Marriage Intensive: Four Common Problems We Work With
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Marriage Intensive: Four Common Problems We Work With

Troubled marriages are relationships of extremes. Longstanding grievances, learning about an affair, endless trivial battles or the deadness of pretending it's okay when it's not. All of them are heartbreaking and couples come seeing understanding and relief. Private one-to-one Marriage Therapy Intensives are designed to help. What are some common issues couples have that we work on in a marriage intensive?

Here are four presenting issues we frequently see in our marriage intensives:

(1) "Last Shot" Marriage Intensive

If your marriage is in severe pain you need more than just an hour a week with a licensed psychotherapist. 

If you are in severe crisis, a marriage intensive helps you to step away from your everyday life. The newness of the environment helps, as does the total focus on their relationship and what it means to each of you.

In addition, intensive marriage counseling is often a "Last Shot" for couples when weekly couples therapy did not help.

If you are on the verge of divorce, you need a single laser-like clinical focus. You need a specialist, not a generalist.

You both need kindness and skilled care to move you out of your "stuck" positions. 

Couples in a Last Shot Marriage intensive sometimes are beyond fighting. They've just too exhausted to fight anymore.

.You want in-depth, specific direction and explicit help from an advanced practitioners  to help them figure out how to renew and revitalize their marriage...particularly if you have just about given up hope about.

An intensive retreat can restore hope.

But hope is not a method. You also want to know not only "can this marriage be saved..." but should it be.

That requires the best that science can provide about how real couples get along and how they heal when in pain.

You'll need an excellent high level of clinical evaluation.  

This marital evaluation we call: a "State of the Union" assessment. It's done as a part of each marriage intensive we conduct.


(2) The "Endless Fighting" Marriage Intensive 

If you are in this type of marriage,  each of you are blinded by the pain of a repetitive hostility. Every word you utter seems to be taken the wrong way, with the worst possible interpretation. They is no goodwill between you.  Neither of you give the other the "benefit of the doubt."

Your spouse seems to believe you are out to get them, make their lives miserable, thwart and undermine their every action.

You can't open your mouth without starting an argument.  

And you're tired of it.

Every effort to change the way you relate is a Herculean effort that is seldom effective. Like crabs in a bucket, when one of you tries to climb out of the negative fighting cycle, the other one appears to pull you back into it. There is no "cease fire."  No down time from being on edge.  No rest.

gray divorce
Fights are chronic and never resolved in these couples seeking a marriage intensive.

How Intensive Marriage Counseling helps

Couples caught in the "endless fighting" issue are in a repetitive argument that doesn't seem to have a resolution. It's driving them to sheer misery.  

Did you know that just two arguments a week keeps you and your household in a constant state of tension?

The kids pick up on it. Everyone is on edge. There is no real peace, just an uneasy truce.

And it really impacts your nervous system and immune system. It drive good marriages to end. It's that intolerable.

A therapeutic marriage intensive breaks the cycle. You'll have the time to delves deeply into the source of the conflict, and to release the tension. You'll begin to talk honestly and directly from their heart. You'll also learn new techniques, time-tested by over forty years of clinical research, to keep the conversation flowing freely and respectfully. You'll learn that conflict doesn't have to lead to misery. Both of you will learn how to settle the disagreement when it arises quickly and effectively.

(3) "The Regrettable Incident" Intensive Marriage Counseling Retreat

What is a "regrettable incident?"

It can be many things. Maybe you thought immediately about an affair, but there are many other types of betrayals.

  • It might be the private information you shared with someone else that deeply wounded your husband or wife.
  • It could have been the fight where you took another person's side against your spouse. 
  • Still others are still angry about that decision you both disagreed about, but you went ahead with it anyway. There wasn't enough conversation. It was just a unilateral decision.
forgiveness after an affair

A regrettable incident could be an affair, a violation of trust, or a hurtful fight never forgotten.

And of course if one of you had sex outside the marriage, that's a regrettable incident. Even if you now considers it a "terrible lapse in judgment."

Maybe it was finding out your spouse quitting their job, or suddenly accepting a position in another state.

It doesn't have to be a "big deal" to anyone but you. Or your partner. 

An affair can leave both anger, resentful, bitter or distant. "Tit for tat" affairs can be powerfully damaging.

When an incident gets thrown up, again and again in a fight, like a vampire that refuses to die, this is a regrettable incident.

The p​ro​cess of healing a regrettable incident is a hard proces​s to explain.

It happens in a marriage intensive when one partner really "gets" why the regrettable event was so painful. They communicate this understanding in a new way. It is a moment-by-moment reality that a skilled therapist leans into. There is no half-hearted apologies. Their partner feels their emotional regret. They feels true sympathy and empathy from them, and suddenly can truly accept that the apology comes with true regret and sorrow. One moves into and through their own blind spots into a deeper emotional resonance. 

Healing occurs.

(4) Focus of a Marriage Intensive: "'Everything is really okay...'"

Have you been proud of the fact that you both "never fight"?Avoiding conflict looks like a good thing. 

You can compare themselves to other couples and feel lucky.

"We're doing okay compared to Frank and Marge..." 

Often you don't feel entitled to your misery. "We should be happy" that we aren't like Frank and Marge next door, who struggle with unemployment, affairs, or substance abuse.

But there is a staleness between them.

True joy, laughter, deep satisfaction, and emotional or sexual vibrancy is absent. Even vacations can leave these couples feeling quiet disconnection. Often they live lives that appear friendly and efficient, but passionless.

They talk themselves into believing that they're" just expecting too much" from one another.

While there is no fighting between these couples, there is also no spontaneous joy.  There is a staleness between them. They come to a marriage intensive to bring back the life, enthusiasm and passion they're missing.

This is superficially true. If they slow down enough to reflect on it, they know they are not truly content. Why they aren't satisfied, however, can be a puzzle to them. Nevertheless, a lust for life evades them.

Our Marriage Intensives are a unique opportunity to pause and reset. Recharge and reassess. Develop a deeper appreciation for what brought you together and what's keeping you apart. And bring back the energy.

One Couple. One Weekend. One Exceptionally Trained Professional.

At Couples Therapy Inc, our unparalleled professional couples therapy team work one-on-one with a single couple over the two and one-half day marriage therapy intensive. This private, highly-focused environment helps couples not only learn new science-based couples communications strategies, but begin to apply and rehearse this training using real issues that are dear to them both.

You'll complete an extensive couples assessment online before you attend the intensive. This helps uncover hidden barriers or problems that will be effectively addressed during the marriage intensive itself. Unlike group retreats, which work on more general problems, our marriage intensives offer both of you one-to-one clinical attention. We'll enable you to quickly focus on your core issues and see your struggles in a new light.

Our carefully-researched approach produces not only initial breakthroughs, but when practiced at home, can result in long-term change. This marriage intensive is based on over 40 years of research on couples by the Gottman Institute. This practical knowledge provides the essential tools to improve your marriage long-term.

Reach out and call us to learn more about these unique marriage intensives.

*due to COVID-19, we have suspended all in-person retreats until further notice. To get on our mailing list, using our CONTACT form.

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