Sunday, November 24, 2013

Our first Marriage Retreat and 9 years of Marriage

This past October 23, my husband and I celebrated 9 years of being married. I'll tell you one thing, it certainly doesn't feel like 9 years! I would like to report that we have had a blissful marriage with exchanges of "I love you more, no I love YOU more's" and living the American dream happily ever after, but I would be lying. Just to give you an idea, I was 20 when I married, he was 24 and we fought most of our honeymoon and worked with each other in the same office for the first two years which did more damage to our relationship than I had ever anticipated. We both are born again Christians and don't believe in divorce so I became scared that we had made a mistake and I was doomed to an unhappy marriage for the rest of our waking lives. But thankfully since we have our faith, God has seen us through some tough times in our marriage, including losing our home to the recession, forcing us to short-sale. God has done a work in ME especially, showing me and teaching me so much about the true meaning of love and HOW to love. We have watched many marriages crumble around us, including my own parents. In the midst of it all, we have fought harder to make our marriage work all the more and have kept Christ at the very foundation. Without Him, it could have NEVER survived. We are blessed with our two beautiful children, and I am privileged to be a homemaker, not out of an abundance of financial blessings, but quite the opposite. It required great sacrifice to have me home and we continue to sacrifice every day to make it happen, but I am most certainly where God wants me to be, and that's all it takes for me.

Many people I talk to in the middle of a divorce say things like "we fell out of love," or "it's better for the kids not to see us fighting so much," or "there's nothing I can do because they don't want to work it out" and pick up the phone and hit up the lawyer on speed dial in some cases. It breaks my heart that we as a society have really put marriage down the list of things worth fighting for and replaced it with our careers, children, and happiness. Let me tell you this now, marriage is ALWAYS worth fighting for!! think about it, you CHOSE this person to be yours forever!! When you said your vows, you vowed to love in good times and BAD. Don't sit there and tell me it's not worth it! Every marriage will have trouble, hard times, and dry spells. Love is a CHOICE, and ACTION, not a feeling! Granted, there are different situations in every marriage but my point is that everyone needs to know that marriage is sacred, invented by our loving God and designed to be heaven on earth, please don't be willing to give up so easily! If you must go down, go down swinging!

OK, now that your eyelids have just about glued shut from reading so much, let me get to the fun part of this post. Because of finances, we weren't able to plan anything special for our anniversary, not even going out for dinner. Our church does this retreat every year and starts sign ups in the summer and takes payment plans to pay off this trip, so thankfully with the Lord's provision, we were able to attend our very FIRST marriage retreat this year! The location: The Hyatt Regency Resort Hotel in Newport Beach, California. This just might have been the all around best hotel we have stayed at from the rooms, to the service, to the location, everything was gorgeous!
This was the view outside of our room. We were overlooking a golf course and a volleyball court. We had our own little balcony and the room had a king size bed with modern fixtures, art, everything!
they had this beautiful, textured, taupe colored wallpaper on an accent wall and the side table lamps were big and stunning.
this was just a small part of the lobby (right before the bar area) and just beyond that, the patio lounge area with fire-pits, throws, cage swings and sofas.

they had touches of seaglass and turquoise and aquas throughout the hotel. I had no idea why I was so attracted to any of it (heavy on the sarcasm, hehe).
This was upon our arrival while we were waiting for our room to be ready.
What?! This IS just the essentials for the weekend!!
I was so in love with this wingback chair!
This was my outfit for the next morning, my most favorite dress!!
Ready for our next session and a day of fun!

I have never been to "Fashion Isalnd," and had truthfully, only recently even heard about it. Its like an outdoor shopping mall and has lots of restaurants and cafes. So we had a whole bunch of free time so we went on over and walked around before lunch.
Just a random coi fish pond for shoppers enjoyment and delight.
Ok, I got to tell you about this because we were blown away! Here, you can see that my handsome hubby has a pair of chopsticks in his hands because we decided to eat at P.F. Changs for lunch. Well, we were in a bit of a financial pinch and the only reason we chose to eat here was because we happened to have a gift card for it. I had only eaten there once before and I didn't remember too much about how it all worked so I mentioned to our waitress that it was my husband's first time there (which it was), and that I had only been once so she said that since it was our first time the manager would meet us at the end of our meal with a little something special for us. We were delighted, thinking we were going to get dessert or something. Well, after excellent service and DELICIOUS food, out comes the manager and welcomes us and hands us each an envelope thanking us for coming and in each of our envelope was a $10 gift card! Our meal ended up being completely FREE!! Can you believe that?? What a blessing! Tell me that wasn't the Lord's provision!! God is good people, God is GOOD!
This was our last evening there and we were blessed with a Christian comedian who had us in stitches and rolling in the isles by the name of Carlos Oscar. He has his own show in Las Vegas and is insanely funny!
Their bathrooms were immaculate and had huge full-length mirrors in each of them to help you making sure you always look good from head to toe ;)

We were so incredibly refreshed and blessed by this that we decided that we had to do this every year, God willing! If that means it would be the single and only trip we take each year, its worth every penny! It gave us the chance to re-kindle the flame and enjoy and invest valuable time into our marriage relationship away from the chaos of everyday demands. INVEST in your marriage!! It's always worth it and never returns void! Keep your spouse FIRST, and their needs above your own, and you will see miracles happen!

"The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flash; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." -Gen. 2:22-24