The marriage retreat was wonderful that first and foremost reminded me once again how incredible blessed I am with my husband and how perfectly matched we are. I’m not going to pretend we don’t ever have disagreements…we do…it’s the nature of male/female relationship. The difference is we don’t have disagreements with a resulting festering wound.
My first reminder came in the form of hearing others speak about their marital woes or frustrations. I realized; “wow, my husband doesn’t do any of those things these poor women have to deal with.” Then as I listened to our ‘teachers’ speaking about helping one another and serving one another; I realized the ideal spouse he was describing was MY husband. I was convicted in that I am not always the ideal wife to his ideal husband, and I pondered that thought for a bit.
Why would God bless my socks off with him, only to allow him to deal with my less than pretty side(s) (definitely plural)! Is God intending great things for my husband and so he must be tested to some galaxy limit? Is God letting me ‘coast’ awhile? Whatsup? Instead of responding in fear of the trials to come; right now I’m resting in the comfort of this wonderful spouse God has given me, and I am trying to find ways to show him more often how very much I do see and appreciate his giving, serving nature. I also want to remind him daily just how much I love him.
Sometimes when you don’t even think you need a marriage retreat for the material, God still manages to bless you by reminding you how truly wonderful you have it! That is what I brought home from this retreat.
So the material and ‘hanging’ with our church friends was all really fun, but let me assure you it will be a very long, long time before I stay in that hotel again! Here is the “rest of the story…”
Honestly, I’m assuming any hotel where the rooms start at $199/night (thank GOD not what we paid as a group), would be well above average. I mean I have stayed at those “we’ll leave the lights on for you” motor-inn’s much of my traveling life and had fairly good experiences. Suffice to say, my expectations were high and evidently a bit too high. These are, after-all, only larger versions of their smaller cousins: the motor-inns.
We get checked in around 4:30-ish without any problem. We take the lavish elevator up to the 8th floor and immediately I hear what one rarely hears at 4:30 pm on a Friday; MEN AT WORK! I hear construction and I hear it like it’s going to come through one of our walls. As I sit down to rest for a moment and review the amenities (because that’s just something you do at a NICE hotel), I see their script apology (on linen paper) for the ongoing construction…from 8:00-5:30 M-F and 10:00-5:30 Sat.
I immediately flashed to my dream role of Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” and the music begins with a slow, sweet melody and I begin singing (in my head of course, I don’t want to scare the husband on the arrival)…
“All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air,
With one eNORmous chair,
OH Wouldn’t it be lover-ly”
(All sung with that wonderful cockney accent that I adore!)
I figured since we were to meet some of our group for dinner, I didn’t have to worry my pretty little head about a bit of construction taking place just one layer of drywall over. I tried to put it out of my head as we descended the mirrored elevator down to the grand lobby.
Add to that there was a “Docs and Jocks” conference taking place and many professional athletes were present for ‘gawking’. You couldn’t really hear the construction in the lobby and apparently they weren’t staying at this hotel.
We met up with our group and headed over to Bricktown which is one of OKC's newer touristy areas. It’s been a work in progress but now has several nice restaurants (and by nice I mean very pricey) with well-positioned chefs…the kind of place where you can’t order off the lunch menu after 3 pm (we know because we tried) because it’s probably a different chef and we don’t want to insult the dinner chef with our budget restrictions. The kind of places you don’t always see prices on the menus.
I ordered an $11.00 salad and was served a trough of greens and a few veggies, with chicken on top. It was fine. It wasn’t over-the-top wonderful, but it was fine. My husband ordered some crawfish dish and it only appalled one of his seat-mates. As long as I don’t witness the brain-sucking I’m fine. These actually came without heads so it was much safer. BLECHHHHHH! I know, I know, you pay for atmosphere at these places, but I prefer atmosphere and really wonderful not budget-breaking food.
I did realize being in Bricktown no matter where we ate it would be expensive, so we were prepared. It was good company and we laughed through the meal as we visited before the first ‘session’ of our conference began at 7 pm.
After the conference and a trip back to bricktown (on foot) for some “Marble-Slab” chocolate/coconut concoction, the hubs and I headed back to the hotel earlier than the others. I’m one of the ‘mature’ (translation…really tired and not-worth-anything-socially after 10:00 pm people). We crawled onto the king sized bed and I envisioned this wonderful night of restful sleep without an alarm intruding my pre-dawn REM state.
I was a bit worried when the satin/silk pillow covers kept sliding out from under my own silken tresses. I hit my head twice on the headboard, but if I moved the pillows down, I found myself flat against a mattress, as the pillows shot up from beneath my head to rest pleasantly against the headboard, SANS my head!
It then dawned on me at some point after midnight that these sheets were not fitted, rather flat and tucked under the mattress. I’m a MOVER in bed so I was lying on part of a mattress pad, part of a bare mattress and a sheet had entangled my foot in a strong hold the likes of which I haven’t seen on any ESPN match, to date. I struggled to loosen my foot from the death grip and nearly fell off the bed as I did the “bounce-upward (while laying flat) and quickly reposition-sheets-below-me ‘maneuver’. I scored a sleepy ‘7’ for my attempt. It would suffice.
The next interruption was around 5 a.m. when I felt certain our adjoining room door had been left open as I could hear not only a blow-dryer running as if it were for my own head, but people talking in the same room as me. Wait…I thought as I pried my eyes open…it’s NOT a dream. Those are people in my room…well in THAT room, the one with the EARLY risers discussing, in detail, their plans for the day away from Hotel Hell!
I listened to the conversation, commenting occasionally during conversation lulls and hurried them on their way with an air kiss and a wave as I performed my bounce-reposition maneuver yet again to claim my interrupted sleep.
About 30 minutes later I arose with a clatter…a leg cramp so strong, and a sheet holding tight to my other foot as I attempted to rise and stretch the cramping misery. Only then did I recall my husband reminding me to bring some other shoes besides flip-flops since we would be walking to and through Bricktown on this ‘retreat’. The old adage: “Never sacrifice fashion!” came to mind. Hindsight is 20/20?
OUCHHHHHHHHH I thought as I hobbled across the room seeking relief from this endless cramp. Eventually it subsided with the husband waking saying: “what’s the matter?”
I went back to bed and slept until the people on the OTHER side arose at 6:30-ish to an alarm and showers and more hairdryers…when I finally got up! I got up, the hubby got up…the whole HALL could get up for as much as I cared at this point.
Princess and the Pea ain’t got nothing on me! Thankfully there was a Starbucks across the street and I didn’t mind paying double the usual extortion rate for a cup of white chocolate java to sooth my tired nerves and overstrained calf muscles.
We went back to the remainder of the conference, another trip to Bricktown for lunch and the closure of our conference. I was beyond thrilled to sleep in my own smaller, but perfect-for-us bed at home Saturday night and the dogs were so happy!
This morning I’m still moving slower than usual, but by weeks end I should be back to my ‘fighting form’ for any foot wrangling sheet expeditions! My husband started his final semester at school today…I believe he has Thermodynamics at 8:30 a.m. (not my dream course obviously), but just 16 more weeks til graduation and our life begins? Okay…16 more weeks til we get to figure out how we will spend our increased time together! A problem I am MORE than ready to jointly solve.
Have a wonderful, HOTEL-FREE Monday!