When you feel your marriage is in trouble, figuring out where to turn for help and who you can trust is one of the biggest dilemmas to solve first. There are more options now than ever before, and that can make the decision all the more difficult. Most people are familiar with traditional couples counseling. Typically, these are weekly 45-minute sessions between the couple and their therapist. Sessions then take place over some number of weeks or months, depending on the rate of progress. Increasingly, partners are turning to weekend therapy, sometimes called marriage retreats or intensive couples therapy. Weekend therapy involves hours-long therapy sessions concentrated across a 2 or 3 day span. Knowing the type of therapy that’s right for you may not be obvious. There are three key factors to think about when deciding whether regular or weekend therapy is the right option for you: commitment, motivation, and time constraints. Considered together, these factors will help you determine whether weekend therapy or traditional therapy is right for you.
Ideally, both you and your partner agree that your relationship will benefit from therapy. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes one partner simply doesn’t know what therapy is about but is willing to proceed cautiously. Other times your partner might refuse counseling altogether. Think about how committed you and your partner are to counseling and see which type of therapy is best for you.
Weekend Therapy requires that both partners are highly committed to counseling and are ready to put in the effort, learn new skills, and engage fully in the process.
Regular Therapy is best for couples where one or both spouses are not fully committed to making changes. It may work better for couples who need more time to get comfortable with the therapeutic process. The slower pace of weekly couples therapy allows each spouse move at a more gradual pace.
It is possible to repair a marriage under stress if both partners possess the deep motivation to do the necessary work. If you or your partner feel ambivalent about repairing your marriage, you’ll need to figure out your level of motivation before healing can begin.
Weekend Therapy will work for those who are inherently motivated to get as much out of the experience as possible. Spouses both focus on putting in the time and work needed to heal or make decisions about their marriage.
Regular Therapy is a good option for couples where one or both spouses are not motivated to make changes. Because it’s a slower process, both partners have more time to think about their goals and how they’d like to proceed.
Therapy needs to fit well into your schedule so that you can receive the greatest benefit from it. It’s about making therapy a priority and being able to deal with the trade-offs.
Weekend Therapy is best for couples who can dedicate 2 – 3 days to exclusively focus on their marriage. You will need to set aside work, kids, and other responsibilities to make time for working on your marriage. If you’re ready to super-charge your counseling journey, a marriage retreat will get you faster results than traditional therapy.
Regular Therapy will work for those who can carve out time for counseling on a regular, ongoing basis. You will have the time and space needed to make steady progress. If this slower pace of therapy is better for your schedule, then this may be the best option for you.
It’s important to note that some couples begin with regular therapy and switch to a marriage intensive retreat. The switch usually happens when they feel ready or when the traditional approach stops working. The choice varies couple by couple, and may require adjustments over time. One thing is for sure – the sooner you get the right therapeutic support, the better the chances of getting your marriage back on track.