DIY Retreats

DIY Marriage Retreat in a Box: Quick Start Guide

At-Home Marriage Retreat Quick Start Guide

There are many ways to use the DIY Marriage Retreat in a Box. You can spend 20 hours on your retreat, an hour in each section, or a few minutes in the areas that feel most impactful. It’s all up to you- the retreat is intended to help, never to add more stress and pressure to your lives together. 

You can complete all or parts of this retreat—some couples do one part every month as an ongoing process, others complete the entire retreat in one weekend a year, and some do as much as they can whenever they can steal an evening or a few hours on a weekend. Many couples even pick up parts of the marriage retreat when they need a bit of remediation in a particular area— a reminder of what helped them communicate better or brought them to a stronger place together.

Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to carve out quality time with our partner. Ready to enjoy all of the benefits of the DIY Marriage Retreat in a Box but don’t have a lot of time right now? 

Our Quick Start Guide includes suggestions on how to use your retreat depending on how much time you have to spend. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, remember to have fun and enjoy this special and precious time with your partner! Ready to cut through the busyness of life and get started? 

DIY Marriage Retreat in a Box Quick Start Guide

If you have… 

18 minutes: Play some rounds of Connecting Conversation Starters

These cards are designed for you and your partner to (re)connect through exploring new topics and having fun! So take your time and try these ideas to make the conversation as rich and revealing as possible: 

  • ​When it’s your turn to answer, avoid starting with “it depends….”  Everything in life depends on something. Instead of wiggling away from the question, lean into it and answer as your most true, vulnerable self.
  • When it is your turn to listen, be fully present. Ask follow-up questions that help you understand your partner better. Simple phrases like, “I’d love to hear more about that” can enrich the conversation and deepen your connection to one another.

36 minutes: Flip to the section Bringing Adventure and Fun to One Another Every Day (page 43)  

When couples adventure together, they slow down to remember—to really feel and bask in what brought them together. They create new memories that bring up those same feelings of newness and possibility. And, most of all, couples who adventure together reignite the sense of being adventurous individuals, so that each can bring that aspect of themselves to the other in new, creative ways.

This section will guide you through a thoughtful conversation about the adventure in your lives, and how to bring more of it … if that is what you want! 

72 minutes: Consider the 5 sections of the retreat: 

  1. Courageous Communication: How We Talk With Each Other Counts
  2. Conflict: When We See Things Differently
  3. Money Matters
  4. Bringing Adventure and Fun to Every Day
  5. Trust and Emotional Intimacy: The Building Blocks of Romance

Is there one area that if improved, would improve all the others? Yes? Start there. 

Work through that section of the guidebook slowly. Give yourselves plenty of time to think, share and practice together. 

144 minutes+ : Start at the beginning! 

Go slow and give yourselves plenty of time to think through the readings and questions. In our busy lives, we often forget to think and to make thinking about things a priority. We are expected to have the quick answer, to share our “initial thoughts,” often with little time for more in-depth exploration after. While this may work in the busy space of our work lives (and it may not), it can be especially harmful in our love relationships.  

Slowing down to think, and to make space for our partners to do the same, is an essential part of making love work. Make it a practice in the retreat to take notes in the margins or space provided in the workbook—lots of them. Write your impressions, your feelings, your worries, and your ideas. Capture notes on what you're learning about your partner, “AHA!" moments, and times when you feel love growing. You don’t have to share all of it. The more you write down your thoughts, the more easily they will flow, and the more likely you are to remember them. 

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