Finding the right Marriage Retreat for your troubled relationship might seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be.
Here's a quick guide with useful questions to ask to find one that fits both of your needs.
(1) Take Your Own "Relationship Inventory:"
The types of answers you give to these questions will determine whether an "enrichment"-based group setting are the best marriage retreats for you, or whether you need more private, individual attention.
The best marriage counseling retreats for couples needing clinical help contain the following credentials and training:
Not all those who advertise "retreats" are licensed clinical professionals. Some do have a license and some have no formal clinical training at all. Be sure to ask what type of clinical license they have and from what state or province.
(2) What's the soonest we can arrive?
The best couple retreats to meet your needs may also be the most popular. It is no surprise to find senior certified marriage counselors in high demand, and booked several months in advance.
Be realistic. Determine which marriage counseling retreat is the best one for you, and wait for it. Call a "moratorium" on fighting or decisions about whether to stay together or get divorced, if you need to.
Focus on getting the right help and stop trying to hammer it out between you without help. A few more months of tension will pale in comparison to getting most qualified help you need.
(3) Can I talk directly to the person running the couples retreat?
You'll be putting your marriage in the hands of the person running the marriage retreat. Read their profile carefully. Ask to speak to the professional. Have a list of questions ready and get answers to your most pressing ones.
If you don't find these answers readily available on their website, ask directly:
(4) How many days will the marriage retreat be?
(5) What type of preparations are you expecting from us before we arrive?
(6) Do you provide accommodations or do we locate our own?
(7) Are you "Marriage Friendly"?
This is a term coined because so many therapists, hold a “neutral” stance towards whether a marriage survives or not.
In one study, over 60% were "neutral" about whether couples stayed married or divorced. A few licensed professional MFT's (2.4%) actually said they frequently suggest divorce! (1)
A large percentage of couples regret divorce when it's finalized. Scientific research finds that even couples well-suited to be married, go through periods when their marriages seem "hopeless."
For this reason, the marriage counselor should be the last person in the room "suggesting" divorce.
There is a registry of "marriage friendly therapists" that directly support the viability of troubled marriages. Find out if the person running your marriage retreat is one of them.
(8) Do you hold follow-ups after the Marriage Retreat is over?
Your professional holding the marriage retreat will get to know you both very, very well. However, any marriage retreat held over 2, 3, or 4 days requires taking in and processing a lot of information.
Not everything gets digested at the marriage retreat itself. Couples can sometimes struggle when they attempt to apply that information when they arrive home.
Many professionals who hold marriage retreats offer online or in-person follow-ups, to solidify your learning and get you over the rough spots when you return home. We have an educational arm called Fabulous Spouse dedicated to follow-up support.
Find out if the one you've investigating does so as well. Licensing may be an issue here and outside of your counselor's hands. Check to see if that's the case, and if so, how will they be able to still help.
Invest wisely. Find the best Marriage Retreat you can afford.
Group Marriage Workshops
The costs for group sessions can cost between $650-$7500.
Two popular ones to research are The Art and Science of Love and Hold Me Tight workshops. They both are typically $650-$750 in price. These group retreats have a clearly laid out program focusing on what we know about how couples succeed in love.
Private Marriage Counseling Retreats
The costs of some of the best private marriage counseling retreats with a licensed professional can run between $3,000 to $12,000+ per couple across the USA.
Beware! Some individuals who lead these private retreats have no license at all. Facilitators of these couple retreats still charge as much as $8000 or more for a weekend because they are listed in "review sites" as "Highly Rated."
Be a wise consumer.
Our own couple retreats offer a choice of 10 Certified Gottman Therapist, four of which are Senior Gottman Therapists training other licensed professionals. Others have advanced training in both Gottman and EFT models of science-based couples therapy. Our couples retreats average $3500. Higher for certified therapists.
But keep in mind that divorce is far more costly, not only financially, but emotionally as well.
Take the time to find the best marriage retreat you can locate within your budget, and commit yourself to participating in it fully.
(1) Wall, J., Needham, T, Browning, D.S. & James, 1999 The ethics of relationality: The moral views of therapists engaged in marriage and family therapy. Family Relations, 48, 139-49.