The Beauty of Connection

I am so excited that Connect Marriage Retreat is just around the corner!  This is our fourth year of attending, and I can hardly wait for it to arrive.  

What happens at Connect is hard to put into words.  It is the vulnerability, friendship, love, hope, and inspiration as we share the commonality in the struggles and successes of marriage, parenting, and working together in business with all the couples that attend.

Connect has created mile markers in Jeff & I's relationship that as I look back, I can see the growth and impact that this week has had on our relationship with each passing year.

The first year was a year of vulnerability for us.  As we shared our story and the challenges that threaten to destroy us as a couple, and yet our sheer gratitude that our love had persevered, and the challenges had made us stronger.  It was remarkable to see other couples impacted by our story and how God can create beauty from our ashes.

The second year was significant in that we were in the midst of a major life transition as Jeff was living in California and I was still in Illinois selling our business, our home, preparing for our daughter's wedding and what we hoped would be a awaited move across the country to join Jeff.  The support we felt as we shared our vision and the fear we had as we risked it all to follow our hearts was unforgettable.  We felt loved and connected as other couples stood with us and encouraged us in our journey.

Last year, was a year of conflict and triumph as we struggled through delivering the message on our hearts which mirrored the struggle in our lives as we continued to transition as a couple and a family in our new life.  Those moments of laughter with each other and old & new friends meant more to us than I realized.  Once again, we left encouraged and inspired to love each other well and trust the outcome.

This year feels very significant already as it will mark 25 years of marriage for Jeff & I.  I am not sure how that is possible?!?  As we work through the message on our hearts for Connect this year, I have never been more aware that the hard work of marriage and a lifetime of love is the greatest gift another human being can offer another.  Jeff was my best friend when we got married, and that friendship continues to grow every day.

I am so thankful for Connect Marriage Retreat hosted by Zach & Jody Gray in Rome Georgia, and I am beyond grateful for the connection it has offered us through friendships with others and growth together as a couple.  

If you are attending, I can't wait to see you in a few weeks.  If you are interested in getting more information about attending, you can check it out at

Julia Woods1 Comment