Often couples reach out for tools to take their relationship to the next level. Society has the idea that relationships should be easy and constantly fun. The reality is that relationships require a great deal of patience. Relationships require understanding, commitment, and continued growth. Thus, going on a couples retreat helps you gain tools for healthy relationships.
Building a Strong Relationship Foundation
Your relationship should be built on a strong foundation. Good relationships are composed of trust, communication, appreciation, intimacy, and mutual respect. A couples retreat is a catalyst for deep personal healing and growth. When you and your partner overcome personal wounds, you will show up in a new way. Likewise, when you understand the power of love languages, your relationship becomes full of powerful ways to express love to each other. As a result, your relationship turns into a vibrant and long-lasting tapestry of happy life memories.
Factors That Impact a Relationship
1) Trust Violation
When trust is violated not only does it impact what we think of the other person, but it causes the “violated” one to second guess their self-worth. When you trust someone you feel secure that they believe in you and won’t leave you. Regaining trust allows the relationship to heal and grow. Otherwise, you will get caught in a vicious cycle. Couples retreats often address such issues. What happened and why? Did the one who cheated take ownership? The answers to these questions are important because transparency is imperative to healing. Next, you and your partner must process all the negative emotions associated with the violation.
Now it’s time to rebuild trust. This requires allowing vulnerability. In accordance, a couple’s retreat assists with tools to forgive the partner who violated trust. Sometimes a willingness to “bare all” in the company of a coach results in more understanding. However, patience may be required as the “violated one” needs to process all that has happened.
2) Communication Issues
Healthy Communication is critical for a transparent relationship with clear understanding. A wonderful resource is the book “Non-Violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg. Healthy communication consists of both the verbalizing aspect and the listening aspect. Active listening and repeating back allow for clarity. Effective communication requires you and your partner to be very present with each other. Thus, you will want to keep distractions to a minimum.
Active listening requires that you monitor your thoughts and “stories” putting them aside. Moreover, you must return to the present moment without judgment. A big factor is to trust that when it is your turn, you’ll remember what you want to say. Too many people spend time thinking of what they will say when it’s their turn, rather than listening to the person who is speaking.
A second factor is learning to express how you feel rather than blaming the other person. Effective communication is when you express your feelings and needs clearly. For example, “I am feeling sad because I need to be included.” This is a very concise statement. When presented in this way, your partner knows immediately how you feel and what you need. Then the two of you can seek a resolution. The last aspect is to present a clear request, so ask your partner, “would you be willing to….?”
3) Taking Each Other for Granted
To overcome this obstacle, you must simply take notice and express gratitude. Compliment the other on achievements. Step it up with a thank you now and again. Avoid the ugly “expectation” that you two will stay by each other’s side regardless of how you treat each other. Instead, bring in more appreciation. Say it and show it. Love takes effort. There are a few steps you can take to help your mate feel that you appreciate him/her.
First, slow down and notice small acts. Second, express more gratitude with appreciative words. Third, implement acts of kindness aimed at bringing joy to your partner. This could be anything from small notes strategically placed, to yummy treats, to acts of service.
In addition to kind acts, a couple’s retreat provides ideas for keeping your relationship fresh. Life is an adventure and trying new things with your partner keeps the relationship alive and growing. Challenging yourselves to explore new places, foods, movies, books, and even retreats & seminars provides bonding.
4) Lack of Intimacy
A drop in intimacy usually stems from feelings of resentment, or distance. Intimacy can range from how we speak to each other to have a healthy sex life. Unfortunately, we are not taught how to validate others and what true intimacy is comprised of.
A couple’s retreat assists you in putting that spark back into your relationship. Once your communication has improved, trust has been established, and you feel appreciated, the intimacy automatically starts to repair itself. But it goes deeper than that. The problem with a lack of intimacy is that it might have its roots in the way you relate with yourself.
Many couples’ retreats explore the relationship you have with yourself. How you relate to yourself is how you relate to your partner. So, if you deny yourself things, you will deny your partner. And if you resent yourself, you will resent your partner. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love your partner? Sometimes it requires outside assistance to get to the root of the cause. As soon as your self-worth returns, your relationship will gain intimacy.
Understanding the Inner Workings of Relationship
Another aspect of a couple’s retreat is understanding the story of your relationship. How did you meet? How old were you both? What major life events have happened to you during this relationship? How have these events affected the relationship? Has there been any deceit? Infidelity? What are the main “fractures” that exist in the relationship? When did the “separation” begin? These, and questions similar, are used to expand a level of awareness. During couples counseling sessions, you look deeper at the relationship dynamics to identify strengths and weaknesses.
With active listening and Socratic questioning, you are able to clear away the “static” or “emotional charge” that may have formed over time. Or you may start to see clearly the areas where you are stuck.
Understanding these dynamics is useful for a retreat facilitator when making recommendations about where the relationship is breaking down. The key is to identify the underlying emotions being expressed when you communicate with each other. This information is critical to the healing process because emotion is the music of the relationship dance.
In order to be successful, you must learn to listen to this music and attune yourself to your partner. Once you understand the emotion your partner is experiencing, you have acquired the key to facilitating a new relationship dynamic.
Addressing Unresolved Trauma
Trauma can have a profound effect on our emotional states. Unresolved trauma is often stored in the body. It can be difficult for a person who has experienced a great deal of trauma to become vulnerable, and fully trust another with their life, body, and emotions. If this is you, it is important to work on these issues and go back to the past to heal the old wounds before working on the relationship.
Many times, people will want a relationship to be a certain way without doing the necessary “work” they need to do on themselves. This is not a healthy perspective. You must take a look at who you are, and your past triggers in order to see where you need to heal. You also need to take a look at how you may be aiding the dysfunction of the relationship. This goes for your partner as well.
Love Languages Enhance Intimacy
What are the love languages? “The Five Love Languages” is a very influential book written by Gary Chapman. The five love languages:
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
Many couples’ retreats will introduce the value of “Love Languages.” This allows each partner to evaluate their needs and determine which love language speaks to them the most. By sharing this with your partner you can support your loved one. When the needs of others are met and when your partner takes an interest in meeting your needs, intimacy grows.
In Summary: Why Seek a Couples Retreat?
We all have pasts that define the way we see ourselves and others. Components such as dysfunctional parenting and toxic modeled behaviors cause a person to be blocked. The result is poor emotional intelligence. Without having the correct coping mechanisms in place, we can become wounded, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.
These wounds have devastating effects on a human and thus affect all relationships. Deep wounding causes a person to have issues and dysfunction in their self-esteem and self-worth. Many times, if a person does not heal these wounds and perspectives, it will eventually cause a major misalignment in who they attract and how they connect to others. Thus, a couples retreat provides tools for healing the past and becoming the best partner you can be.
A Couples Retreat With SpiritQuest
If you are seeking a getaway with your partner to clear away the past and gain tools for relating, SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats offers couples retreats year-round. After working through and developing better relationship dynamics, your SpiritQuest retreat package will focus on how you can further develop and build on your relationship.
Sessions such as “Relationship Enhancement Tools,” and “Red Rock Commitment Renewal,” provide profound lifestyle tools. Each relationship is unique and requires a unique set of tools to assist it in its continued growth. With a better understanding, unique tools, and a plan of action, you will be in a powerful position to thrive in your personal life.
Holistic Plan of Action
Our couples counseling retreats draw from The Gottman Institute to send you home with numerous strategies for conflict resolution. Your communication is improved and clear agreements are made. SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats commonly will end a couples retreat with our closing integration session. This session helps to wrap up your whole retreat. Our intention is to leave you a solid holistic plan of action to integrate your retreat into the real world and real-life scenarios. For more information, read about our couples retreats in Sedona.