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Tips for Planning a Marriage Getaway Weekend

Getting Away to Get It Together

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It Keeps Getting Better

We have a great marriage.  Notice I didn’t use the word “perfect”–we definitely have our issues and have had a number of bumps along the way.

But the bottom line is that Mr. Native Texan and I both are fiercely committed to our marriage.  It’s been more than ten years since we said “I do” and we can honestly say that it keeps getting better.

We’re still each other’s favorite, and we’d rather be together than with anyone else.  For sure, we each have our issues, but both of us have grown and matured into much better versions of ourselves than would ever have been possible outside of this refining fire of an institution called marriage.

Read on for one of our favorite ways to stay connected during such a busy season of life…

Getaway 2013
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Spring 2013: Hiking at a local nature spot during one of our recent “Stay-cations”.

Stay Connected with Regular Getaway Weekends

One of the best ways we’ve found to stay connected during such a busy time of life is to schedule regular Marriage Getaway Weekends.

(Another important way to stay connected is a regular Date Night, which we’ve practiced on a weekly basis for many years now.  Maybe I’ll blog more about that some time…)

Our current goal is two getaway weekends per year.  Today I’d like to share a few resources and tips that have helped us plan and execute regular Marriage Getaway Weekends…

National Archives 2008
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Spring 2008: Getaway Weekend to D.C. while we still lived in Texas.

Tips for Planning a Marriage Getaway Weekend

1.  Make Getaway Weekends a Priority

  • Mark your calendar.

We schedule our getaway weekends on the calendar just as we do family vacations, holiday travel and special occasions.  Otherwise, life gets too busy and we never find just the right time to get away.

  • Save your pennies.

In the first half of our marriage, a getaway weekend felt like a luxury that we could barely afford.  Somehow, we always managed to put aside a bit of money to fund these weekends, because they were so important to us.  We also looked for great deals, traveled close to home, packed some of our own food and used restaurant coupons, etc.

San Antonio 2006
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San Antonio, Spring 2006: Our last Getaway Weekend before the birth of Older Brother. See the baby bump?

  • Stay at home.

One fantastic perk of our new location near Washington, D.C. is that there are so many things to do!  And we’re within driving distance of many other wonderful destinations.

For the past four years, at least one of our weekend getaways has actually been more like a “staycation.”  We jokingly refer to those as our “stay-aways”, which sounds funny when our goal is to be together.

Those “stay-away” weekends have been some of our very favorites–exploring all the fun places near our home that we’re unable to take advantage of during our normal lives as parents and what not.  An obvious plus from this arrangement is the cost factor–we don’t pay for lodging, travel or some of our meals.

Getaway 2012
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Spring 2012: Discovering a fun, gluten-free restaurant in D.C. on a “Stay-Away” weekend.

2.  Make a Good Plan

  • Four-Days, Minimum

The best case scenario is four days: one day to travel and get settled, two days to really focus on the getaway, and a fourth day for wrapping things up and return travel.  Of course, if you can plan for more than four days, it’s even better.

  • Varied Activities

We also vary our activities in a very intentional way.  Depending on the destination, we allow time for exploration, relaxation and communication–generally attempting to plan time for all three each day.  We make an effort not to overload the schedule with activity, keeping in mind that the main goal is to be together and to communicate about our marriage.

Naval Academy 2008
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Spring 2008: Naval Academy in Annapolis

3.  Plan for Communication

Most of our communication time tends to revolve around meals.  Sometimes we’ll each prepare separately by answering certain questions in advance, and then discuss them together later over a meal.

Our favorite methods and resources for communication are listed below.

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NYC 2012
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Fall 2012: New York City

Favorite Resources for a Marriage Getaway Weekend

1.  Marriage Getaway Guide:
Getting Away to Get It Together: A Getaway Guide for Couples
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One of our favorite resources so far is this helpful Getaway Guide.  We like to choose several activities from the book and assign each to a specific meal or window of time for discussion, keeping track of our answers in a spiral notebook (instead of writing in the actual Guide).

2.  Marriage Inventories

  • Do-It-Yourself Marriage Retreata fantastic list of questions to answer and discuss, covering all aspects of marriage and family life.
  • The Getaway Plananother great set of questions to consider on a Getaway Weekend.  {From Family Life}
Getaway 2011 Chris Tomlin Concert
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Spring 2011: No, we didn’t vacation with Chris Tomlin. But we did enjoy front row seats at his concert in Hershey, PA, as well as a backstage visit thanks to the guy on the right–a good friend of Mr Native Texan’s and the bass player in Tomlin’s band.

3.  Custom List of Topics

We often use our Getaway Weekends to discuss specific topics that have needed attention, but that we haven’t had time to address properly during normal life.

For instance:

  • specific parenting issues
  • upcoming vacation plans
  • home improvement projects
  • major purchases
  • etc.

In the days or weeks leading up to a Getaway Weekend, we begin to compile a list of such topics.  It always brings me such peace of mind to know there is a set time when those items will be addressed.

4.  Just for Fun

Sometimes, all the serious discussions and questions can start to feel heavy.  So we like to lighten things up a bit by asking fun questions like those on the following lists.

30 Date Your Husband From Home Questions

50 Questions to Ask Your Spouse on a Date Night

Weekend To Remember -- Texas 2009
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Weekend to Remember, 2009: At the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.

5.  Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference

We’ve been to our fair share of marriage retreats and events over the years, and the Weekend to Remember marriage conference by FamilyLife is hands down the best one out there.

WTR offers an excellent combination of top notch speakers, biblical content, relevant material, intentional questions and a designated Date Night.  Conferences are held nationwide and discounts are available.

We’ve attended four WTR conferences and benefited greatly each time.  If you’re looking to attend a marriage conference, we highly recommend this one!

Buckingham Palace
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Buckingham Palace, London; Fall 2013: Our ten year anniversary trip. (We saw the Queen!)

Just Do It

There are certainly many ways to go about planning a Getaway Weekend.  The very best tip I can give you is: Just do it!

Just do something!

Maybe you can’t afford nice accommodations or don’t have the vacation days for a longer trip.  And yes, making childcare arrangements can be challenging.  But it’s true what they say: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Start somewhere, and make an investment in your most important earthly relationship.  Do what you can, and go from there.  It will be well worth any sacrifices you make along the way.

Do you do regular Marriage Getaway Weekends?  I’d love to hear your tips or testimonials!

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Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

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