For our first DIY retreat night, we stayed at a local hotel (Hello HHonors points!) and found a few marriage communication exercises on the internet to complete. We had so much fun and have so many more exercises that we want to try, that I thought it might be I thought it might be a fun exercise for us to write about it. You’ll get both my take and Rahjahn’s take on each exercise
So here it goes:
After settling into our hotel: Tru by Hilton.
Interesting hotel. Some of the extra space amenities are missing to cut down on the costs. Definitely geared towards the ‘Now’ generation with the splash of words everywhere and the vibrant colors that remind me of Starbucks. Plus goes out to them for designing a way to cut down on soap usage by building it as a dispensable unit! Would stay again, given the chance.
The DIY marriage retreat is great for me because I absolutely LOVE hotels. The Tru by Hilton was a cute concept, if a little dorm room-ish. It was sufficient for our purposes.
We did our first communication exercise.
5 Things We Appreciate in Each Other
It was a little daunting selecting our first activity (because we over prepared) but we chose “5 Things We Appreciate in Each Other”. We definitely dug deeper as we went on and I realized there was more to appreciate with each turn.
I was expecting this to be an icebreaker type exercise, but it got surprisingly deep. I think we both realized that even in the midst of hectic schedules and stressors, we really SEE one another. It was great to take the opportunity to articulate the things that it’s easy to take for granted. I found myself surprised and really touched by some of the appreciations that Rajahn lifted up about me.
36 Questions (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html):
Some questions required thought, and some were no-brainers due to our personalities. A few questions garnered answers that surprised me from Zeena, and myself. Because it was in Sets (3) we took breaks so it didn’t seem like a long series of questions. Definitely engaging with most of the questions, and I would recommend to set the tone for a couple’s session. Ran into another “5 Things We Appreciate in Each Other” question as part of this exercise, so it ended up being 10 in total.
A good friend recently did these questions with a new romantic partner. I was intrigued by her experience and wanted to see how would be with us. Once again, I found myself surprised by some of Rahjahn’s responses. And even some of my own. One question: “Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible” led to profound reflection on our childhoods and how that relates to our marriage. The conversation felt fresh and unhurried. It did feel like we were on a first date of sorts, because we had never answered these particular questions before.
We started the next morning with: Couples Guided Meditation
Meditation is always good to do. It was mostly dark because we had the shades down and lights off, which made some of the gazing instructions hard to do. The chance at mediation was great, as I always appreciate the times when I meditate with Zeena. I need to find a better way of sitting so that it is not so uncomfortable!
We did a mindfulness for couples meditation from the Insight Timer App. Meditation has become a very important part of my spiritual practice, so I really enjoyed this time meditate with Rahjahn. I feel like the guided meditation did help foster intimacy, but it also felt a little awkward at times. I’m looking forward to exploring more meditations like this.