Couples looking to reaffirm their love, improve intimacy and gain healthy communications skills may wish to try out a couples workshop. Though often held through religious organizations, many are available that are not. So, if attending a faith-based marriage retreat or workshop would be difficult for either you or your spouse, consider one of these secular couples retreats or marriage enrichment programs.
They have all been around a while and have helped many people.
- Hold Me Tight Workshops: Developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and her pioneering work developing Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy. It is designed around seven conversations based on the Hold Me Tight book,essential to successful relationships. You will learn how to understand and improve your relationship through presentations by the workshop leaders, private exercises and conversations with your partner and by watching video demonstrations of other couples. Usually in a 2-day format.
- The Art and Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples
This retreat workshop is designed and presented by renowned marriage researchers, Drs. John and Julie Gottman in Seattle, Washington. It is based on his research and books for the public, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Why Marriages Suceed and Fail and other works.
- Couple Communication I & II
This is a couples retreat developed by the University of Minnesota. Designed to help couples skillfully communicate, make important decisions and resolve conflicts collaboratively, and build satisfying relationships
- (MER) Marriage Enrichment Retreat FAQ
The U.S. Military sponsors these secular marriage retreat programs. The Strong Bonds couple weekend retreat is offered by Army chaplains and is designed to strengthen relationships, inspire hope, and rekindle marriages.
The PAIRS retreat programs offer skills to help you develop a successful relationship. The mission of PAIRS is to teach attitudes, emotional understandings and behaviors that nurture and sustain healthy relationships and to make this knowledge broadly available on behalf of a safer, saner, more loving world.. Programs are for both premarital and marital relationships. Available in a limited area of the country, but also online.
- PREP Inc.
PREP retreats teach skills and principles for lasting love. The approach is touted as a scientifically-based and empirically-tested method of teaching relationship education. Available in various locations and an online format.
Including 4-6 feedback sessions, PREPARE/ENRICH is a marriage retreat program based on a set of five inventories that examine major relationship issues you may experience.
Keep in mind that these workshops are not a substitute for marriage therapy. If you are in an extreme amount of distress, consider calling a local marriage therapist to help you reach some level of stability before trying out a retreat. If you are doing well already, a retreat can still offer you something to help with your emotion connection, and closeness.
A comprehensive list of all types of marriage workshops all over the country can be found on the SmartMarriage.com website.
You may also wish to read: Try a Couples Workshop to Enhance or Heal Your Relationship
*Article updated by Marni Feuerman
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