My husband and I attended a Marriage Enrichment Retreat through a local Catholic church this weekend. Our weekend ended up being a little less than illuminating through no fault of the enrichment community.

The week leading into the retreat went a bit like this… Husband out of town. Meetings at the school every night. Dyslexic child with three exams and a vocabulary test with words like indictment, dictum, judgment, are they preparing our 5th graders to be sued? Wrestling practices, soccer practices, baseball practices, theater rehearsals oh my! 102 e-mails from the schools. Slice my finger on food processor blade. Damn it, your bike does not belong behind my car! Five hours in the ER. A dozen plus times being told I was hated by one of my teens. Why do the cats keep peeing on the beds!?!

By the time my husband arrived home from his business trip, my head was spinning around like the scene from the exorcist and I was alternating between pathetic sobbing and hurling angry F bombs. I’m pretty sure he raced about 100 miles an hour to the site of the retreat in search of a priest to do an exorcism on me. Bad luck. They were not offering that service.

The first session was basically an adoration and scripture session. The adoration was to be done through raising your voice in song. Most of the crowd was completely lost. Sing? We are Catholic, we don’t really do that. And I’m pretty sure by the sound of us, God would be perfectly happy if we kept it that way.

The second discussion was on forgiveness. Now this was well timed. I needed to go back and peel all off those ugly F bombs that were splattered all over my husband that he pretty much got battered and bruised with because I had no one else I could throw them at. However, instead of fully concentrating on the message being delivered, I became increasingly obsessed with the presenters hair. I couldn’t figure out if she had an ombre or a bad dye job. And really, is there any difference? Frankly, any hair style that derives it’s influence from a look perpetrated by people who couldn’t afford to keep up their highlights as their hair grew out, is ludicrous in my allegedly humble opinion.

Once all was forgiven, and I had gotten a much needed hug, we proceeded directly to the hotel bar and grabbed two Bloody Mary’s with the excuse of, “We’re Irish Catholics.” Fact of the matter is, we are both mostly French Canadian, but with the last name Flaherty, we can get away with the Irish Catholic excuse. When that isn’t enough; we just throw in, “We’re from Boston.” Around these parts that seems to settle just about anything without further explanation.

The next presentation was on healing past communication errors. In other words, stop launching F bombs at your spouse and other inappropriate ways of speaking to each other. Duly noted. The evening wrapped up with a nice dinner and some dancing. We decided to forego the dancing and head over to the Stockyards in Fort Worth.

The Thirsty Armadillo provided us with some good country music and some phenomenal lessons. First, if you do not wish to leave your beer unattended while dancing, it is possible to stick it down the back of your pants. This eliminates the possibility of a roofy being slipped in your drink and keeps it handy for you sipping pleasure at all times. I have dubbed this: ass crack beer. Second, before you tell someone they have a ferret climbing out of their shirt, look carefully. The ferret may just be a hairstyle. Similar to the ombre, I would consider the ferret an entirely mislead fashion statement; but… apparently it looks good to someone.

Toward the end of the night the band played an original song the lead singer wrote about those late night calls singles make as the bars close up. You know, when you call that certain someone you should never call to see if you can come over and just say hello and let the night go where it will? Maybe you get a high five, maybe you get naked. This is when I had a true epiphany. I turned to my husband and said, “Hey babe, being married is never having to make a booty call ever again!” He told me I should write Hallmark cards.

In the morning I decided I’d rather sleep in then finish off the retreat. Sleeping in, to a mother of four, is like a druggie finding a bag of crack sitting on the side of the road. The decision to forego the remainder of the retreat was not the right decision and wasn’t in character for how I usually make choices, but it was mine to own this time.

We have been to other retreat weekends before and gotten a lot out of them. I have found that whenever we invite God into our life, things improve. The fact is, this time around I was too exhausted to jump in the ring. A weekend we anticipated to be refreshing and invigorating, felt like hard work. And truly, marriage is a labor of love – key word being labor people! But what worth having comes easily? So, would I recommend a retreat to other married couples? Without question, I absolutely would. In life, you get out what you put in. After all, “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” – Unkown

PS – the youtube video I shared I assume is public and meant to be shared. I’m not too suave on what is allowed and not allowed, but I should think that if it’s on youtube, they want people to see it. And since this was one of the highlights of my weekend away, I wanted y’all to see it too. Before anyone sues me if I’ve messed up, just tell me to take it down and I’ll film my own version of “it’s not the nail.” and take my chances on getting sued over that. After all, I now have a 10 year old that can probably aide in my defense.