This year, we planned our summer vacation to coincide with our third wedding anniversary (June 7th), and it was really wonderful!
We both took off Mon-Wed of our actual anniversary week, but started our vacation early by traveling up to Orlando on Friday afternoon the weekend before, for our second Weekend to Remember marriage retreat! If you’ve never heard of these, we definitely recommend checking them out (and if you want, we can hook you up with a discount code!)…they’re organized and hosted by Family Life Today, and we’ve found them to be incredibly encouraging for our marriage while also re-aligning and re-affirming our priorities, vision, etc. We look at them like a tune-up, scheduling them regularly into our time (right now, that’s every two years) to help keep things running smoothly, and we haven’t regretted a single moment we’ve spent on it.
One of my favorite parts this time around was at the very beginning, when the hosts ask the group who’s been married the least amount of time, and who’s been married the longest….the couple that had been married the longest has been married for FIFTY TWO years!!!! That left such an impression on me, not only because it’s an incredible amount of time, but especially because they were still investing in their own marriage, even after all that time together. It was a great reminder to me that you’re never done learning and you never “have it all figured out” when it comes to marriage (or life in general, for that matter).
Weekend to Remember (WTR) spans three days total, with a couple of sessions Friday night, a full day of sessions Saturday, and then a morning of sessions on Sunday. The events are usually hosted at “fancy” places because they’ve found that couples really appreciate and anticipate actually having a weekend away together, and we’ve found that to be true for us. This event was at the Caribe Royal Resort in Orlando, right down the road from all the theme parks, and we loved that the property had a giant pool with a water slide and a waterfall overhand with lounge chairs underneath…so relaxing!
We’d only been to one WTR prior to this, and I wasn’t sure how I would react the second time. Would I feel like it was all too familiar? Would I feel like the speakers were just saying all the same things as before? What we both said at the end of the weekend was that, even though there were familiar elements, there was still something very new and unique about the weekend. The speakers (we LOVED them) weren’t the same as in 2015, so they brought different perspectives and anecdotes related to the topics. We also felt like we absorbed different parts of the sessions this time around because our relationship itself is in a different season than it was when we first attended. SO…if you’re wondering, we would totally recommend returning if you’ve been before! We firmly believe that God has different things for all of us to learn in different seasons, and we don’t regret one minute of attending a second time!
Like I mentioned, the conference itself ends Sunday around lunch, but we were able to budget for one more night at the resort so the weekend wouldn’t feel as rushed and “we have to get home right now”. Looking back, I’m SO glad we decided to do that! We spent the rest of that day lounging out by the pool, talking through some of our favorite parts of the weekend, having a pizza picnic in our room while we watched A Few Good Men, and ordering just-for-fun, late-night room service for chocolate lava cake 🙂
After we checked out on Monday, we drove a little ways up the road to a mini-golf spot we’d seen on Saturday night and stopped to play two rounds. This was extra fun because we’d also done that on our honeymoon! After mini-golf, we headed over to Disney Springs…gosh is that place HUGE! It felt like we walked forever, taking in all the sights…the amphibious convertible cars out on the water, the deliciously cool chocolate shop, The Basin where we stopped on the way out for a few bath bombs, and the high school orchestra up on the stage playing different Disney theme songs, just to name a new. It was exhausting, but such a fun way to spend an afternoon and get a “Disney fix” without having to sell a kidney 😉
We had big plans to enjoy the outdoors for our last two days of staycation back here in St. Pete, but Florida brought out some thunder storms, so we filled our days with resting, reading, movie watching, and tasty treats. On Wednesday, our actual anniversary, we had a really special dinner out at a new-to-us place in downtown St. Pete called Stillwater Tavern….literally every single thing we ordered was delicious AND the restaurant itself is really beautifully decorated and designed…we can’t wait to go back sometime! We picked up a caramel apple at the shop next door after dinner, took a walk down by the bay, and then headed out to St. Pete beach to walk in the surf and watch the sunset.
And those are some of my favorite moments from our Anniversary Vacation Week, celebrating three years of marriage with my most favorite guy! If you’d like to read my letter to Luke on our One Year Anniversary, you can do that >>here<<. If you’re curious about other marriage posts I’ve shared in the past, here are a few of my favorites: Why We’re Leaving Town Tonight, The Rest of the Story, and Why Marriage is Hard. I hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!!!