Christian Marriage Counseling - A Private Weekend Intensive Marriage Retreat Near You

We offer Christian Marriage Retreats for couples in crisis to speak to your troubled heart and heal your deepest betrayals. These Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats are relied upon by ministers and pastors for their OWN marriages.

Principled guidance blending science with age-old wisdom.

Imagine a more hopeful future. One that is guided by faith and enriched by intimate friendship.

Our Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats or online Christian Marriage Counseling offer you skilled professional help, ministerial spiritual leadership, and the wisdom of science-supported biblical guidance. Our Christian Couples Retreat are privately held by two remarkable clergy and one marriage and family therapist, all with clinical licenses and training in mental health with specialty certification in the science of happy couples. Our work provides an effective substitutive when local faith based couples retreats can't be found.

Rev. James Ramsey

Rev. Jim Ramsey blends religious principles as a Gottman-Certified Couples Therapist-  One of only 300 Worldwide.

For more than 49 years, Rev. Jim Ramsey, thrice ordained minister, Marriage and Family Therapist (#147), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (#134) and Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist (only about 300 worldwide!) has been helping couples see God's wisdom in Science-based couples therapy. We're proud to have him join our international group of all-star couples therapists at Couples Therapy Inc.
Rev. Ramsey holds his Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats in Missoula, Montana.

Dr. Doug Burford

Dr. Dough Burford is a minister, certified spiritual director, and authorized facilitator of two Gottman Institute workshops. He has advanced training in the Gottman Method.

Dr. Doug Burford is an ordained minister with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University,  a Licensed Professional Counselor (#2682), and has advanced training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy. He and his wife have been helping couples for decades. Doug holds his Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats in Overland Park, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri).

Kent MacEachern, LMFT

Kent MacEachern, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist who also has advanced training in the Gottman Method. He is a Certified Instructor and Trainer in the Interpersonal Communication Programs, Inc.

Kent MacEachern, LMFT has a Masters degree from Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri in Religion and Counseling. He has spent the last 39 years helping couples and has advanced training in the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy.  He is licensed as a Marriage & Family Therapist in South Carolina License (# 1136). He works in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

"I did not know if I could continue in the marriage. Kent MacEachern provided the guidance I needed to work toward resolution, and the understanding if it does not work, it was worth the effort to try.  Kent was unbiased, down to earth, compassionate, commanded knowledge of the materials and method given his years of experience. The therapy provided my wife a better understanding of where I am based on the support of Kent and his application of his knowledge. This will help both me and my wife understand how to proceed to work on necessary changes to how we think and act upon the issues we have."  - Recent Retreat Participant
"We had begun a couples therapy weekly regimen prior to attending. It didn't feel that we made much progress in our weekly sessions. Also the therapist seems to have to be reminded of our problems because she didn't seem to remember anything about us each week. Dr. Doug was very kind and easy to talk with. He was great at promoting spiritual involvement with out feeling preached to. And he listened to what we have done and adjusted anything he needed to meet our needs. He was absolutely great. We feel confident in our new tools and skills that Dr. Doug has taught us. He finds ways on conveying information and skills in a way that sticks and always you to reinforce and build on them. We had an amazing experience with Couples Therapy Inc. The whole process has helped us so much. My husband and I feel like we have a renewed relationship or new in general. We know each other on a deeper level that we never knew existed and now we can pursue getting stronger.
"We tried traditional counseling. My husband felt it was one-sided. I felt I wasn't ready to reconcile. It wasn’t successful at all. We had turned a corner after a year's separation, and both of us wanted to try one more shot before a divorce. We chose Couples Therapy because of the science behind the method, and the intense weekend therapy. James Ramsey was so good at explaining how women and men think and act differently. He didn’t judge one spouse over the other. He had our backgrounds and gave us insight into why our communication and actions were not working well together and caused our conflicts. Now we are understanding each other better and have the ability to talk about things calmly, not judging or becoming defensive. We've learned to be empathic to each other's needs and to consider compromise. And what words and actions have triggered past behavior."  Recent Retreat Participant

Gottman's Science-based Language & Biblical Language

Dr. Gottman began his research in 1972, in collaboration with Dr. Robert Levenson.  He's observed over 3,000 couples in his research lab.  He videotaped them talking about pleasant topics, and areas of continuing disagreement.  He monitored their heart rate, blood flow velocity, and sweat output, recording moment-by-moment changes. Endocrine and immune function measurements were also obtained. He used science to demonstrate age-old biblical teachings about human nature and relationships.  

Harsh Start-ups

Gottman found that 96% of the time, the way a discussion starts out predicts the way it will end. If you bring up an issue in a harsh way, there is only a 4% change that it will right itself.

Although seen occasionally with all couples, harsh start-ups are highly predictive of divorce when they are prevalent.

Biblical Language

Colossians 4:6  "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." 
Proverbs 15:4 "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
Philippians 4:5 "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."

Fondness and Admiration

Gottman emphasizes ways to actively enhance fondness and admiration in a relationship. How you look upon any particular interaction is going to impact how you respond to it. Is your spouse a loving, caring force in your life? Are they trying their best, or are they trying to take advantage of you? Are you grateful or resentful of their efforts to influence you and the direction of your family life?

We teach this to couples in our ongoing Christian Couples  Retreats and in Christian Counseling Online.

Biblical Language

Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Song of Solomon 41:15  "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh how beautiful. Your eyes are like doves beside the streams of water, bathed in milk and mounted like jewels. Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn sheep coming up from the washing; each has its twin, and not one is lost..."

Turning Toward Instead of Turning Away

"Little connections often."  Turning toward is subtle, and learning what to do to reconnect, when these small daily connections are missed, creates loving bonds. When one turns away or against these small bids for connection, partners are left lonely and isolated. Gottman refers to these as "deposits" or "withdrawals" from the Emotional Bank Account.

Biblical Language

Thessalonians 2:8  "So we cared for you.  Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
Romans 12:10  "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."

Stress Reducing Conversations

One aspect of Turning Toward is a daily exercise called 'Stress Reducing Conversations." It allows the couple to discuss outside stressors and get comfort from each other. It has been scientifically proven to reduce relapse.

Biblical Language

Romans 12:15  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
Philippians 4:14  "Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."

Perpetual Problems

The majority of problems couples experience in a marriage are perpetual. They are never going to evaporate. For this reason, Gottman refers to the need to "manage" marital conflicts and not "resolve" them. Learning how to dialogue about different perspectives with amusement, respect, and affection is the key.

Biblical Language

Ephesians 4:2  "Be patient with each other making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
2 Corinthians 12:9  "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient; for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."


Contempt puts someone down, and puts oneself on a higher plane. When partners feel superior, and act with belligerence, contempt becomes a habit of mind. This habit constantly scans the environment for people's faults and mistakes, rather than looks for what is positive or what to admire. It is the single best predictor of divorce.

Biblical Language

Proverbs 26:21  "A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers lights charcoal or fire lights wood."
Matthew 5:22  "...If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. If you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."

Rev. Jim Ramsey with his wife, Diane.

Doug and Claudia Burford

Kent and his wife Marsha

Rev. Jim Ramsey,  Dr. Doug Burford, and Kent MacEachern are three of 24 skilled couples therapists. They specialize in Christian marriage counseling. Rev. Ramsey practices in the far West (Montana). Dr. Burford practices Christian Marriage Counseling in the Midwest (Kansas City, MO) and Kent MacEachern works in the South (Charleston, SC). These are destination retreats.

Learn more about our Team

Ask us about our special pricing for ministers, rabbis, pastors, active missionaries and those in similar religious callings.

Contact Us Now to Get Back on the Right Track. 

Effective, powerful Christian Marriage Retreats for Couples in Crisis.

How to Select a Christian Marriage Counselor: Credentials, Faith and Commonsense.

Credentials in Conducting Counseling

In the tricky world of marriage counseling and marriage retreats, it becomes confusing to determine who is qualified to help your marriage in crisis. Anyone can claim to help a marriage, but proper licensing and specialized training is essential to effective treatment. Christian marriage counseling should combine both a deep integration of religious belief and discipline, a license to practice psychotherapy in the state where he/she practices, and specialized organized training experiences in couples therapy in addition to years of clinical training. You may also look for someone who has specific experience in working with couples in crisis.

You can ask questions that will help you decide if a particular therapist is a good fit for you:

  • What type of license do you have? Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC),  Psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Psychiatrist (MD).
  • Where is the license held? Which state? The license should be from a state licensing board. Sometimes those in the USA who   are not licensed will list a professional or national counseling association, in lieu of a formal license. That's inadequate. The   counselor's license should reflect the state where the therapist is currently working, not just any state.
  • Is your degree from an accredited university?
  • What other credentials do you hold? What Professional Associations are you active in?
  • Do you have formal certifications from reputable training institutes in couples therapy? Is it science-based training? At what level have you progressed within that training?
  • Do you have specific experience in working with couples in crisis? What type of problems have you worked with?
  • How much of your practice is devoted to couples? (They should see more than 50% of their practice devoted to couples therapy.)

Credentials to conduct christian marriage counseling

Referring to yourself as a Christian Counselor or Christian Therapist does not necessarily indicate Christian beliefs and practices. Here are some questions to help determine a therapist's level of faith:

  • Is he or she recognized and recommended by the local church community?
  • Do they attend church regularly? Are they actively involved with their church? Do they take a leadership role in their congregation by teaching a class, participating, leading service activities or missionary work?
  • Is the counselor an ordained minister or pastor? If not, will the counselor allow you to talk to his or her pastor?
  • Is the therapist "marriage friendly?" What beliefs do they hold about marriage and divorce?
  • Is reconciliation and repair a central focus or is "personal growth"?
  • If requested, will the counselor use prayer and Scripture in their therapeutic work with couples?

Dr. Burford and Rev. Ramsey are both ordained ministers and licensed to practice counseling in their state. Mr. MacEachern is a senior licensed Marriage and Family Therapist licensed in South Carolina. All three practice Christian Marriage Counseling online and intensive weekend retreats for Christian couples from across the USA and the world. Both have the latest in science-based training to help  troubled couples heal and repair their relationship.


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