Wellness is more than what we eat and how often we move our bodies; strong relationships are a key component for overall well-being and happiness.
Research shows that strong, positive relationships affect our mental and physical health, and even our healing rate and mortality risk.
But relationships take energy, and like fitness, you have to put in the work to keep them strong.
While the idea of a couples retreat might conjure up images of an over-sexed yoga instructor and unorthodox therapy from the 2009 film of the same name, they are in fact a wonderful way to take advantage of vacation time to renew a relationship.
Whether you are experiencing issues and want to find solutions, or are simply yearning for more intimacy and wish to take your relationship to a deeper level, a couples retreat (like a yoga retreat) allows the time and space to truly connect, away from busy lives, work, and children in a beautiful, often exotic, setting.
Sandra Reich, M.Ed., is the Clinical Director of The Montreal Center for Anxiety & Depression, Co-Director of Empowered Women Workshops, bestselling author of a #1 book on relationships as well as the host of Straight Talk with Sandra Reich, a top weekly radio show on Internet’s Voice America.
She runs couples retreats each year to sunny locations such as Mexico and the beautiful Mont Tremblant, Quebec, covering techniques and strategies to help relationships thrive, such as respectful boundaries, communication, and building trust.
She notes, “We don’t get a manual on how to have a healthy relationship. All too often couples either wait until their relationship is in rough waters to seek help, or they don’t get any at all and throw in the towel. You need to learn the tips and strategies it takes to keep your relationship flourishing…and that’s really hard to do when you’re busy with life.”
Unlike the film, a couples retreat does not typically require that anyone share anything in a large group setting, as the “work” is done by each couple with privacy. Participants are welcome to share insights in the larger group during presentations and talks, but it’s not usually required—a relief for many.
When you are not in the space of learning from the facilitators, you have time to relax, get pampered, enjoy romantic meals or get active together, everything a ‘regular’ holiday would afford for body and soul. This time is about rejuvenation and learning to focus on each other, without distraction, technology, dinners to make, kids to put to bed.
Sandra finds that couples return from these experiences having learned much about their partners, and ready to begin a new stage of their relationship.
The emotional housecleaning can be hard work, but goes deep on purpose; to get at the things that keep coming up to clear them once and for all.
Where to Go
For couples in search of a getaway combined with relationship coaching, there are weekend and longer retreats offered at resorts, spas, and health and wellness institutes worldwide.
They run the gamut in price, level of luxury, and focus, from improving intimacy to embracing healthy living and spirituality, together. Here are some we recommend exploring.
Throughout 2022 these successful retreats from The Marriage Restoration Project will be held at the Autograph Collection’s El Mangroove beach resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Based on Imago Therapy, which focuses on transforming conflict into healing and growth by examining the early childhood experiences of each person, during the five-day retreat couples will be deeply heard by their spouse through a process that feels truly safe.
This will support them in discovering and shedding personal triggers that undermine connection so they can satisfy needs for physical and emotional connection and learn how to ask for what they truly want.
Each day couples will work on their relationship, establishing new rituals for re-romanticizing, while having downtime to reconnect over beach walks, spa services and local excursions.
Canyon Ranch and the Life Enhancement Center® team welcome bestselling author and relationship expert Rachel Greenwald to contribute her wisdom and distinctive point of view. Rachel is a master at helping people create more satisfying relationships and will lead thought-provoking sessions filled with practical advice and inspiration.
In this dynamic group setting, learn how to enhance your relationships in 12 essential areas: relationship to self, current or future romantic partners, sex, aging, food, work, energy, family, grief, joy, and even connecting through a Zoom window. This is a chance to rethink your connections and view possibilities through a new lens.
Take home strategies, based on the latest research, that will help you improve connections among the people you value while fostering the wellness basics you need to thrive, including exercise, nutrition, wellness, and life balance. Set your intention for a healthier, happier future.
Learn research-based tools for building and maintaining intimacy from the comfort of Drs. Julie and John Gottman’s home on Orcas Island in the San Juans.
Restore and enhance your relationship while on holiday in an exclusive, small-group two-day couples retreat, where you’ll learn new skills for deepening intimacy, managing conflicts, and enhancing your sense of shared meaning in a private, comfortable setting.
These retreats presented by the Gottmans in their seaside home include lectures, role-plays, discussions, and exercises completed just with one’s partner.
Enjoy a growth-focused couple’s enrichment experience, free from the many stressors that undermine relationships in our everyday lives.
This is an opportunity to experience holistic, relational growth where each couple will discover what they have somehow lost along the way, as well as wonderful aspects of each other they have yet to uncover.
Jaguarundi Shores offers a destination where you can immerse yourself in transformational change and psychological growth. Pursue personal transitions in a soulful, natural setting in partnership with expert therapists.
Whether your goal is to grow your relationship, detox from stress, overcome addiction or become more mindful, they feel all individuals need to completely reboot.
Create an inspired and memorable escape for you and your partner. Retreat offering includes daily breakfast and a morning movement class as well as their signature Romance Package which consists of rose quartz, a signature flower arrangement, organic chocolate and a bottle of champagne.
A one-on-one pre-arrival consultation with their Guest Services team may offer you additional suggestions that cater to your specific needs and relationship goals. They recommend booking all additional services prior to your arrival, for ease and availability.