So, retreats are great. But how is a relationship retreat different from a romantic getaway?
First of all, retreats are great for non-romantic relationships. For example, one time my mom and I traveled to Gatlinburg and stayed in a bed and breakfast for a week. Our room was for a couple, but it didn’t bother us. It was a very special and fun week, as we spent time together hiking, shopping, eating, and reading. What made it a retreat rather than a vacation? We spent time apart, and we spent time in reflection. We weren’t just running around at a hectic pace, trying to amuse ourselves. Instead we relaxed.
My husband and I went on a retreat to a monastery almost three years ago. That was quite different from a romantic getaway, especially since the accommodations and activities were the opposite of luxurious. We spent time apart, as well as time together. We attended all the monastic services together, even the 4 am service with 30 minutes of silent meditation!
Going on a retreat with someone can be an enriching experience. You combine the benefits of a retreat with the benefits of a shared experience. And what makes it different from a vacation? Intent.
A retreat brings the intentionality of withdrawal, quiet, contemplation. It brings the intention of rest, not a hedonistic rest (although there is a time and place for that), but a simple cleansing rest. It’s like the difference between a spoonful of sorbet between wines at a wine tasting and a hot fudge sundae. Both are creamy and delicious, but one prepares your palate for a new taste while the other finishes off a great meal.