Marriage retreats give couples the chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Removed from the stresses of children, careers, and housework, couples get the opportunity to work on themselves. At some marriage counseling retreats, couples get to spend time in individualized couples therapy as well as group therapy. At other marriage retreats, however, therapy may not be such a prominent part of the program, and instead, couples will get to engage in exercises and activities that help them strengthen their marital bonds. These retreats can be useful for couples in all stages of marriage. While some couples wait until they are on the brink of divorce to attend a retreat, others sign up for a retreat to prepare for marriage. Still, others start to look for retreats when they first feel that their relationships are getting a little rocky. You should consider for your children that if they and their future spouse experience parental divorce, their own odds of divorce nearly triple.
1) Marriage Quest
Location: Cabot, Vermont
Marriage Quest has been offering private marriage retreats in Vermont for about twenty years. One of the best programs available today, Marriage Quest is run by Dr. Israel Helfand and his wife Cathie Helfand. Before offering retreats, this couple ran a family therapy office for many years. Their marriage retreats are located on their picturesque Vermont farmstead. At the retreat they address a range of issues from dealing with affairs to empty-nest syndrome. The Helfand’s try to ensure neither partner ever feels ganged up on during a session while maintaining a focus on healing and growth instead of what’s wrong with their relationship. This unique approach is further solidified by Israel’s many years of experience as a sex therapist. While some retreats might shy away from the subject, Marriage Quest, considers sex to be “the biggest prognostic tool in marriage.” Israel and Cathie believe that if there was attraction in the beginning it can always be rekindled, even after years of disconnect. Their retreats are with just the two of them and one couple at a time. Pictured below: Cathie and Israel Helfand.
Related Article: How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost?
2) Marriage Retreats with John Grey
Phone: 707-536-5781 Locations: Sonoma County, California
Marriage Retreats with John Grey offer more than just talking. John focuses on giving couples the tools they need to thrive and prosper. His evidence-based approach is founded in current neuroscience and attachment research. Dr. John Grey has a name similar to Dr. John Gray, the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” However, a name is not the only thing that these two men share. They also have a mutual admiration for each other. In fact, John Grey was included on Dr. John Gray’s preferred list of marriage couples counselors. John has been giving marriage retreats for over 25 years. In a retreat a couple acquires powerful new tools and strategies that are tailored to their particular situation, needs and personalities. John helps couples repair ruptures, heal from infidelity, defuse conflict and reactive cycles, communicate effectively, dissolve emotional walls, overcome sexual blocks, reconnect and renew intimacy. Retreats take place in beautiful Sonoma County, California (pictured below).
3) Sedona Soul Adventures
4) Marriage Rescue Associates
Phone: 704-464-1912 Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Marriage Rescue Associates offers Christian-based intensive retreats for couples in crisis. Many couples who visit their retreat are separated, already filed for divorce, or are already divorced. Founders John and Wendy Godfrey (pictured below) “help couples where there seems to be no hope”. They claim to have over a 90% success rate, so there is every reason to have hope! The Godfreys’ tell interested couples to “expect a miracle because we see them many many times!”
Their intensive retreats are for either 3 days in a row ($2795), 4 days in a row ($3695) or 5 days in a row ($4595) Food and lodging are not included. The intensive retreat is completely private; they don’t do groups. They also see non-Christian couples frequently.
You can learn more on how to avoid divorce in our Marriage Counseling Guide.
5) LIFE Marriage Retreats
Phone: 877-376-7127 Locations: Utah, Texas, California
When couples sign up for an all-inclusive experience at LIFE Marriage Retreats, they get the chance to focus on their specific marital goals and explore long-term solutions rather than focusing on short-term solutions that can quickly disintegrate. For the duration of the retreat, and one price, each couple receives their own private bedroom and bathroom suite, gourmet meals, first-class training, private counseling, and exciting activities. Working with the counselors at this retreat, couples learn about how to deal with issues of trust, resentment and communication.
LIFE’s three-member team of professionals facilitate all small group retreats together and have been successfully saving marriages for over a decade. They are committed to providing each couple with a truly transformative experience and sending them home with everything they need to create their ideal relationship and maintain it for the rest of their life. Apart from their small group retreats with 4-6 couples, LIFE also offers Exclusive Private Retreats and an In-Home Marriage Rescue.
Pictured below: Gerry and Margo Dye, founders of LIFE Marriage Retreats.
6) The Gottman Institute: Marriage Counseling Retreats
Sadly, many vacations are ruined by tension or squabbling. The Gottmans understand why this occurs, and they have built a set of marriage retreats that are designed to combat this problem. Couples who attend marriage retreats at the Gottman Institute get to enjoy a relaxing vacation in the stunning Orcas Island, Washington. There, they can enjoy activities ranging from golf to hiking to fine dining, but this relaxing vacation also offers therapy. Working with Dr. John Gottman and his Julie Schwartz Gottman, couples will learn to be more intimate, find their true goals, and strengthen their bonds of friendship.
7) Retrouvaille Marriage Retreats
Retrouvaille means rediscovery in French, and couples who come to one of the Retrouvaille marriage retreats get the chance to rediscover each other. They get a reminder of why they fell in love in the first place. While many marriage retreats only last for a few days, Retrouvaille offers a series of marriage retreats over a three-month period. These programs are offered in areas all around the country as well as some international locations. At these retreats, couples are encouraged to focus primarily on communication. Once they learn to communicate positively and effectively, couples will have the tools that they need to move forward in a healthy way.
Related Article: 7 Tips to Finding a Great Marriage Counselor
8) Marriage Boot Camp
Marriage Boot Camp is one of the most intensive four-day marriage retreats in the US, and it allows couples to gain the tools that they need to survive. Rather than focusing on counseling, couples play mental games, complete drills, and do experimental competitions that have been designed to bring them closer together. Typically, these activities run from ten in the morning until eleven at night during the first three days of the boot camp and from ten in the morning to nine at night during the last day of the camp. The guide-to-attendee ratio is very low at these camps, and usually, at least one facilitator is available for every four participants. Located in Plano, Texas, Marriage Boot Camp costs about $1,200 per couple. It is important to note that prices are subject to change, and the camp does offer scholarships to couples who need financial assistance.
Related Article: 6 Best Types of Marriage Counseling
An alternative: The Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp
The interesting thing about this “retreat” is that you don’t have to go anywhere; it’s a home based program that utilizes an audio learning system, teleconferences, and a workbook. As such, it’s more economical than the other retreat options that have higher costs and require travel too. The program was created and is hosted by relationship expert Mort Fertel. Marriage Fitness is a step-by-step relationship-changing system that’s been used by over 2,000,000 people, most of whom are on the brink of divorce suffering from infidelity, separation, or broken trust. There’s a Duo Track for couples, and a Lone Ranger track for people doing the program alone dealing with an adamant spouse. The program claims a 90% success rate.