Laura was contemplating the end of her marriage. She and her husband Bill had been married for eighteen years, and had two young children. The marriage was not in a major crisis, but was definitely in ‘maintenance’ mode. Sex was once a month unless it was someone’s birthday. They barely spoke to each other unless it was about the kids. And once lately she had walked in on Bill looking at pornography on the computer. Laura wondered if their relationship was in a rut, or if her marriage was heading for divorce like half of her friends and neighbors.
They had tried couples therapy, but after several sessions, Bill felt like he was being blamed for their problems and had “promised to be a good boy.” At this point Laura felt hopeless and confused. She wondered even if having an affair would change things. Is a failing marriage a result of long term monogamy or was there something deeper happening?
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Then she saw Hope Springs, the movie with Meryl Streep where she and her husband attend a five day Intensive retreat with a couples therapist, that focused on both getting away from their daily lives and taking an intensive look at their marriage. Laura had an idea.
Maybe, like in the movies, she and Bill could go on a couples retreat. “Maybe somewhere tropical,” she thought. She talked to Bill about a retreat destination that could offer a couples workshop as well as a beach, golf or scuba lessons, any incentive that might convince him to go with her. She wanted the therapy component as well, and hoped that if there was a sex therapy or sex enhancement class it might help them work on their dysfunctional communication.
Bill, to her surprise, agreed. “Of course I want to work on our marriage. And if we can do it in a week, and take a vacation too, why not?”
Laura and Bill found a Couples Workshop – mine. They came and spent the mornings in a small, intimate group with two other couples and worked on their marriage issues, and found ways to communicate about their needs. In the afternoon they went to the beach, took naps, and went sightseeing.
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The tropical environment helped bring back the romance in their relationship and reminded them of why they loved one another and what made them come together in the first place. And with a seasoned guide to help them with their personal frustrations, they used the time to increase their intimacy and connection.
The workshop helped Bill and Laura. Can a couples retreat really help any couple looking for help?