'; What Is a Couples Retreat and Why Should You Plan One?
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What Is a Couples Retreat and Why Should You Plan One?

Couples retreats, also known as couples intensives or couples gateways are unique vacation like packages combined with couples counseling that are offered throughout the country and oversees by different relationship experts. For example, I offer different types of couples intensives and staycations in Wake Forest, NC, where I practice, depending on each couple’s unique situation and needs.

Such marriage counseling retreats are a great opportunity to learn about yourself and your partner on a much deeper and vulnerable level, improve your relationship and an overall sense of emotional connection with each other, and enjoy yourselves away from everyday stresses. Which means no kids, no thinking about what to cook for dinner (I am sooo over this one in my own life), and no crap TV at night to unwind from the busy day (because it’s not effective and actually makes things worse).

Before we dive deeper into the couples therapy retreats, let’s make a few things clear. Firstly, a lot of people think that couples retreats are only for those who are legally married or in a common-law marriage. However, you don’t have to be legally married or live together to explore the benefits of a couples therapy retreat. The only thing you do need is love and commitment — to each other, to your relationship, and to results of your deep emotional work together.

But please keep in mind that couples retreat is not a therapy option for couples who are in crisis and couples who are experiencing physical, emotional or any other form of abuse.

How Couples Retreats Work

Couples retreats are a great opportunity to restore your relationship while having a unique romantic getaway without the hustle and bustle of your daily life. The retreat is your chance to take time away from work, kids, and daily chores. To look inward and focus on yourself and each other.

Marriage counseling retreats usually last a day or two and you can find them in different group sizes. The couples counseling group size varies from large groups of 30 to 50 participants to completely private retreats tailored for you and your partner (like the one I offer).

The retreats normally take place in a private, cozy, and beautiful setting, enabling you to receive personalized attention while reestablishing and improving your relationship. These retreats may include discussions, lectures, role plays, exercises and you can combine them with a romantic vacation experience as well.

During the warm-up segment of your retreat, your facilitator will gather information about your relationship or marriage through a structured interview, at the same time helping you to recognize and clarify your couples retreat goals.

In addition to a special journey to the depths of your personality and your relationship, you can enjoy outstanding recreational opportunities during your couples retreat, as well as fine dining options, and a quiet time in the serenity of your retreat destination.

During your couples retreat, you will learn useful skills that will help you deepen and strengthen your relationship, boost your intimacy, and constructively resolve your conflicts.

As for the couples retreat structure, you’ll find the retreats that are more general while others are more specific to the problem. For instance, you can choose a couples retreat that focuses on learning how to handle conflicts, preparing you to a marriage, repairing the relationship after the affair, and so on.

Is Couples Retreat a Good Option for You?

Some of the reasons couples seek marriage retreats include sex and intimacy issues, recovery after an affair, empty nest challenges, midlife crisis, communication problems, conflicts, and divorce. Couples retreat can help revive your connection, deepen your bond and sexual desire, and learn how to grow personally and as a couple.

If you like meeting new people and you feel comfortable in a group retreat setting, you can opt for intimate couples retreats that include up to ten couples in it. However, if you are extremely private or you simply prefer a more private version of couples retreat, then working with other couples may not be for you. In this case, you might consider private retreats with only you and your partner attending.

You can consider this retreat format as a great addition to your regular weekly couples counseling or your online counseling sessions, since it is quite flexible and tailored to your needs. In the atmosphere of total acceptance and with no other couples or distractions, you can explore your feelings, thoughts, needs, and deep dive into your relationship.

In addition to your counseling sessions, your counselor may arrange some special activities for you and your partner such as a romantic lunch/dinner, spa with couples massage or different outdoor activities. These and similar experiences should help you restore your relationship while enjoying yourselves and having fun.

Summary and Concluding Remarks

To sum up, at a good couples retreat, you can expect to learn productive communication skills that go beyond typical “I statements” and gain skills to successfully resolve conflicts while feeling close and connected to your partner. In addition, a successful couples retreat will help you deepen your sense of intimacy and connection, relax and have fun together…and all of this in a beautiful setting away from home!

No matter how close you and your partner are, sometimes the stress of everyday life can kill the magic in your relationship. So, couples retreat is a perfect opportunity to escape your family, work, and the chaos of everyday life and spend some quality time with you SO in peaceful surroundings. This unique rekindling experience can bring you closer together and remind you what attracted you to you each to the other in the first place.

What Is a Couples Retreat and Why Should You Plan One?


Irina Baechle, LCSW

Irina Baechle, LCSW is a couples therapist and a relationship expert in Wake Forest, NC. She is the author of A 5-Step Connection Guide To Your Dream Marriage and is passionate about working with couples who love each other, but do not like each other. Previously featured in Bustle, BestLife, Romper, and Reader’s Digest.


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APA Reference
Baechle, I. (2018). What Is a Couples Retreat and Why Should You Plan One?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-is-a-couples-retreat-and-why-should-you-plan-one/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Nov 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Nov 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.