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A guide to choosing marriage retreats

Marriage retreats have various approaches such as personalised private counselling, workshops, seminars and marriage encounters. However, effective marriage retreats help to promote a greater level of well-being in marriages. This article outlines important features to look out for when choosing marriage retreats.

Goals of the retreat

The goals of marriage retreats must be stated and must meet the needs of couples. Couples are different in areas such as the type and intensity of their problems, length of relationship, family of origin issues etc. A primary goal of marriage retreats is, then to support couples in achieving their personal relationship goals and at the same time, help them to enhance their relationships. Another important goal is to help couples stimulate the love, affection and commitment in their marriages. Importantly, there is usually the need to help couples to gain insight in their personal situations so as to effectively more forward in their relationships.

Format, setting and duration

There are different formats to marriage and couples' retreats. Retreats are usually held in peaceful, warm and quiet environments. Couples get away from their daily responsibilities and stressful life, and focus on their marriages. Marriage retreats lasts an average of three days, but some are shorter or longer. The retreats are usually very intensive and couples must be prepared to be actively involved in planned activities so as to get maximum benefits. Some retreats use coaching strategies to help couples to achieve their goals. Others use counselling methods primarily as brief solution-focused therapy.

Focus areas of retreats

These are some of the areas of focus of marriage retreats. Renewing commitment Couples’ commitment is an important focus in many marriage retreats. Commitment indicates the spouses’ willingness to stay together and to work to make their relationship better. The emphasis is on shared responsibility and respect for each other. Improving communication skills Building effective communication is an important area in marriage retreats. For couples to understand each other, they need to communicate properly. Issues of active and responsive listening are also explored. Marriage retreats also help couples to learn creative ways to resolve conflicts in their relationships. Meeting the needs of spouses It is vital for spouses to be sensitive to each other’s needs. Marriage retreats focus on helping couples to find resourceful means to meet these needs. This facilitates intimacy and oneness in the marriages. It also promotes empowering relationships where spouses recognise the strengths and potential of their partners.

Marriage retreats are beneficial

Marriage retreats offer a variety of strategies in a supportive environment so as to achieve positive changes in marriage relationships. Couples get opportunities to improve their problem-solving skills through effective communication. They also gain insights into the strengths in their marriages instead of focusing only on the problems.

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