I’m going to make a pitch to you.
Please know that I hate making pitches; I’d rather give you some information and let you decide on your own, but I will be straightforward that I believe what I am about to pitch is good and healthy for many people that will decide not to do it.
Go on a retreat for your relationship! In fact, please join me at a couples retreat here in Chelsea in September or December this year.
I actually think you might be a bit less likely to sign up since I am pushing the topic a little hard but stay with me and I think you will understand why. After hundreds of couples, numerous couples retreats, and currently having an extremely long wait to see me for couples counseling - I can both tell you that couples retreats work and that most people decide not to go to them. It's a bit frustrating, to be straightforward, as couples retreats are highly effective, proactive, and fun for people. However, on average, couples come to me in counseling 4-5 years later than they should, and they are only interested in couples counseling and not retreats. I understand this, as couples counseling is often the appropriate thing, but please know that these couples retreats are highly evidence-based and tailored to being effective for couples wherever they are in their relationship.
Hesitant? You probably should be. Unfortunately, there are many counselors not trained in the specifics of couples counseling. Here are a few FAQs related to couples retreats that you may want to consider:
Will it be awkward being around other couples? Yes, for about 5 minutes. Then, most people settle in. I am very careful about group sharing in a retreat format and in working purposely to establish group norms to help make everyone safe and comfortable. Also, I’ve found that couples feel a big camaraderie in being together to work on their relationships, even without sharing the specific skeletons in your closet (which I will actually ask you not to do as a group).
My relationship is in a pretty bad (or good) place, is it worth it for me to go? Since the majority of my work life is with couples in a bad place, I am highly skilled at working with tense, difficult situations. In a retreat format, you simply need to be able to sit in the room and participate with me. Some couples may actually do very little participation with their partner, depending on the situation. On the opposite end, some couples think they should not go to retreats because things are already good. As someone in this camp, I can tell you I have loved going to retreats with my partner. It helps us have a common language, address issues proactively, and spend some quality time investing in one of the things that matters most to us in life.
Is it worth the money? This answer is pretty easy - yes. If you take even 30 seconds imagining the financial impacts of divorce, the cost is just a drop compared to the costs coming. On the other end of things, I just had a simple car repair that cost me more than the couples retreat. Personally, I’d rather invest in my relationship with my partner first then invest in things I value less later.
Do I have time? I think so. I hope so. We purposely designed this retreat for people in the Chelsea-Ann Arbor area. You can go sleep in your bed at night. You can get by with under 8 hours of childcare help. We’re hoping that whether you are retired, have 5 young kids, or are without kids - this can fit into your calendar.
Okay, this has addressed a few of my questions, but what will it actually be like?
You will complete an assessment beforehand so I can get to know a bit about you and do a little tailoring to the retreat to make sure it addresses every couples concerns. The actual retreat will involve several workshops that will address the most pressing issues in couples lives. You will walk out with hope and strategies you can use right away. You will also get a plan for your relationship that is specifically connected to your needs.
Also, it will be silly. Serious. Contemplative. Explorative. Fun. Challenging. I will use the tools and approaches that are most research-based while also being approachable and usable. No topic will be off limits, but you will have opportunities to address topics without bringing it up in front of everyone.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about whatever is on your mind. I am doing these retreats out of a desire to help couples that simply do not have many chances to deeply invest in their relationships.
I hate pitches, but in this case, I am much more passionate about letting couples know that their relationships matter - and there is a way to invest in them!