I believe in marriage retreats, and at our church we promote the Weekend to Remember getaways, sponsored by Family Life Ministries. But it’s also possible to plan a do-it-yourself retreat. Every couple, for example, needs a regular date night, a periodic little trip here or there, and a way of celebrating anniversaries. And when it’s a milestone anniversary — fifth, tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, etc. — a special trip is in order, if possible. Katrina and I have tried to do that, but we missed Number 35; and although we thought we’d never try another overseas trip due to disability, we couldn’t bypass the allure of Frequent Flyer miles.
I can’t say it was all that easy. Paris isn’t known for handicapped accessibility. Few places in Europe are wheelchair friendly. For all their charm, cobblestones are rough for those with mobility issues. Bathrooms are usually down narrow, dark winding sets of stone stairs. Hotels are old and ill-equipped for accessibility. Stores have steps and stoops. Elevators don’t always work (as we found out the hard way). And, of course, the flight there and back is no easy task. We had a few challenging moments, but isn’t that indicative of marriage itself?
With the help of Sage Travel, which specializes in wheelchair accessible trips to European cities, we found a well-located hotel that had enough accessible features to be workable. It wasn’t perfect by any means; but we made it work by sheer willpower. We handled the cobblestones by buying a pair of shoe laces and tying Katrina’s feet to the pedals of her wheelchair so they wouldn’t bounce off. And most of the time my bride was all smiles. Here are a few photos in hopes that if you’re married you’ll start working on your next marriage retreat. We’re already thinking about Number 40!