website, www.ForGoodnessSeyks.com/blog states “Our goal is to change the world, for the sake of goodness. We want to make vegan, healthy and ethical options easier for people to understand and integrate into their lives. We are energetic, fun, kind, professionals who know how to bring wholehearted connection to the business side of life.” You can also find them on Instagram @ForgoodnessSeyks.
* Purple Carrot is a meal delivery service of completely vegan/plant-based foods ready to be prepared and cooked.