5 Reasons Why You & Your Spouse Should Spend The Weekend At A Marriage Retreat

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How To Save Your Marriage & Fix Your Relationship By Going To A Couples Retreat

If you're wondering how to save your marriage when your relationship with your spouse seems to be dwindling, it's time to consider going on a couples retreat.

No one argues with the need to head out of town for product training or team building for work. But why attend a marriage retreat for something that should just come naturally to a couple? After all, this is marriage, not a new software package.

RELATED: 5 Things To Know Before Taking A Couples Retreat To Save Your Marriage

Well, okay. But, we could get a little cheeky-metaphorical here and suggest that attending a marriage retreat actually is about a software package. It’s about troubleshooting and updating the software that’s been running — or ruining — your married life.

You might be asking yourself, "Is my marriage over?" 

Statistics reveal the tendency of most couples to procrastinate when it comes to working on their relationships. Not only do most couples fail to take a preemptive approach to their relationship success, but they also wait an average of six years before sending up smoke signals for help after discontent sets in.

A lot can happen in that amount of time! It probably didn’t take you six years to fall in love. And it probably didn’t take that long to start forgetting why you did fall in love and got married.

So if you’re wondering, "Why attend a marriage retreat intensive weekend?", take a hard look at where you started…and where you are. Then ask yourself — and one another — if your relationship is as satisfying and happy as you want it to be.

Perhaps you’ve been at this marriage thing for a while.

You’re long past the first-child perfectionism, you’ve got the minivan dual-side doors on voice control, and you and your spouse run your enterprise like ships on calm water, passing in the night.

If you are marriage veterans, you’re probably entrenched in a routine that has been creating itself for years. So much so that you may not have noticed the encroachment of dissatisfaction. Or you’ve swept problems under the rug rather than talking them through because you don’t know if they can be resolved.

The resignation to being "successfully functional" in marriage is an unfortunate underestimation of all that a relationship can and should be. It happens as a result of focusing on "just getting through" the days and the obligations — and taking one another for granted.

Perhaps you are at the other end of the spectrum and need a rescue mission to save your marriage. Maybe you are frantically looking for help on how to fix a broken marriage and don’t know where to start or fear it’s too late.

And why attend a marriage retreat intensive weekend when you can get a therapist to give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on your odds? Wouldn’t a going to a weekend retreat just put you into the veritable fishbowl and expose all your issues and flaws for a painfully long amount of time?

Far from being a paddle-promising trip to the principal’s office, a marriage retreat is an intensive refocus on the needs of your relationship.

It provides and helps you put into practice tools for rebuilding lost connection and trust. And it gives you the time and space to actually do constructive work and start to embed principles with lasting potential while you are there.

Most importantly, a marriage retreat is a safe, structured, professionally-guided, positive experience.

Here are 5 reasons why couples retreat will save your marriage and fix your relationship with your spouse.

1. You get time away

Okay, so it’s not parasailing in the Bahamas, but a marriage retreat is time away from the routine in which your relationship has been over-marinating. 

Unlike traditional therapy, which is usually one hour weekly, a marriage counseling retreat is a big chunk of time dedicated to your marriage. You’re not staring at a clock waiting for a therapist to say, 'Our time is up. See you next week?" Instead, you continue to interact, to stay in the moment of vulnerability, revelation, and progress. 

By committing to a marriage retreat intensive weekend, you make the mutual statement that your marriage is a priority. You also grant yourselves the opportunity to remember why you first fell in love.

RELATED: 7 Things To Look For In A Couples Retreat When You Want To Heal Your Marriage From Infidelity

2. You learn important relationship skills

It’s no secret that communication is everything — direct, indirect, verbal, or non-verbal. In one way or another, couples are always communicating. And when a relationship starts getting a little tarnished (or flat-out rusty), communication is always the solution to bring things back to their previous luster. 

People don’t listen well, and they don’t feel heard. When a couple gets to talk about their issues in the presence of compassionate professionals — especially a male/female team — they are safely guided into healthy communication practices. And they learn the rules of communication that guarantee fairness and proper boundaries.

3. There is equal representation

If you have been to traditional couples’ therapy, you may know the underlying tension from competing for the therapist’s favor. There’s two of you, one of them, and chances are, the therapist will take the side of one of you. Or so you think. Or maybe even hope.

In a marriage retreat intensive weekend, you have the benefit of having a team of therapists. The energy is balanced, as are the numbers. And the added benefit is that the couple can learn from watching successful communication and resolution practices by the therapists.

4. You'll rekindle the spark

It’s complicated to rediscover what lit your fire way back when if you are coming home to the same routine with no sabbatical.

The intensive work done during a marriage retreat is deep, honest, revealing, and ultimately re-invigorating to your relationship.

5. You'll keep a unified front

It’s only natural that a marriage left to its own wits will start to take on two different directions. How else could spouses end up "going their separate ways"? 

Remembering that you came together for a reason is vital if you are going to keep your strength as a couple. A marriage counseling retreat will focus on refortifying that unity while nourishing the individuals who may feel weakened in the relationship.

So if you are still wondering, "Why should we attend a marriage retreat?", ask yourself if your relationship software is up-to-date. And if it’s behind a few generations, why not get away for a little product brush-up and team-building?

RELATED: 7 Last-Ditch Ways To Save Your Marriage (When You Feel Hopeless)

Dr. Jerry Duberstein is a couples therapist and his partner, Mary Ellen Goggin, is a relationship guide. They offer private couples retreats, couples counseling and coaching (telephone, Skype, or in person) in the quaint seaport, Portsmouth, NH. To learn more schedule a 1/2 hour complimentary consultation.​

This article was originally published at The Free & Connected blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.