Let’s face it, if your marriage is in turmoil, you are looking to get relief as soon as possible. While weekly marriage counseling sessions can prove fruitful and you may even gain hope after the first session, the thought of waiting weeks or even months to determine the fate of your relationship may be nerve-wracking. For couples who want to be able to make a decision about the future of their marriage, marriage therapy retreats are the ideal opportunity to focus two days exclusively on their relationship. For those in an unhappy marriage, a therapy retreat can provide clarity with a setting for exploration that is not limited by the clock. Couples are able to tune out the distractions of their life and really be present with each other. As time passes, their defenses may come down and they are able to deal with their most challenging issues in a productive way.
One of the most earth-shattering things that happens when couples attend a marriage therapy retreat is that they are able to view their relationship from a new perspective. This takes place through the various psycho-educational pieces that are taught. This new information can help create a paradigm shift so that couples can really understand what’s going on in their relationship. Instead of getting stuck in the details, couples develop a broader perspective of their marriage crisis and are able to move forward more effectively. Retreats also provide an opportunity for couples to learn new processes that they can implement on a daily basis. This provides the much needed tools that many of these couples lack in dealing with conflict and moving towards relational health.
If you are searching for marriage therapy retreats, you will want to make sure whether you are interested in a group or private setting. While group settings do their best to ensure the privacy of each couple and you may not be required to share your personal story in public, some couples would prefer to keep their anonymity and opt for a more private setting. Another advantage of a private setting is that the couple has the full attention of the therapist for the duration of the retreat. When I work with a couple, I will spend two days (12 hours total) with them directly working on their specific issues. This type of attention is not possible when in a group. One advantage of a group is that can be less intense and it can be helpful to hear that other couples may facing similar struggles. It helps normalize the situation.
Whatever setting you choose, it is crucial to have follow-up. Many couples can be inspired with hope for their relationship, but the key is following through. In our busy lives, despite our best intentions, it is not always easy to keep up the momentum on our own. That’s why I always tell couples that they should expect, at the minimum, a few follow-up sessions so that we can build on what we learned in the marriage therapy retreat. These sessions provide the couple with some accountability. It is way too easy to revert to old habits. Follow-up allows for couples to stay on track with their new changes and continue to make the day-to-day progress for real lasting change.
Any couple could benefit from taking the time out of their busy lives to focus on their marriage. Marriage therapy retreats are a great opportunity to revitalize a stale or unhappy marriage or just make a good marriage great. In general, those in acute crisis are more likely to choose this option. This can include a couple that is contemplating divorce and trying to make a last ditch effort to save the marriage, a premarried couple unsure if they should tie the knot, and couples that are finding themselves stuck and not making sufficient progress in weekly sessions.
As a clinician, I have found marriage therapy retreats to produce amazing results. And it’s not just the hype and inspiration but real hope and a new path for being in a relationship with one another. Couples return to their original sense of connection which is the real underlying truth beneath the conflict; a truth that gets concealed too easily. The challenge is to keep that connection front and center and not to slip back into old patterns. With enough consciousness, couples learn how to remain aware and acquire a new skill set with which to build a loving relationship.
Learn more on how to avoid divorce in our Marriage Counseling Guide.