Hitting Refresh on Your Marriage

Four Year AnniversaryThis year for our four year anniversary, we went to the ever-so popular Dubach, La. If you’re not from around here, you won’t understand that and if you are, you’ll say whyyyy just like everyone else. Dubach is a pretty small town just 50+ miles from Monroe and is unlikely be a place where someone would choose to celebrate their anniversary. However, there’s a good reason we did and we’re happy about it.

When planning for our anniversary, we considered going several fun places near and far. We talked about returning to some of our favorites like Nashville or Kansas City. If you remember, we were in the throes of trying to get back into our home in July, so an “adventure” was really the last thing we needed. The last several months had been some of the most stressful times we’d experienced together and we were both mentally and physically exhausted. As a matter of fact, we’d had zero quality time together in months because all of our spare time had been spent talking about insurance or paint colors. Remember, this wasn’t us building our dream home that we’d planned for years for. This was us trying to get our home back after unexpected tragedy. We’d experienced loss, anger, frustration, confusion, helplessness, and a host of other emotions that one doesn’t welcome into their life willingly. It goes without saying that our marriage and relationship had been pushed to new limits and tested in new ways.

As our anniversary approached, we discussed what we needed most. First, we needed to celebrate that we’d made it this far…mainly through the last four months. Secondly, and most importantly, we needed to take a time out, reconnect, spend some quality time together, and remember WHY we chose to take this journey together. Without a doubt, we needed a break from our current reality and to spend some time nurturing our marriage.Cabin in the WoodsHitting Refresh on Your MarriageLuckily, I remembered stumbling across this wonderful little cabin in the woods of Dubach and knew it was where we needed to go. We didn’t need to travel for miles and miles and add new experiences to our passport. We needed to go somewhere simple where we basically did nothing. And to make this cabin even more of a done-deal, it had NO cell service and NO internet service. Sign. me. up.

We arrived at our little cabin on Thursday and took a look around. It was raining and the owner called to let us know that the creek running in front of the cabin sometimes rises into the yard. We’d also seen a “high water” sign on the drive in, less than a mile from cabin. I almost aborted the mission! High water was what we were trying to escape!! We stuck it out and I trusted that we would be just fine tucked away in our little cabin. Talk about irony though…Hitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageWhen we first walked in, I fell in love immediately. The living and kitchen areas were decorated with an eclectic charm that made my heart sing. You knew that every piece in this cabin had some message accompanying it or some story to tell. It was quaint and cozy and just the place you’d want to be curled up at on a rainy day. Did I mention that I found my favorite dishes ever there?? So beautiful.Hitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageRight off the kitchen was the owner’s art studio. It was basically the room of my dreams and solidified the fact that I wanted to create a creative space of my own at home. The host invites you to bring your own supplies and use the room, though I could have just sat in there for hours dreaming of the beautiful things that had come and left that room.Hitting Refresh on Your MarriageThe front portion of the cabin was definitely my favorite, though those flowing white curtains, overlooking the woods (rainy woods in our case) in the bedroom were incredibly relaxing. I’ll admit it, naps were taken. In addition to the design and collection of fascinating things, the cabin offered a serene environment that was both inspiring and relaxing, a feat that can sometimes be difficult to accomplish.Hitting Refresh on Your MarriageThe night of our anniversary, we drive into Ruston for dinner at Beau Vines, one of our favorite restaurants. The hostess so kindly took our picture because I have a photo from the night of every anniversary so far and I intend to keep that up. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend the steak medallions and the TKO if your a spirits drinkers. Although, everything there is delicious.

For the remainder of the trip, we stayed in our pajamas and I wore lots of flannel. We cozied up, read books, played board games, listened to CDs on the old CD player, ate junk food, and talked. We had conversation after conversation, like we hadn’t done in months or maybe even years. The day we left, I felt like this trip might have truly been a turning point in our marriage. We reconnected. We identified some bad habits we’d established (cell phones) and made some plans for doing better. We discussed what we wanted our lives and relationship to look like and made plans for realizing those goals. I personally felt so much more at peace and happy after unplugging and getting back to the basics for just a few days.

If you’re struggling with your marriage or relationship in some way, I highly recommend a trip of the sort. Unplug from technology altogether and actually talk for days on end. Talk about what you enjoy doing together and make plans to do more of it. Talk about your goals and dreams. And if need be, hash out some of those lingering struggles that seem to constantly resurface. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day and not nurture your relationships. People always say “marriage takes work” and a retreat of this sort can be part of that work. When you strip away the daily routines, and more importantly technology, you are forced to put some effort and energy into your relationship. You both probably need to rejuvenate and learning to do that together can be very powerful. If you’re not used to this sort of time together, it will undoubtedly feel odd at first. You might not know what to say or do. Just give it some time and let the awkwardness pass. That silent time
is usually when one or both of us would grab our phones and browse something meaningless. Without that crutch, we talked more and did more for our marriage than we had all year. Now, we’re considering doing something like this every year on our anniversary instead of adventure seeking. If you need the boost, I highly encourage a few days locked away somewhere quiet and most definitely without phones/technology.Hitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageHitting Refresh on Your MarriageWhile in Lincoln Parish, we also visited Mitcham’s Peach Orchard. We got soft-serve peach ice cream and stocked up on loads of peach this and that. It was a great little stop before settling in to the cabin.

I think back on these few days at the cabin with such fondness. It was incredibly relaxing and I was so grateful to get quality, uninterrupted time with my husband, especially after what we’d just been through. I think back on that little cabin often and would highly recommend a stay there to anyone. It’s a great place for a work retreat, to focus on creative work or reach some sort of deadline, or for just getting away for a bit. You can book a stay through AirBnb and if you do, be sure to tell her the Petruses sent you!

Anyone know where we should go next year??

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