During the summer months I spend most of my weekends photographing weddings both in the UK and abroad. It’s my job, and I love it; each ceremony is as different and unique as the couples I’m fortunate enough to capture. But as I approach my first wedding anniversary, each wedding is becoming a timely reminder about the importance of investing in my own marriage and relationship.
I have been married for 18 months, and it has been an amazing first year, but as with all things in life – it has also been challenging at times. In short, I have learnt that there is no such thing as a rule book – especially when it comes to relationships.
When we met, we’d both been through a relationship breakdown and a divorce, and very much wanted to ensure we didn’t make the same mistakes again this time around. It’s made us more determined to get it right and definitely more determined to invest time and energy into doing so. It’s why, only a few months ago, we decided to attend a marriage retreat.
Did you know that sadly, 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce?
It’s a shocking statistic when you read it like that. Whilst there can be all manner of reasons for marriage breakdown, I believe it’s true to say that people are often more willing to invest time and effort in their careers and education than they do in their marriages and families. How many of us come home at the end of the day feeling too drained and exhausted to hold a meaningful, mindful conversation with our other halves, never mind commit to quality time between the sheets? You wouldn’t expect to succeed in your dream job without any time, effort, or research. So why would you expect marriage to be any different?
The marriage retreat provided us with some much needed time to reconnect, learn more about each other and to grow as a couple. We were given guidance for the weekend with activities and topics to follow and discuss.
We came away refreshed, re-energised, and stronger than ever. You could say we revitalised our life partnership then and there. I literally cannot recommend it enough.
Since we’ve returned from the retreat, we’re both feeling and seeing the fruits of investing in our relationship, on a daily basis. We love listening to marriage podcasts, reading books about marriage and talking about our marriage regularly.
This won’t be to everyone’s tastes – but we definitely feel more connected and in tune with each other. We are still individuals, but together we have forged an even stronger partnership. We invest as much as we can in our time together – nothing means more to us than being on this journey together, knowing we always have each other’s love and support.
In addition to our marriage retreat – prior to taking our vows last May, we attended a pre-marital training course. Again, this idea might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we found it to be a positive, life-affirming, true bonding experience that enhanced our commitment to get married. It also set us on the paths we find ourselves now; one hundred per cent committed and loving every single moment of married life.
As we have been so fortunate to have the love and support of others, we would like to inspire and encourage other couples on their own marriage journeys.
I truly believe that:
- Everyone can have the marriage they want
- The excitement from your wedding day can last into the rest of your lives
- There is no such thing as a honeymoon phase in marriage
- Love is a decision not a feeling
- Marriage can be the most exciting adventure of your life
My belief is that just like anything worth having in life, marriage takes work, commitment and perseverance. But every ounce of effort you put in will be well spent.
In our busy, modern day lives, I’m keen to know how you make time to prioritise and nurture your own marriage. Through sharing our experiences, perhaps we can help inspire those who may be struggling?
For more information about marriage retreats please feel free to contact me on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/