My husband and I recently hit 14 years of marriage. We celebrated our anniversary by staying overnight in a treehouse, in a city nearby. The treehouse was a real structure with running water, a kitchen, and all the amenities of a hotel. Staying there was a fun experience to check off the bucket list. It wasn’t necessary to go far away to still feel like a break in our daily life routine. Why? We were away from home and our responsibilities, we had planned a few fun activities, and (most importantly) our kids were with Grandma.
We had planned wine tasting, walking by a river, and going to a movie, and also I wanted to use the time together for some good conversations. When you have young kids, like we do, it can be so easy to let days, weeks or even months pass without really having sincere or big picture conversations with your spouse. Kids interrupt the little conversations, bedtime can be time consuming and then you both are too tired to really talk when the day is done.
For us, this overnight was a great way to have some of those bigger conversations. We had a chance to talk about topics that rarely get discussed like our hopes and dreams. It was a great way to reconnect on where our life together is headed and it felt good to get on the same page. This type of conversation would be beneficial to all spouses. With that, I would advocate for a mini retreat each year where you can have some uninterrupted conversations and really reconnect with your spouse on what you both want, how life is going and how to best move forward.
Planning a talk and retreat like this, it can be a good idea to go in with a set of topics ready that will be most beneficial. Read on for some ideas of where to start.
Topics you may wish to talk about:
Your household finances; any big upcoming life changes like a new house, new baby, new job; or the desire for any of those aforementioned things; major household repairs needed; kids birthdays coming up; health of your parents; spiritual development you want to pursue; how to structure any upcoming holidays.
In addition to those topics, here are some questions that can open up and raise the conversation to another new level. Brainstorm answers together, take turns answering and see where the talk takes you. Write down the take aways, next steps, goals to move toward and what you want to retain or act on.
- In our day to day routines and life – what is working for you?
- (In our day to day routines and life) – what is not working for you?
- What 1-3 goals do you most want to accomplish this year?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years – career wise, health wise, house wise, travel wise.
- What are your dreams? These can be realistic dreams or unrealistic dreams. Even in the unrealistic ones, we can sometimes find a way to pursue them in some form.
Particularly for the last 2 questions – it can be really powerful to also ask: how can I help you get there? How can I support you in that goal or dream?
Having time together to talk about how to improve your daily life, get on the same page with financial, career and health goals, and or to dream about what your future together could look like, can be so beneficial. Once you are on the same page about these things, you can construct –
a written road map of action steps that will allow you to get where you want to go. A guide on how you will achieve those goals and dreams.
It can allow you to get support from your spouse in the little things and the big things of your life together. Above all, if you both know where you’re going, you can walk the same path to get there. As a result, you can also come back to your daily life as teammates on the same page of where you’re headed.
So, will you plan a retreat for you and your spouse? Bonus points for giving your spouse the list of questions ahead of time and each brainstorming your answers before you meet to go over them. Oh, and let me know if you want to stay in a treehouse. I know of one! 🙂