Unhappy couple considers options for marriage help

Marriage Counseling or Marriage Intensive?

Marriage Dynamics InstituteCommunication, Connection, Marriage Counseling, Marriage Health, Marriage Intensive, Reconnecting

When your marriage isn’t going well, should you look for marriage counseling? Or is it better to find a good marriage intensive, like a weekend marriage retreat?

According to one veteran marriage therapist, both approaches serve useful purposes. But a marriage intensive can help speed up the counseling process.

I tell my clients a marriage intensive will often allow them to accomplish over the course of two or three days what would take several weeks of marital therapy.   -Dr. Jim Anderson

And Cher Williams, LPC, agrees. “The intensive workshop is a jumpstart to marital counseling,”  she says. “Couples get concepts and tools that will maximize their progress in counseling.”

Who benefits from a marriage intensive?

Marriage intensives can be very helpful when a marriage is in crisis because a good marriage intensive weekend offers lots of help quickly.

What is a marriage in crisis?

Some situations are obvious. For example, a couple may be separated and talking about divorce. Or perhaps they live in the same home but sleep in different rooms and live separate lives.

In some cases, a significant breach of trust has occurred and created a crisis.

Other situations are less obvious, but no less in need of help.

Sometimes couples are trapped in unhealthy communication patterns. They argue all the time, or hardly speak at all. And in some marriages, certain topics always lead to a meltdown because couples lack the tools to work through tough issues in healthy ways.

And some couples in crisis are just going through the motions of marriage without any real connection. They may feel more like business partners or roommates. This can happen at any point in marriage, but is often seen in the empty nest years.

What happens at a marriage intensive?

A good marriage intensive helps couples:

  • Discover why things are the way they are.
  • Learn new skills and tools to navigate relational challenges successfully.
  • Begin the process of reconnecting, repairing, and rebuilding the relationship.

The A New Beginning workshop for marriages in crisis is a weekend intensive with a very successful track record of helping couples reconnect. More than 75% of couples who participate in A New Beginning stay married and report and finding happiness and satisfaction in their marriage.

At A New Beginning, a professional counselor guides couples through a research-based interactive workshop experience. Couples learn a lot about themselves and each other. And they find out how to turn things around and move toward a healthy marriage.

What should couples do after a marriage intensive?

Although a good marriage intensive is powerful and offers a lot of help quickly, the work of repairing and rebuilding continues in the weeks and months after the weekend. So follow up is important.

And marriage therapy is one way to follow up on progress made in the intensive and keep moving forward.

After an intensive like A New Beginning, Williams says marriage counseling can help couples address underlying issues that have been uncovered. “Marriage counseling is a step by step approach and looks more in depth at how how the couple interacts with each other based on relationship history and personal experiences.” Counseling can provide couples a productive setting to “practice and perfect their skills as they work towards healthy relationship.”

Dr. Anderson affirms that both weekly counseling sessions and intensive retreats “have their place in restoring marriages, and often can be combined in helpful ways.”

Fill out an online form to receive information about the A New Beginning workshop for marriages in crisis. Call 615-628-3014 with any questions about the workshop.

About the Author

Marriage Dynamics Institute

Marriage Dynamics Institute (MDI) wants to cultivate healthy families, churches, and communities by helping create marriages full of joy, meaning, and purpose. Having served more than 75,000 couples since 1994, MDI offers workshops and seminars for marriages at every stage, including those in crisis.