07 September, 2010

Ruler of all Coupledom

TGW and I went to a marriage retreat this weekend. It was even an "advanced" marriage retreat. They did a lot of things I was somewhat afraid about, but learned so much about. Since it was focused on military families, I would imagine it is kind of different than what a typical marriage retreat would feature. I wanted to share some of the stuff that I felt while we did the activities.

The first night we had dinner and talking sessions and all that stuff. We got to meet other people and everything. Typical icebreaker stuff. Then, we went to the gymnasium and they filled the floor with a bunch of junk - pool noodles, balloons, frizbees, balls - basically a nightmare of trip hazards. And then, they picked some couples, and had them stand at one end, and one person was blindfolded. The seeing person had to guide the other person across without touching the blinded person, and instead just give them instructions quietly in their ear. It was pretty amazing to watch. 

For the second part of it, we were one of the teams (we got tagged in by another couple). I agreed to be the blindfolded one, not knowing that they'd be changing the rules. But they did. They had TGW stand on the other side of the "minefield", and he had to shout directions to me. Worse, they had any of the couples not traveling across the field shout and move obstacles and pop balloons. I am not good with loud, startling noises, and I have a lot of trouble hearing through ambient noise, so it was very frightening for me. It took me a lot to get through, and sometimes I couldn't hear TGW at all, so I would have to stop, and really focus, and sometimes I had to walk on my own. When I finally reached him, the feeling of relief and comfort was overwhelming. One of the many times this weekend I cried.

Saturday, we played a version of dodgeball I'd be happy not to repeat. A person would stand in the center of a hula hoop, and their spouse would defend them from other people throwing dodgeballs (it was only one or two balls) - representing life's difficulties. Each spouse took turns being the defender and the defended. It was kind of scary, to be honest! After that, TGW and I were the only couples who got to do the second part, but it was very interesting for me. I stood in the center, and TGW wasn't allowed to defend me. Instead, he had to choose people from the group to represent people in our lives he trusted to protect me while he was gone. 
He picked all but two of the people on the outside - meaning I was surrounded by people representing my parents, Michael and Tracey, my sister and brother and their spouses. It made my heart warm to realize that there would be people there for me to protect me from the scary things when he is not there. 
I managed to avoid getting hit for a lot longer than I would have expected (although, both times I was hit, I got hit in the face - sad times.). When we were done, I asked the instructor to wait a minute, and I said, "Look, this time I'm surrounded by people protecting me, and that's great, but last time, I had only maybe 2 people." It made a big difference to me to see it represented like that. 

We talked about how I don't feel a lot of trust in TGW's unit, particularly right now. It felt good to kind of get it out, and have people understand how terrifying it is to know that maybe not today or tomorrow, but sometime soon, he's going to be somewhere that is life-or-death, and I am going to have to rely on these people to protect him, and I can't trust them to do so. It's messed up.

We did a rock-climbing wall, which was super fun and super hard - but we managed to do both the medium difficulty wall the whole way and then did almost all of the slightly easier wall. I was very happy about that. 

We had to do this trust exercise - it is confusing to explain - there was a 30 ft. cable about one foot off the ground, with another cable about 15 feet up parallel that had five ropes hanging down. You had to walk the cable, holding yourself up with the ropes. We had to work together to decide who would stand on the sides to help the walkers, who would go first and last, and how long or how many tries we had to do it. It was scary, but we both did pretty good, and no one in our group really fell! I was happy for that.

We talked for about an hour and a half that evening, just hanging out, and used some of the techniques we've learned at these to discuss some things that had me crying (again). We played mini golf and had dinner and played Mystery Case Files: Huntsville together on my touchscreen, and it was really nice. We also had sundaes. Tasty goodness, I tell you! (We also got to talk about sex and stuff that day, which is always my favorite part because it teaches you A LOT about each other and other people.)

Sunday, we had to sit down and talk about "tough stuff". TGW and I accidentally both wore our T-Rex shirts, which was kind of awesome, and when we looked at the list of discussion topics, we realized we'd already discussed all of them, at length. We were kind of at a loss of what to discuss, so we rehashed some stuff, and it was basically like "Yup, same as last time, I agree, yup." It was kind of awesome!

Overall, it was a good opportunity to spend a weekend with J. Wesley. We got to talk about a lot of things and it was nice to learn about some of the new things we did. I think more than anything, it solidified the "we are awesome" feeling for us, and that was fantastic.

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