Marriage retreats enable couples time away from everyday routines to help rejuvenate their relationship as a married couple. In a recent research article in Psychotherapy it is noted that significant improvement in relationship satisfaction can result from couples therapy, evidencing that retreats may be beneficial for couples in any stage of marriage, whether they are on the brink of divorce or preparing for marriage.
1) Marriage Quest
Phone: 802-563-3063 Location: Cabot, Vermont
Marriage Quest has been offering private marriage retreats in Vermont for over 25 years and is run by Dr. Israel Helfand and his wife, Cathie Helfand. Before offering these retreats, this couple maintained a family therapy practice which they began in 1983, where they provided couples therapy together – one couple at a time. Their marriage retreats are located on the premises of their charming Vermont farmstead. At each retreat, they address a range of issues from crisis intervention (i.e., consideration by either member of the couple of ending the marriage), to marital bond enhancement, promoting increased emotional and/or sexual intimacy. The Helfands try to ensure that each partner feels heard and not blamed for any type of marriage discord, they also focus on healing and growth instead of marriage failures. This unique approach is further solidified by Israel Helfand’s years of experience as a sex therapist. While some retreats 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 an attraction between partners in the beginning, the potential exists for it to be rekindled. Unlike many other retreats, their retreats are limited to one couple at a time. For cost information, contact the Helfands. Pictured below: Cathie and Israel Helfand.
Related Article by Dr. David Helfand: When to Walk Away From a Sexless Marriage
2) Marriage Retreats with John Grey
Phone: 707-536-5781 Locations: Sonoma County, California
Marriage Retreats with John Grey will be solely conducting online virtual retreats using Zoom rather than meeting in person.
Marriage Retreats with John Grey offer more than just a place to interact with a trained psychologist. As a research psychologist at Stanford University, John is able to focus on providing couples with the tools they need to increase their bond as a couple – you do not need to be married to attend Dr. Grey’s retreat. His evidence-based approach is founded on current neuroscience and attachment research. For over 25 years, John has offered couples retreats that promote acquisition by offering specific tools and strategies tailored to their situation. In fact, the famous author (“Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”) who shares a similar name, Dr. John Gray, included Dr. Grey on his preferred list of marriage couples counselors. Besides strengthening the interpersonal relationship, John aids couples to repair ruptures, heal from infidelity, defuse conflict and reactive cycles, communicate effectively, overcome sexual blocks, and renew intimacy. Retreats take place in beautiful Sonoma County, California (shown below).
Cost: The cost per-couple is $2950 per day. Note: A “standard day” consists of two 3-hour sessions, for 6 hours total. Standard retreats are between 3 and 5 standard days.
3) Sedona Soul Adventures
Location: Sedona, Arizona
Sedona Soul Adventures is open and following all CDC Guidelines and state requirements. They are also offering At Home Retreats via Zoom for both couples and individuals.
Sedona Soul Adventures was founded by Debra Stangl and offers incredible scenery and a custom-designed retreat for each couple in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Sedona Soul Adventures’ marriage retreats (among others) emphasizes that no two couples are alike. Therefore, their retreats will typically not be configured in exactly the same way as another couple’s retreat. The focus is on healing while in a romantic haven, in which you will work in private sessions with experienced practitioners. Sedona Soul Adventures has been offering retreats since 2002 and works with over 40 practitioners, many of whom have over 20 years of couples counseling experience.
Cost: Each retreat at Sedona Soul Adventure is a personalized blend of sessions, there is no one single price. On average, most people find 3-5 full days create the best results. A Soul Adventure of that length will range from $2,475 to $3,975 (per person) or more for the private sessions. Other cost considerations are your lodging and transportation.
You can learn more about how to avoid divorce in our Marriage Counseling Guide.
4) LIFE Marriage Retreats
Phone: 877-376-7127 Locations: Utah, Texas, California, Florida
Since retreat sites are located in four different states (with different state Covid-19 pandemic regulations), contact LIFE Marriage Retreats to ascertain the Covid-19 necessitated changes.
LIFE Marriage Retreats offer couples an all-inclusive experience. They get the chance to focus on their specific relationship goals and explore long-term solutions to meet their needs. For the duration of the retreat, each couple receives the following: couples’ own private bedroom and bathroom suite, gourmet meals, first-class training, private counseling, and choice of other activities. LIFE Marriage Retreats’ three-member team of professionals facilitate all small group retreats and have been successfully saving marriages for over a decade. They are committed to providing each couple with a transformative experience and sending them home with everything they need to create their ideal relationship and maintain it for the rest of their lives together. Besides their small group retreats (maximum of 4-6 couples), LIFE Marriage Retreats also offers exclusive private retreats.
Cost: Small group marriage retreats are priced according to location, and generally range from $3895 to $4395 per couple. One-on-one retreats are quoted individually and start at $9495.
Pictured below: Gerry and Margo Dye, founders of LIFE Marriage Retreats.
5) The Gottman Institute: Marriage Counseling Retreats
Phone: 206-313-0471 Location: Orcas Island, Washington
Only virtual Private Couples Retreats offered via teleconferencing software are now available: all in-person retreats are currently on hold.
The Gottman Institute, run by Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, offers more than 40 years of research in marriage counselling combined with 45 years of clinical work with couples, families and individuals. This professional couple understand why relationships between couples disintegrate, and they have built a set of marriage retreats that are designed to combat such relationship disintegration. Their goal is to help you identify and reach goals within the relationship, in order to strengthen couples’ bonds with each other as well as commitment to each other.
Cost: At the current time, online retreats (via teleconferencing software) per couple: $4,500. In-person retreats currently (and tentatively) scheduled to resume in Summer 2021, with costs not yet finalized.
6) Retrouvaille Marriage Retreats
Phone: 800-470-2230 Location: Nationwide
Each local Retrouvaille Community can discuss the precautions they are taking when you inquire about or register for their Weekend.
Retrouvaille means rediscovery in French. Catholic in origin, this Christian marriage program enables attendees of any of the Retrouvaille Marriage Retreats to get the chance to rediscover each other that led to choosing marriage with each other. 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.
Cost: Vary by location
Related Article: 7 Tips to Finding a Great Marriage Counselor
7) Marriage Boot Camp
Location: Allen and Plano, TX
The precautions Marriage Boot Camp is taking due to the Covid-19 pandemic can be found here.
Marriage Boot Camp is one of the most intensive four-day marriage retreats in the US and allows couples to acquire tools that they need to survive as a couple. 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 10 AM – 11 PM during the first three days of the boot camp, and then from 10 AM – 9 PM on 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. It is important to note that prices are subject to change, and the camp does offer scholarships to couples who need financial assistance.
Cost: $900 – $1200
Related Article: 6 Best Types of Marriage Counseling
8) Imago Relationships
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Contact Imago Relationships to learn the Covid-19 precautions currently in place at the geographic location targeted by you for attendance in a couples workshop.
Imago Relationships offers couples workshops and therapy based on a program developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. The core of the program is founded on the concept of imago (a Latin word that refers to the unconscious image of familiar love). Since what is learned about love as a child affects intimate relationships in adulthood, these are included as issues impacting marriage relationships. During the Imago Relationships retreats, participants are encouraged to identify and explore core issues affecting their relationship. As illustrated in Dr. Hendrix’s book titled Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, learning and teaching the “Imago Dialogue”, couples are assisted through therapy sessions to move from blame and reactivity to understanding and empathy. Imago sponsors workshops all over the country, including ones directed specifically at same-sex couples.
Cost: Varies by location
9) Couples Therapy, Inc.
Contact Couples Therapy, Inc. to learn the Covid-19 precautions currently in place at the geographic location targeted by you for attendance in a couples workshop.
Couples Therapy, Inc. offers two specific tracks: an intensive weekend retreat and online therapy. Whichever track you choose, the program begins with a “State of the Union” assessment. This part of the program enables you and a therapist to identify the issues that need addressing in your marriage. Based on 40 years of research, the Intensive Couples Retreat removes you from outside distractions so that you can focus on your relationship as a couple. Available in 12 languages, the Online Marriage Counseling option is designed for couples unable to attend “in-person”.
Cost: Varies based on the service chosen, the location, and the experience level of the therapist.
An alternative: The Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp
The interesting thing about this “retreat” is that you don’t have to go anywhere, as it’s a home-based program that utilizes an audio-learning system, virtual communication, and a workbook. As such, it is less expensive than the other retreat options described herein. Created by Mort Fertel, Marriage Fitness is a step-by-step relationship-changing system that has been used by over two million people (many of whom were on the brink of divorce prior to using the program). There is a “Duo Track” for couples and a “Lone Ranger” track for individuals utilizing the program.
Choosing the Right Couples Retreat
Finding the right retreat may only involve reviewing the retreat’s website to understand its focus and style, in order to ascertain the one most likely to meet your needs. Besides overall reputation, you need to consider whether your values and lifestyle are in accordance with that of the retreat organizers in order to determine if that retreat is a good “fit” for you.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many retreats are now offered online so that you do not have to travel anywhere to attend them. Given the added stress that so many couples are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic, a retreat may be a good idea even if your relationship bond as a couple feels strong. In-person retreats often range in price from $700 to $12,000, but the clear advantage of an online retreat is the cost. When it comes to picking a marriage retreat, do your homework, listen to your instinct and choose the one that feels most comfortable to both of you as a couple.
See the answers to the questions below for further information to assist you in considering whether a marriage retreat is right for you.
What is a Marriage Retreat?
A marriage retreat enables a married couple to focus on their relationship, typically located away from the couple’s family members and other commitments. Since marriage retreats often seek to rekindle couples’ romantic feelings for each other, they are often held in nature-filled, spacious, and serene surroundings.
What is the difference between marriage retreats and couples retreats?
Besides couples’ retreats often being designed as more of a romantic get-away than marriage retreats (some of which are specifically-geared to marriages where spouses are seeking an amicable separation or divorce), the primary difference is that religious organizations are more often the sponsors of marriage retreats as compared to couples retreats.
What happens at a marriage retreat?
As described above, it depends upon the retreat. Therefore, contacting the targeted retreat to obtain more information before enrolling is advisable.
Do marriage retreats work?
Like anything you do in life, much of the success in a marriage retreat depends upon the effort made by each member of the couple to utilize it to strengthen the bond of their relationship. However, stats show that there is a success rate in couples that attend marriage retreats.
How do you prepare for a marriage retreat?
Contact the marriage retreat you are targeting for their suggestions for preparing for their specific retreat.
How much do marriage retreats cost?
The cost varies tremendously between retreats. In-person retreats often range in price from $700 to $12,000. Take into consideration as to whether you will need to pay for transportation and/or lodging in addition to the cost of retreat attendance. This will impact the total financial cost to your retreat attendance.