It has been a REALLY amazing and a REALLY tough year for us. Trust me, it’s totally possible for them to coexist! We are learning firsthand the beauty in suffering, if you’ll allow it, to transform you. And while I’m not quite ready to share about some of the things we’ve been walking through, I will when it’s time and, honestly, some things may just never be shared on social media and that’s okay too.
But the smiling faces you see in the photo at the end of this post? They’re not fake or false or portraying something that isn’t true. They are real. Because amidst hardship, I feel more in love with and closer to Caleb than I ever have. While difficult life experiences will tempt and lure you to disconnect from your spouse, you can choose something different. We are choosing to communicate openly and honestly, face and embrace things instead of avoid them, and speak truth to one another even when it feels nearly impossible.
Going into this year, I am thankful for the foundation we had already built. And coming out of this year, I am thankful for the foundation we are continuing to build.
The CONNECT marriage retreat has played such a significant part in our marriage story and in helping learn how to build said foundation. Reflecting back on this year, I am seeing a few things CONNECT has done/continues to do for us each and every year:
- It allows us to get away from the distractions of everyday life and go to a place where our main/only goal is to intentionally connect with one another
- Through the speakers sharing their stories and experiences, we realize we are not alone. Their vulnerability and honesty — even in the hardest of the hard — shows us that we can be vulnerable and honest with one another and make it out stronger
- It has given us practical tools for how to communicate better, how to fight, how to resolve conflict, how to talk about sex/money/pornography/addiction, etc.
- Because of CONNECT, we have met some amazing people and made lifelong friendships. These people show up authentically in their mess and in their success, and it is truly a joy to walk alongside them as we all desire to not only grow in our marriages but in our personal/individual lives as well
It can be SO easy to “settle” for something less than what your heart desires when it comes to the marriage relationship. We still see ourselves doing it all the time. Thinking, “this is good enough” or “it’s not that bad” when really, our heart is longing for more — more intimacy, more honesty, more depth, more understanding. It is HARD work to get more and it is daily work. But truly, it is so worth. Sure, there are lots of moments when I convince myself it’s not worth the work, but when I step back, I can see that it is and I feel excited. I feel full of anticipation while I also feel at peace.
Thank you Caleb for fighting for me, for us, and for YOURSELF. We are two broken people and our lives can be messy but I know you know, the mess has brought so much healing and beauty to our lives. And there is so much more to come. It is an honor — I mean that with all that I am — to walk by your side through it all. You are a man of such great value and worth. I love you and I want to keep choosing you every day for the rest of my life.
If you are interested in learning more about the CONNECT marriage retreat, you can find that info on the website here. Sign ups for next year’s retreat have already begun! If you have any questions for us specifically about it, please don’t hesitate to email at firstname.lastname@example.org.