Going to the Marriage Gym

Hi, Girlfriends.

I know what you may be thinking…

Couples go to marriage retreats because they are having problems.


Why we went

People like John and I went to this marriage retreat because;

a. It was too rainy to bike outside.

b. We didn’t have anything else to do.

c. It was only $40 for the two of us.

We had attended Cedar Point Church in Claremore, Oklahoma, and read the advertising for this upcoming two-day event.  I had heard Jill Savage on a radio program in Chicago and respected her insight.  John and I thought…what the heck?

Let’s go.

The last marriage conference we attended was eight years earlier.

Oh, baby, we have come a long way since that first retreat. 

We were so naive

We got married in 2010 and wrapped ourselves in a cozy blanket of idealistic love.  These past eight years have added some stains and rips to our blanket, but it is still ours.  Now?  Our blanket is more like that soft tattered afghan from your Grandma.

Anyway, the agenda for this seminar sounded refreshing…and promised to be like a spray of Febreze for our blanket.

Before the sessions began we had our picture taken and were escorted into a hospitality area.

Delicious appetizers were artfully placed on high top tables and mocktails were served.  I won’t bore you with the details of all seven sessions, but here are some of my favorite takeaways.

9 Takeaways for you

  1. Never sacrifice your marriage on the altar of efficiency.
  2. Validation is saying that it makes sense to you that the person feels that way. 
  3. When we communicate, we can move from dialogue to debate pretty easily.
  4. Our spouse doesn’t care what we know until they know that you care.
  5. We all bring from our family of origin a tendency toward dysfunctional or functional love styles.
  6. These styles are built around one simple but extremely important question:  Can you recall a time as a child when you were upset and someone comforted you?
  7. The gap between realistic and unrealistic expectations is discontentment.
  8. Courage is not the absence of fear- it’s deciding to do something more than bowing to the fear.
  9. Refocusing from problem to purpose in our partnership equals a healthy marriage.

Why did this conference work?

Two words:  Vulnerable and Candid.

Jill and Mark got personal.

Again, I won’t share details, because I plan to post an interview with them in the next couple of months.  Stay tuned.  But trust me.  They have had massive obstacles to overcome in their marriage.

John and I walked away from the conference with tools to improve our communication.  We investigated and renewed our core values.  As a result, we carried these values back home to our RV.

So worth it.

Thanks, Jill and Mark!

In case you want to learn more from Jill and Mark:

Jill’s book:  www.NoMorePerfect.com

Now it’s your turn

Have you ever attended a marriage seminar or conference?  Please share what your takeaways were in the comments below.

Oh, and sign up for my blog here, please.  Thanks!

Love from your Unlikely RVer,


Meet the secret man in my life

Hi, Girlfriends.

Ok, true confession time.

I’ve had this other man in my life for about 10 years now.  Actually, you were introduced to him a few weeks ago in my “Not going with the “Flo” post.

His name is Jacksh.

Humor when it’s needed the most

Jacksh is my husband John’s alter-ego who happens to have a lisp.  It’s kind of a long story how Jacksh showed up in our life, but I’ll sum it up this way.

There was a point in our dating relationship in 2009 when Jacksh provided a naughty-word-using-very-geeky-relationship-saving-humor-necessary-to-make-Gretty-laugh.

And it worked.

I was having a bad day and John recognized the need to snap me out of a downward emotional spiral.  Girlfriends, I know you’ve been there too, right?

When does he show up?

Besides showing up when I am emotionally a mess, Jacksh comes around when the weather is interesting.  He also enjoys our MFD’s.  (Mandatory Fun Days).

So, without further adieu, let me introduce to you my OTHER man, Jacksh… who keeps Life On The Road super funny AND educational.

Strap in and push the arrow to hear Jacksh extraordinary explanation of rainbows minus the unicorns…

Your Turn

Do you have a Jacksh in your world?  Tell me a story in the comments below.  I’d love to hear how you get through emotionally messy times.

Thanks for reading my silly little blog.  If you want to be on my mailing list, feel free to sign up here.

Your Unlikely RVer,