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Couple’s Retreat

A Loving Relationship

A close relationship is something we all want. Two relationship experts, John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman, studied relationships for over 40 years. They found that the friendship a couple has really is the foundation of the relationship.

Below are some questions created by the Gottmans to help you think about your relationship:

We enjoy doing even the smallest things together, like folding laundry or watching TV.
True
False
I look forward to spending my free time with my partner.
True
False
At the end of the day my partner is glad to see me.
True
False
My partner is usually interested in hearing my views on things.
True
False
I really enjoy discussing things with my partner.
True
False
My partner is one of my best friends.
True
False
I think my partner would consider me a very close friend.
True
False
We love just talking to each other.
True
False
When we go out, the time goes very quickly.
True
False
We always have a lot to say to each other.
True
False
We have a lot of fun together in our everyday lives.
True
False
We are spiritually very compatible.
True
False
We tend to share the same basic values in life.
True
False
We like to spend time together in similar ways.
True
False
We really have a lot of interests in common.
True
False
We have many of the same dreams and life goals.
True
False
We like to do a lot of the same things.
True
False
Even though our interests are somewhat different, I enjoy my partner’s interests.
True
False
Whatever we do together we usually tend to have a good time.
True
False
My partner tells me when s/he has had a bad day.
True
False

What do you think? Do you have a close relationship?

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Way out of addiction in couple's therapy

 

Addiction and couples’ therapy were two things Jack and Jill* never thought they’d be involved in. But here they sat in my office trying to figure it all out.

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Are Shared Values Enough in a Couples Relationship?Debbie and Derek have been married for over 20 years. The most important part of their love for one another has always been their shared values. Derek has always been a hard worker and a good provider. Debbie was born to be a mother.

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Couples retreat

Who comes to the private retreats?

I’m amazed and in awe of how hard couples are willing to work to make things better in their relationships. People come wanting to do to things such as rekindle their love, deepen their friendship, to feel closer to one another again, to have support in communication and conflict, or to make some major decisions in regards to their relationships. Continue reading

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Couples retreat helps move past skeletons in the closet

*Veronica and Darryl came for the marriage retreat after both realized their relationship just wasn’t getting better on its own. They were committed to their relationship but couldn’t figure out how to bridge the ocean that was growing between them. Continue reading

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Couples retreat for counseling virgins

The decision

*Jack had never been to counseling before. He was used to dealing with things by himself. The thought of talking to a stranger about their personal problems was so completely foreign he had a hard time imagining it let alone actually doing it. Continue reading

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Couple sitting beside Lake LouiseThis year has been incredibly busy with couple’s retreats. It’s work I find incredibly gratifying. Working with people who are on the brink of ending their relationships, who have been devastated by affairs, who have arguments that go badly, or who have grown apart is challenging. But it’s also really rewarding to witness people coming closer together, to be able to talk with one another in ways that really work for them, and to go home feeling like they’ve got a clear plan. Continue reading

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Couple hugging

Lots of couples that I work with grapple with communication and connection. How do you stay feeling connected when the communication isn’t what you want it to be? How do you keep on trying when you’re feeling so discouraged? Continue reading

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Couple holding hands

I just finished another marriage retreat with a couple. I can’t tell you how satisfying it feels to work with a couple regarding their relationship problems and finish the weekend with everyone feeling like it made a significant difference. Continue reading

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A relationship example…

I was working with a couple. Let’s call them Marj and Jack. They had been married for 10 years and had three children. Marj made sure that everyone got to their day-to-day tasks, commitments, and activities. She also managed the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other domestic tasks.

Household chores

Jack loved to plan and do things with the family. Whether it was skiing, biking, or camping, he got the kids and his wife out there and believed chores could wait another day. Unfortunately, his quest for fun often left Marj feeling disrespected and unappreciated. She had tried talking with Jack, but felt increasingly resentful as her attempts seemed to go unheard. He felt she needed to relax and enjoy life more. Over time, both of them dealt with their frustrations with emotional distancing. Their relationship seemed to lose its vitality as each waited for the other person to change. Knowing their marriage was at risk of dissolution, they contacted me.

The Miracle

I asked each of them to imagine when they went to bed tonight, and fell asleep, a miracle happened. The miracle was that the troubles that had brought them to my office had been resolved, but because they were sleeping, they had no idea. I asked them to consider what signs they would begin to notice when they got up and as their day progressed, that would tell them that things were different.

What do you think each of them said? If you were in this situation, what would you say? What would you be doing when things are going exactly the way you want them to in your relationship? If you find yourself saying things like, “I wouldn’t have to…” or “S/he would be…”, pause for a moment, and consider what you would be doing instead. Try to be as detailed as you can.

Marj said she would cuddle in the morning with Jack before they got out of bed. Jack indicated they would have some early morning sex. He would then get up and make Marj coffee and get breakfast going. Marj and Jack would work together to clean up the breakfast dishes, and plan their day as it was the weekend. Marj would invite Jack and the kids to help her get things ready and would appreciate Jack’s support in working as a team…

I elicited as many details as I could from each of them, talked about what the other partner would notice her/him doing, and asked them what the kids would notice was different. Eventually, we discussed ways bits of this miracle were happening even in the smallest of ways in their relationship now.

Marj and Jack were amazed to discover they wanted some similar things. As an experiment, I invited each of them to pick a day over the next week and act “as if the miracle had happened”, without letting the other person know that was the day s/he had chosen. I asked them to pay attention for signs of the miracle in their relationship—especially what each of them was doing that was a sign of the miracle, and to notice what difference it made in how their day went.

How about you?

Relationship distance can grow when each person within the relationship is waiting for the other to change or to make the first step. Focusing instead on what you’re doing that’s helping the relationship go the way you want it to can help move your relationship forward and bring that connection back again. Suppose this miracle happened in your relationship? What would you be doing that was different?

Renew your connection

Take the time to re-connect during a couple’s retreat in Banff, Alberta. Click the link below for more info:

Couple's retreat information

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