Can a Marriage Counseling Retreat Save a Marriage?

Can a Marriage Counseling Retreat Save a Marriage?

Is it better that a couple divorce rather than remain together in distress?

Can a retreat re-create love when a couple no longer feels the passion? When marriage therapy fails, is that a sign that the couple is better off apart?  Is it better that a couple divorce rather than remain together in distress?

  • How often should you tell your partner you love them?
  • How often should you do extra things to show you care?
  • Is sex critical for a successful relationship?
  • Is chronic anger damaging for a relationship?
  • Can men who are controlling, critical, and unemotional really change their stripes?
  • Is it easier to just be alone for a woman than to commit to a partner who will tell them what to do?

These and many similar questions bewilder couples, and yet there are clear answers to each of these questions, says Dr. Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin, MSW, relational co-therapists for the past 30 years. Schwartz and Galperin were trained by the infamous William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson of the Masters & Johnson Institute and are co-directors of the Marriage Therapy Institute in Monterey, California. The Monterey Bay Area being one of the most beautiful settings available nationwide for a focused marriage slash relationships tune-up or an intensive “engine overall.”

Therapists recommend that no couple should stay together and make each other miserable. Instead, unhappiness is a critical alert to each individual in the coupledom. It tells the unhappy partner there’s a need to look at his/her own contribution to the problem. From there, the couple needs to establish new rules and contracts for change.

Some relational problems are easily changed using a short-term, time-limited format that includes two 90-minute sessions daily, over eight days. In this program, couples practice new ways of interacting more effectively, solving problems together in way that enhances intimacy, and learn to recognize that the vast majority of their issues are not solely the other’s person’s fault, but are more likely repetitions of destructive patterns within each partner, established in the past.

“We have seen hundreds of individuals who feel they have “fallen out of love” but state that they once again feel those intense emotions, following therapy.” The problem is that couples tend to expect that passionate feelings should just exist on their own, but in reality, these powerful feelings are more a quality that is maintained by spending quality time together. Passion is derived from rituals for intimacy that are practiced daily, from deep, interesting conservations, by solving problems collaboratively, by doing recreational activities together and as a family. But most of all, underlying passion and intimacy is a strong commitment to really “see” one another with a deep compassion and empathy and the willingness and ability to listen and nurture each other when distressed. Men must learn new skills that are different than their parent.  Now that women are employed and are frequently outside the home , it calls for them to continue evolving and changing, with fewer partners needing to facilitate their separateness.

The most critical concept in a relationship to comprehend is that your partner is different—they are not you! And they will oftentimes not think or feel or act like you, even if you are soul mates! Respecting the other’s individuality and separateness is vital. Not telling each other the “right way” to think or behave,  is critical to a happy relationship.

Yes, marriages sometimes end, but that does not mean therapy failed.

Some couples need to part, but in the process of trying to save the marriage or couplehood, they have the best chance to learn what “they” do or don’t do in relationship, that doesn’t work. Without this important self-reflection and investigation, they will most likely repeat the same issues in the next relationship they enter. As difficult as it is, divorce — a relationship that comes to an end — has the potential to cause the greatest growth in a person’s life if the process is dealt with constructively and thoughtfully. Divorce can also permanently injure one or both of the partners without adequate holding. Good therapy is truly the best way to get to the bottom of the issues at hand and decide a best outcome.

How Much Is Too Much?

Is it too much to tell your partner every day that you love them? Think about it.  Sure, your partner probably remembers what you said yesterday, but, simply? It feels good to hear it. So, why not? If we told you this was known to keep the romance alive permanently, would you for any reason not comply?

Recipe for Marriage Success

Do one extra thing, say one more “I Love You” every day to show you care. Buy your beloved a card. Guys? Change her oil. Write a poem, text your partner “good morning,” plan a date night in bed. It doesn’t need to cost much if anything but could rank among the greatest emotional investments you’ll ever make.

What Does Sex Have To Do With It?

Sex is critical to a passionate relationship. When sex is not happening, the relationship becomes platonic — sibling-like. Sexual problems are very easily reversed for the vast majority of couples, even those presenting with low sexual desire or arousal problems, with effective therapy. The tragedy is that most couples don’t seek help. Low sexual desire is in epidemic proportions among both men and women, with causes ranging from a history of childhood trauma to relational discord to depression. But with advances in short-term therapy, even very difficult, complex sexual problems can be revised.

What Motivates Couples to Seek Therapy?

Often anger, particularly on the part of the woman, is what triggers a couple into therapy. Anger is a fuel that can instigate changes that have been needed for years. Identifying the anger is the first step. Then, teaching a woman how to better deal with that anger in constructive, conclusive ways is an important part of the work and a necessary requisite for change over time to occur.

Can Men Change?

Now for the burning question, “Can you teach an old dog new tricks?” Does a man long set in  his controlling ways, really change? Absolutely! Men are usually desperately unhappy when we see them, but have become apathetic, yet hoping that change is possible. When a man begins making changes, it is intoxicating because their “built to fix things” aptitude lends them to eagerly want more when we are able to show what they can do  to make a difference.

Women Who Just Give Up May Still Be Yearning for Intimacy

There are women who have decided to just live alone over time as a preference. if they are content, no problem. But if they’re living alone because they’ve given up—it may be that the change that’s needed is within.  A deeper look into themselves is the key to shifting patterns that don’t work when relating to others.  It’s our own shifts that will automatically result in the finding of a more suitable partner, one that will complement those changes.

Intimacy is a Process, It’s Something We Learn

We are continually evolving! Intimacy is a developmental achievement.  Being able to love someone and be loved in turn by someone, is the greatest growth experience a person can ever experience.

We highly recommend it.

For Married Partners and Couples who want to explore further, give a Marriage Retreat a try.

For those of you wanting to take a deeper look at yourself, or for those of you knowingly headed for divorce, give therapy a try.

Give yourself the gift of understanding, compassion, and wherewithal so that regardless of what you may be challenged with, you’ll come out ahead and ready for your next steps, with confidence.