We work with a wide range of presenting situations, and our intensive format is an excellent fit and will meet the needs of most couples. Whether you’ve been together for years unable to overcome certain issues — or you’re a new couple wanting tools that ensure lasting happiness — working intensively with us can well serve your needs and goals.
As a pioneer in the field of intensive marriage retreats, John has three decades of experience helping couples resolve a wide range of relationship issues and circumstances. Here are some typical problems and goals couples bring to a retreat:
Our intensive retreat offers you a powerful and supportive place to acquire new skills, to get unstuck, to resolve issues, to heal past wounds, reconnect, to deepen intimacy, and to learn how to prevent reactive cycles or downward spirals.
You will learn to operate as a securely functioning couple, to communicate in ways that enable you to maximize shared pleasure and minimize distress or upset. All of us, old or young, can benefit from knowing the language of lasting love.
Here are some of the typical kinds of situations couples are in that come to work with us, and our experience with them…
All Couples Are Welcome
Whether you are married or not, and regardless of your races, genders, sexual orientations, political persuasions, or religious beliefs, you are safe and welcome here. Couples are couples. Relationships are relationships. All couples deal with similar patterns and issues, to one extent or another. All couples need certain skills to thrive in the long term. Couples in all stages of a relationship, from pre-marital to decades of marriage, benefit from working with us.
We provide excellent premarital counseling to learn the basic tools and rules of secure functioning as a couple. We teach what they did not teach you in school, in your home of origin, or even in most therapy offices. You will acquire effective communication tools, learn the language of lasting love and intimacy, and discover how easy it is to prevent the typical reactive cycles and other mistakes that damage long term relationships.
Relationship Tune-Up or to Reconnect
Our intensive approach is great for a marriage tune-up. It’s always easier to resolve problems, issues, and negative patterns earlier than later. All couples will benefit from learning the tools to sustain an intimate, positive, emotional connection through the ups and downs of life. All couples will thrive if they know how to operate as true partners, as a team that knows how to minimize distress and thereby maximize shared pleasure.
Reactive Cycles, Distancing, Walls, or Blocks
Most couples who do a retreat are suffering from significant distress. Many have been stuck in negative patterns and dynamics like reactive cycles or distancing for years.
Some have been living like roommates and are feeling totally disconnected. They may be experiencing the empty nest syndrome. They might suffer from sexual or intimacy problems. Sometimes one partner is going through a mid-life crisis or big life changes.
For couples in distress on this level, we frequently recommend a four-day long retreat to transform stuck dynamics, re-establish trust, hope and connection, and master new tools that will sustain a thriving relationship.
Surviving Infidelity or the Brink of Divorce
In many cases, couples who work with us are under extremely high distress. Examples include trying to recover from infidelity, if a partner is contemplating divorce, dealing with a divorce in process, or considering getting back together post-separation.
Intense and complex situations like these may also be accompanied by one or both partners being ambivalent around staying in the relationship. Frequently there is intense mistrust or a lack of positive feelings. Relevant to such conditions, our retreat helps partners to heal deep emotional wounds and gain clarity about what they really want.
In the process, we help partners to learn what truly went wrong (it’s never what you thought it was), to communicate more authentically, and to find out how to operate differently if they do choose to stay together. Given the obvious intensity and complexity of such challenges, a four-day retreat length is strongly recommended.
Not Appropriate for a Retreat
If any of the following conditions have been recently experienced or are current, an intensive retreat is not appropriate: physical abuse, violence, or plan of harm to self or others. If any of these were experienced in the distant past, but no longer pose a potential to recur, please discuss it with us before signing up for a retreat. We also need to discuss any of the following situations before you sign up: current addictions to alcohol or drugs, ongoing affairs, or one partner being 100% certain they want to end the relationship. We have often been thanked for the guidance we offer for complex situations and we’d be happy to help you think through what form of help could work best for you.