Last June, Ordell and I attended the 3rd annual Coaches Marriage Getaway hosted by the Illini Land FCA. The last FCA couples retreat we attended was in 2005 I wasn’t sure how applicable the sessions would be since we are now entering that “seasoned” marriage phase and much of the coaching life has been wrestled through. Still, a night away from the kids plus a chance to meet people in our new community and local FCA was a huge draw.
The getaway was just shy of 24 hours long. We checked-in to the hotel and chatted with a few people before dinner at 6 pm and our first session. It was clear our FCA hosts structured the weekend to create space for couples to spend time together, as well as encouragement. After dinner and a quick host introduction, we were sent out for the night.
Ordell and I ordered coffee at a place around the corner from the hotel, found a booth and pulled up 36 Questions to Bring You Closer on my phone. We did not need to check our watches to relieve the babysitter, so we took our time answering questions we rarely take the time to ask otherwise.
The next morning, we began with 7:30 breakfast and 4 sessions. First, testimony from a local D1 basketball coach and his wife. They talked about recent life challenges and highlighted the things that had carried them through the stress. I appreciated their transparency and reminders of how to bloom where God plants us.
Our main speakers, Tim and Anne Rulo, did an excellent job. Anne is a licensed marriage and family counselor, Tim, a football coach. They presented principles to focus on in both the marriage and coaching relationships. They focused on practical things in the coaching life as well as communication techniques.
My favorite session was on apology languages. This was new information to Ordell and me, and we know we will use it in our marriage communication as well as with our kids and team. At the end of this session, we were given 30 minutes and 4 questions to discuss on a walk. Again, space for connection was carved out. There is something special that happens when you are given the assignment to ask and answer hard questions. It creates space to be vulnerable with each other.
I can’t think of a better way to enter football season (which for us now runs June-November) than to begin by taking the time to focus on God and our marriage. To walk away with new communication tools is a huge bonus. 17 years into our marriage we are still learning and growing both as individuals and together thanks to FCA.
We’re looking forward to attending this year as well! We can’t wait to hear from Tim and Anne again. Will you join us? You can check out the details and register HERE!
**Pictures used with permission
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