Friday, March 7, 2014

Marriage Retreat

Last week has been an incredible one for us and was a long time coming! 

I don't claim to have parenting advice since I've only been one for 9 1/2 months.  Saying that, here is one piece for those of you who are married with children, or planning a future including those things one day.  This is something that I've known all along, but now that we're parents it's quite valuable!

Keep your marriage and spouse your #1 priority under God!  

My husband comes first, and our children a close second.  Everything else is after them.

What good is it if you are super-hero, rock-star, "parent of the year", if you're failing to meet your spouses needs?  While some may think that is extreme, the truth is that my relationship with Heath lies so much of my little children's security.  

Please hear me.  This is not meant to be any sort of guilt-trip at all!!

I think we all go through times when our caring for our children overtakes our marriage, but I want to be intentional in taking it back.  Jesus Christ should be our family's cornerstone for us to not only survive -- but thrive together--and with His guidance, finding a balance is possible!  

Here are some reasons to carve out time for your marriage:

1. Our marriages need to be nurtured so that in turn we can set an example of what sacrificial, whole-hearted love looks like to our children, and hopefully they will love with the same passion in their own marriage one day.  

2. So we can be a team in parenting, and on the same page as we raise our children together.  It's hard to do when there isn't much communication flowing in a marriage, but it can be easier and fun to train children when you have a partner who will support you along the way!

3. We will be married --by the grace of God-- far longer than we will have children at home!  We need to water and tend to the relationship that was set in a covenant before God!  I want to go through the my entire life with my best friend being just that, even once we're empty nesters!

4. Those are just a few of the many reasons I want to keep our marriage so important in my life, but the most is probably because I love Heath soooo much and I simply miss him!  I miss the heart-connection during the chaotic, tiresome days that sometimes turn into weeks or months between his hectic work schedule and my full home life.  

I feel so thankful to the Lord that I married someone with whom I am so in love with, but we still need to put in an effort to make sure we don't over look one another.  We were at the point where Heath and I need time to focus primarily and solely on each other.  It had been several months.... Well honestly maybe years since we've had time like this together!  We're going to do our best to not let that happen again.

This week, our parents kept our little sweet peas so that Heath and I could have sort of a "stay-cation" at home.  This was actually a week of intentional-reconnection on a deep level, and while Heath did work during days, when he was home we made it all about each other and the other one's needs.  It was amazing!!  :)

Folks, you don't need to have the beach or a luxury hotel for this (although nice), if you need a time of refreshing with your spouse it can be done at home!!  We don't have family closer than 3 1/2 hours away, so that is one reason why we needed a chunk of time for this.  It's not like we have regular date nights right now, and so it was just easier in our case to make this retreat last few days.  Anywho, I wanted to share some pictures of the week.  I wanted to take more of each other since usually it's all about our children instead of ourselves.  Ha, I just can't take enough photos of our kids!! :)  I think they're the cutest things!

Let me share a few of the highlights of our week:

One night we watched a movie at home and made homemade popcorn.  Always so much fun!!! It snowed all afternoon and night, so it was awfully romantic to sit by the fire with my Love.

Another night, we decided to dress up and go out on a date to a really good restaurant we probably wouldn't take the kids to, at their age.  We wanted to try out something new together, and had so much fun!!

After all, food is our thing!  We have always connected over delicious, unique food and music!

We decided to go to a highly recommended restaurant in the heart of Louisville called, Eiderdown.  It was perfect!

The food is a Deep South interpretation on Bavarian (southern German) cuisine.  The food was down home and yet presented beautifully!  We ordered the German pretzel sticks with house made mustards... Highly recommend!  They were chewy and buttery.  

I ordered the roasted chicken on a bed of grits with collard greens and sausage and it came with a slice of crusty bread. -- shown here

Heath got the spaetzel with goat cheese and sausage.  Yum!!

Everything was divine... Even the coffee!

The atmosphere was cozy and romantic with a single flower on each table with a lit candle, and dim lighting by way of spotlights and chandelers.  It's located in an old inconspicuous building, but the inside is redone and still has exposed brick and original hardwoods in the main dining room.  Our kind of place!  We were seated at a two top by the window, and it was lovely.

The next night, I decided to make a nice candlelit dinner.  It's rare for me to go to such lengths for dinner anymore as a mommy, but since I enjoy showing my love through cooking, I knew a special dinner was in order for my man.

I got started too late on cooking the meal :( , so we had an evening dinner around 8:15.   Good thing Heath was fine with that, and was just so thankful for it at all.  I made an appetizer plate with sliced bread, assorted pickles, mustard, and cheese to munch on while it all cooked.  Yay, for improvising!

For the meal, we had a baguette of soft dark oatmeal bread and a crusty baguette.  The salad was a Bibb, strawberry and feta cheese salad.  I also added tomatoes and toasted walnuts with balsamic dressing.

Our entree was fall off the bone, braised short ribs with creamy Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  It turned out better than I had hoped!  They cooked low and slow in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours.  Both of these recipes come from the Pioneer Woman, and are relatively simple, but include good ingredients!

I'm not a "selfie" person unless it includes somebody else, but here I am in my bright pink coat about to go to Barnes and Noble to just browse the isles and read.  What a treat!

I snuck in a s'more cupcake at The Cheddar Box.  Did I mention, this was a week to splurge??!

Heath treated me to a surprise spa day on Thursday!!!  

I've never in my life had such a wonderful experience!  I left feeling like a goddess!  My body was so relaxed and refreshed, and my face was clean and illuminating.  Sigh... It was like a dream.  (Amazing... Especially for a girl who sometimes forgets to wash her face anymore.)

Honey, thank you with all of my heart!!!!

We also prayed together a lot, read in the Word, and just talked about our life, goals and shared our heart.  I love doing that with him!  I've never been so intentional with Heath, and I have loved it!  I absolutely love serving him, and listening to his ideals, concerns, prayer requests, and just whatever.  I'm constantly learning more about him.  We listened to music, he played guitar and we sang.  We did everything we have so been longing to do for a while, but never do.  

We slowed way down.  This literally hasn't happened in a very long time.  Life living away from family with a hubby in residency and two 3 year olds is usually fast paced, (but fun)!

What a sweet, loving, gracious heavenly Father I have.  He sure gives rest to the weary, and gives us our hearts desires!  Thanks to our parents for allowing us to nurture our marriage by keeping our kids, but I have a strong feeling that it was their pleasure!  I know the kids have had a big time!  I'm so glad they're getting time to really connect with our parents, too. 

I just had to share with you what God has done in our life this week.  I am walking with my life long love and friend, and we ride the waves together in every season that comes,  the calm and in the storm.  We have sure seen them all.  I want to invest time, effort, and love into him, even now that we have children.  He is no less important to me!

I truly want to date Heath forever!  I pray that as we place our marriage first, we're leaving a legacy of godly love to our children and for generations to come.  

Matt. 11:28
Phil. 3:19
Psalm 67:11
Eph. 5:22-28
Gen. 2:24



elizabeth said...

I'm so happy that you got to enjoy this wonderful time with your husband!

Julia Dickson said...

Lovely post, Leslie. I have some time off from work at the moment and I am so enjoying reading through your blog(s). Although my journey and season of life is different to yours, I am encouraged and inspired by your faith & testimony.
By the way - where did you get that fabulous pink coat from?? I love it!
Bless you & yours

Leslie said...

Hi Julia! I'm so glad you're reading through my blog! Today I wrote a new post at my sister blog--The Cozy Little Kitchen-- if you want an update on us. This Marriage Retreat post is particularly a dear one to me. :)
The coat was a Christmas gift from my hubby and it came from Gap. Thanks, I love it too! May God bless your day!