Scott and I got to get away this past weekend. We went to Family Life‘s Weekend To Remember marriage conference. Scott’s mom heard about it, and asked if we’d like to go. She sent us and watched all three girls Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She is a saint.
First of all, we haven’t been away ALONE in 9 years. We dove right into ministry, and never stopped. Our first anniversary was spent at a church hanging out with teenagers. So, when I say that this weekend was needed- it was SO needed. The past couple of years have been especially difficult. I am really thankful that by God’s grace, all that we’ve been through has drawn us closer together instead of ripping us apart.
We left on Friday afternoon to head up to Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago. We grabbed lunch on our way out of town. That car ride was bliss. We weren’t yelling over kids. It was just us and The Greatest Showman soundtrack. There was road construction that had us stopped for quite a while, so we arrived later than we planned. We checked in to our room, got checked in to the conference, and headed to dinner. We ate at Redstone. The food was SO good.
We headed right back for the first session of the conference. I loved seeing the variety of ages and stages of marriage that were there. They had a photo booth set up. I just realized that Scott and I were matching. We never plan that sort of thing.
They had “assignments” for you to do during the longer breaks or at the end of the day. It was a great way to apply what you learned during the sessions, and opened up a lot of conversation.
Saturday, they had the first session start at 8:30 AM. I thought that was cruel, but we were there on time. haha! Scott went and got a couple of donuts and some coffee while I got ready. His lack of hair makes his mornings very easy for him. 😉
We realized that lunch was going to take longer than the amount of time they give you, and we looked at the sessions before and after lunch. We determined that the session after lunch was going to be the most beneficial for us to attend. After we finished our assignment, we headed to Giordano’s to beat the crowd. We were really glad that we went early since we found out it took 45 minutes for the pizza to bake!
I was really glad that we weren’t late for the next session, because it was so good! There was one more session that ended at 4, and they released you for date night. We decided to head into Chicago to see Cloud Gate, and then go back to town for dinner later. Cloud gate was really amazing to see. We would have walked around more, but it was SO cold.
We drove back to Oak Brook and tried to go to a Japanese steak house. The wait was an hour and a half, and we were both too hungry. So, we searched for another one to try.
When we got to Nabuki, it was not at all what we were expecting. We were seated at the sushi bar, and our waiter came out to take our order. Neither of us really knew what he said, because it was SO loud, but he suggested some sushi and we said “sure”. I have no idea what we ate. I really liked one of the rolls and Scott liked the other one, but we felt so awkward and out of place. It was an ultra-modern and hip place. We ate as fast as we could and then left for the book store. Home. haha! We got dessert to go at the Cheesecake Factory and ate it in bed at 11:30 at night.
I was so sad to wake up on Sunday and realize that our weekend was almost over. We got breakfast in bed, which was really heavenly. I never make omelettes for myself, but love them. I got a spinach, mushroom, and feta cheese omelette. Scott got the usual man breakfast (eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast) and it was so nice to eat in the bed that felt like laying on a cloud.
They split the women and men apart for the first session on Sunday. I really loved hearing Janet speak. Scott said he really enjoyed his session also. Then, we came back together for a joint session. They had us re-state our vows to each other, which was beautiful. When you enter into marriage, you don’t fully understand the gravity of what those vows mean. I loved telling Scott that I was going to love him and stick with him in good times and bad, knowing that marriage and life are so imperfect and bring a lot of trials with them.
We went to lunch at a place called Pappadeux. We ate gator, which is so stinking good. We ate it for the first time on our honeymoon, so it felt fitting. haha! We were so full from eating so well all weekend that we ended up bring almost all of our main dishes home with us. I was sad to leave such a perfect weekend behind.
I want to say that no matter what stage your marriage is in, A Weekend to Remember is for you. There were couples of all ages there. The speakers were addressing the couples who were there as a last resort- divorce was on the horizon. They said even if you had to sit on opposite sides of the room as your spouse, please stay. It really broke my heart to know that there were probably a lot of couples in that room who were in that group. It just makes me cherish my husband even more. Our marriage has had it’s rough patches, all marriages do. I was glad that we, personally, have been in a really good place in our marriage. We were given tools to help us work through future conflict in better ways. Reminders of how to love each other best. It was all so, so good. If you are married, or even engaged (they did have pre-marrieds there!) you need to find a way to go. I am so grateful that Denise was willing to gift this to us. I am so thankful that Cliff helped us get a room, and left the sweetest gift bag for us.
Today, Scott is back at work and we are back to the grind. I was sad to say goodbye to him this morning. I had four days with him, and it was so nice. That just means that I will be even more excited to see him walk through the door tonight.