Could your relationship benefit from a couples retreat?
When you hear “couples retreat”, you might think of the 2009 film with Vince Vaughn. A couple, juggling their busy lives while raising two children, decide to take on a vacation getaway package combined with couples counselling, to realise what a great thing they have going.
The cynic in you might think that it only worked out because it’s a box office movie. Even if you’ve never heard of the film, it would be good to familiarise yourself with the term “couples retreat”.
What is a couples retreat?
A couples retreat could mean a lot of things. There are some that might sound a bit like a marriage bootcamp: a planned romantic vacation dispersed with conflict management, communication workshops and relationship education, meant to improve your sense of intimacy.
There are many kinds of couples retreats, and they have different components, featuring different exercises and activities and generally include some form of couples counselling. Most couples retreats feel more like a romantic holiday, while others emphasise individualised couples therapy.
But did you ever think you could create your own couples retreat yourself? You don’t need to sign up for a weekend costing thousands of dollars in an exotic location. A DIY couples retreat for you and your partner can work just as well and may be the circuit breaker you need. So don’t close your mind to the idea of a couples retreat if you completely oppose the idea of being away with other couples.
It’s important to value focusing on your relationship
Whether you’re preparing to get married, or you’re at the brink of separation or divorce, it’s a bold step to take time away from “regular life”. We all need our alone time, and it’s a very noble thing to make your loved one the main focus.
There are many benefits to being away from distractions like phones, the internet, and children. These benefits are not exclusive to your relationship, but for yourself as well. You’re leaving behind your other stresses and anxieties from your life, in order to build a better relationship.
Rediscover why you’re together
Couples retreats can help you improve your communication. Attending a couples retreat is already a sign you’re showing yourself and your partner that you care and want to make things work.
Maybe you can mend some broken trusts and restore understanding through couples therapy, should you choose to do so (but in a romantic setting). You’ll most likely found yourselves amongst other couples, invested in having a good relationship themselves. You can learn from others who have been there, and meet other couples in different stages of their lives. This can be very powerful and encouraging.
A couples retreat will often have opportunities to engage in activities and challenges that can help you work together and see new sides of each other that may have been taken for granted at home, or in a more familiar environment. You’ll be given the tools to rediscover your strengths and weaknesses, to renew yourself as a unit. Have a positive attitude and make plans to take new behaviours back into your world after the retreat.
You should keep in mind that couples retreats are designed by people with proper education and training about relationships and marriage improvement. They have experience to guide you and support you, and walk you through the emotional cloudiness to a happier, more satisfying place in life.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.