A Christian marriage retreat is a great way to spend time with your spouse, learn more about each other, and strengthen your walk with God. It also offers the opportunity to get away from the daily grind and focus on what really matters – your family.
Christian marriage retreats have a lot to offer. The best retreats are based in scenic areas (think mountains or ocean) complete with amenities.
They include daily, personalized counseling by experienced professionals and they keep the focus on you!
Some retreats will focus on lectures in a group setting. These marriage retreats are good for couple prefer a more social atmosphere with others who want to build their relationship.
There are even Christian marriage retreat cruises for couples who want to grow in their relationship and enjoy a vacation at the same time.
Reasons for attending a marriage retreat will vary, and we’ll touch on a few of the reasons below. I’ll also highlight the best marriage retreats around the country.
Why Go To A Christian Marriage Retreat
There are several reasons Christians attend marriage retreats. Each couple will have specific reasons, however, their choice to attend a retreat based on faith will be similar to other attendees.
Let’s take a look at a few of the common reasons.
- Improve A Rocky Marriage
God encourages couples to remain together through thick and thin. Yet in today’s world, divorce is more common than ever before.
Couples who attend a Christian marriage retreat know the sanctity of marriage. They intend to do everything possible to protect their family and improve their relationship.
In fact, many Christian retreats are designed specifically for marriages that are struggling. If you attend a retreat with other couples, chances are you’ll hear about other marriages in distress.
- Refocus on God’s Priorities
Another good reason to attend a Christian marriage retreat is to reevaluate God’s priorities for your relationship. Strong Christians may want to attend a retreat to step away from the daily grind and reinforce God’s will for their family.
Retreat counselors can assist couples by discussing relationship goals and helping couples understand God’s expectations. Just because you’re in a Christian relationship, doesn’t mean a marriage will be easy.
Sometimes we need to refocus our relationship with God (also read my list of Monasteries in the USA).
- Meet Other Couples In Christ
Do your research before committing to a retreat. Some getaways offer discrete, personalized sessions for you and your spouse. Other retreats offer group lectures and discussions.
If you intend to meet other couples in a similar situation, make sure you find a Christian retreat that has group sessions. Although each couple will be attending the retreat for their specific reasons, you’ll share the same goal of wanting to improve your relationship and walk with God.
After the retreat you can keep in touch with other couples and hold each other accountable.
- Get Away From The Daily Grind (Escape the Kids)
Let’s face it, life can be overwhelming. If you and your spouse both work, you may hardly see each other during the week. Add kids to the equation and it’s easy to understand why you might need a break.
A Christian marriage retreat can provide a scenic getaway and an opportunity to reconnect with your spouse (why not enjoy time together and strengthen your relationship at the same time).
Most retreats are all inclusive so you won’t have to worry about accommodation or food (my best ways to spend time with God).
Although you’ll be busy with counseling sessions, you’ll be able to focus solely on each other.
- Learn More About Each Other
If you’ve drifted apart, it might be time to reconnect. People change, and even if you know your spouse well, it’s possible they have new ideas or a different perspectives than in the past.
Serious discussion isn’t always an option at home when you have priorities like children and work. A retreat offers an opportunity to delve deeper into what your spouse is thinking and how you can support them.
Consider using a Christian marriage retreat to learn more about your spouse. Spouses who are on the same page can do great things.
- Solve Parenting, Financial, Infidelity, and Other Differences
Three of the main issues in marriages are differences in parenting, financial management, and infidelity (of course, there are many more challenges that couples face). Many retreats are set up to address these specific issues.
If you are unsure about your situation and discussing it with counselors at a marriage retreat, don’t worry. Most retreat counselors have heard it all before – and there are similar themes that many couples struggle with (learn ways to give grace to others).
12 Best Christian Marriage Retreats
1. Worldwide Marriage Encounter
Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s mission is to “proclaim the value of marriage and holy orders in the church and in the world”.
It’s one of the oldest retreats and got its start in 1952 when a priest, Father Gabriel Calvo, developed a series of conferences for couples. The aim of the conferences was to create an open and honest relationship within marriage.
These days, Marriage Encounter is offered all over the world (in many languages and almost 100 countries). It’s reached 800,000 people!
The program has been honed over the years to maximize communication and understanding in faith. One of the retreat’s most popular activities is the 10 and 10 method of writing and discussing.
It’s an activity that clergymen and volunteer couples teach the participants and it’s an activity that can be replicated once couples return to their homes.
For more information: Worldwide Marriage Encounter
2. Couples At The Cross
Couples At The Cross is one of the smaller retreats on our list, but don’t write it off. They host two Christian marriage retreats annually, in Kentucky and Colorado.
Each retreat begins on Friday afternoon and concludes on Sunday afternoon. The retreat includes all meals and lodging.
Couples At The Cross is an experiential weekend. In addition to talks, there is free time and plenty of recreational activities to do as a couple.
It’s an opportunity to turn off your cell phone and disconnect from technology (it’s only for a weekend). This is a couples’ retreat that doesn’t explain all the details of their schedule.
The retreat prefers to have a few surprises.
Reviews mention there are no lectures, so expect a lot of activities, whether it is one-on-one with your counselor or with other couples.
For more information: Couples At The Cross
3. Weekend To Remember
A Weekend To Remember is part of a Family Life. It’s another option for a weekend retreat and is available in 93 locations (and growing). Over 1.5 million couples have attended their events.
This Christian marriage retreat uses Biblical principles to help couples identify and solve marriage challenges. It’s aimed at marriages on the rocks and for couples that want to invest in their relationship.
Unlike some of the personalized retreats that we’ve mentioned, this weekend getaway also uses group sessions with experienced speakers. Personal details are never asked of couples, and participation in every session is voluntary.
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Participant feedback of the retreat shows that the average improvement in a relationship goes from 4/10 to an 8/10.
For more information: Weekend To Remember
4. Cornerstone Marriage Counseling
Cornerstone marriage retreats are another way for couples to build their relationship with the Christian focus. The retreats take place in various parts of the country, so you don’t have to travel far to attend.
More popular locations are in Texas and Florida.
Most couples that attend these retreats are in marital distress. The program flouts an 87% success rate.
The retreat takes place over a weekend and marriage counselors work individually with couples to find the root of distress. Cornerstone avoids the group counseling sessions and prefers couples work one-on-one with their counselor.
Whether it’s how to discipline children, demanding careers, personality differences, Cornerstone follows Biblical principles to find solutions.
For more information: Cornerstone Marriage Counseling
5. Sandy Cove Ministries
Sandy Cover sounds like an idea place to rejuvenate a marriage but this is no walk in the park. It’s an intensive retreat for couples who are serious about saving and growing their relationship.
Based in on the shores of Maryland, in the Chesapeake Lodge, this experience is more than just a retreat. Personalized coaching sessions are designed to help couples identify needs then take action.
During the 3-day intensive retreat, couples receive 15 hours of counseling in addition to group activities. The private sessions provide a personalized touch while the group setting reminds couples they aren’t the only people who have struggles.
Food and accommodation are included, not to mention a beautiful sunrise and sunset. Sandy Cove also has a follow-up program designed to keep couples at the retreat on the right path long after they’ve departed.
For more information: Sandy Cove Ministries
6. Live The Life
Live The Life is based out of Florida and offers intensives to help ailing relationships. The retreat are 2-3 days with pastoral counselors to help couples heal broken marriages.
Compared to traditional marriage therapy (35% success rate), Christian marriage intensives have an 85% success rate. The difference is using Biblical scripture and examples which show couples the importance of marriage and methods to improve their marriage.
Live The Life marriage retreats are based on “skills-based counseling” which help couples assess and discover methods for creating a healthy and successful relationship. The organization has lofty goals of reducing the divorce rate in Florida by 50% in 2029 and to reduce teen pregnancy.
If you’re based in the Southeast United States, check out Live The Life retreats!
More information: Live The Life
7. Hope Restored (Focus on the Family)
Most Christians are familiar with Focus On The Family. The brand has been popular for decades and has done wonders for families and faith.
Focus On The Family has a marriage retreat called Hope Restored. They have licensed counselors that specialize in helping couples repair their marriage.
These are not “marriage coaches”, rather, Focus On The Family therapists are highly trained and equipped to work with couples.
In 3-5 days, couples receive a year’s worth of counseling on the following:
- Financial strains
- Blended families
- Children and career
Even if you’ve already begun the divorce process, give it a second chance. Focus on the Family encourages all couples to call for a free consultation and they have centers in 3 states.
For more information: Hope Restored
8. Focus On The Family Retreat Center (Branson, Missouri)
Focus On The Family offers several retreat options for couples. This particular Christian retreat is based in Branson Missouri and nettled in the scenic Ozarks.
The marriage retreat is an all-inclusive weekend, providing couples with experienced counselors and high-quality amenities. Lodging, meals, and retreat materials are all first class.
Throughout the year, this weekend retreat has various themes, ranging from 1) emotional communication, 2) reconnecting with God, and 3) marriage health and wholeness.
With a 96% satisfaction rate, this Christian marriage retreat is in high demand. Therefore it’s not cheap either.
The cost is several hundred dollars, although it is cheaper if couples choose lodging that is off-site.
More information: Focus On The Family
9. Assembly of God Marriage Encounter
Marriage Encounter has helped over 58,000 couples recover their relationships. The weekend retreat promotes a no-frills approach and avoids the “group events”, “meet and greets” and “circle time”, that other marriage retreats offer.
This Christian weekend retreat is aimed at providing time for you with your counselor. It is not a social event.
It’s extremely popular because it offers the retreat in several locations throughout the U.S., including Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Tulsa, and Houston.
The registration fee is minimal, which makes it available to all income levels (it’s a non-profit service for communities). However, the cost doesn’t cover the real cost of the weekend and couples are able to “pay it forward” to help the cause of restoring marriages.
For more information: Assembly of God Marriage Encounter
10. The Ravines Retreat Center
Ravines Marriage Retreat Center is based in Northwest Indiana on a beautiful 10 acres of woodland.
The setting is perfect for couples to get away from the hustle and bustle, reflect on their relationship with each other and God, and learn the steps to improve their marriage and faith.
The Ravines is specifically aimed at marriage in crisis. The program offers a Christian intensive counseling from highly qualified clinicians.
The retreat is multi-day with 5 three-plus hour sessions. Your counselor will assign homework and activities to make you reflect and problem solve. God remains at the center of the retreat.
Meals and accommodation are provided and a volunteer couple helps manage the property. Connect with God and nature, and heal your relationship at The Ravines.
For more information: Ravines Retreat Center
11. Love Like You Mean It – Cruise
Love Like You Mean It cruises are a great way to take a break from it all. The cruise is just as much a vacation as it is a marriage retreat, however, it brings like-minded Christians together for relaxation and renewal in marriage.
The cruise offers couples an opportunity for fellowship with other couples and has daily activities in addition to Biblical teaching from renowned speakers and authors.
During the day enjoy the sun in the Caribbean. Attend concerts, pool areas, and food.
At port, go on a day adventure. In the evening spend time with your spouse on a full-chartered cruise
For more information: Love Like You Mean It Cruise
12. Christian Marriage Cruise
Yet another cruise option for Christian couples! Why not make your marriage retreat extra special and soak up sun while visiting a few Caribbean islands?
Sometimes life gets busy and there isn’t much time to connect with your partner. This cruise option, which lasts up to 7 days is the perfect way to rejuvenate a marriage.
Lectures include ways to improve communication, understanding conflict-resolution, and Bible-based learning.
Celebrity is a well-known cruise line and it has all the bells and whistles. Your Christian hosts are always changing, but could include personalities like Caleb and Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele (host of The Marriage Podcast for Smart People).
These cruises teach Bible lessons that are aimed at strengthening marriages in faith.
For more information: Christian Marriage Cruise
Differences Between A Retreat, Conference, or Cruise
In this article we touched on several getaway options for Christian couples. A retreat, conference, or cruise will offer unique ways to spend time together and improve a marriage.
A retreat is the most personalized option for couples. Retreats are often meant to focus on your relationship with the help of an experienced counselor.
A conference uses speakers, lectures, and often works as a group. Conferences allow couples the opportunity to meet others and discuss challenges and successes in a group setting.
Conferences provide a lot of useful information and exercises that can be applied to your relationship but are less personalized than a retreat.
Finally, a cruise is a way to reconnect with your spouse and vacation at the same time. It’s a low-pressure environment with optional lectures and activities.
There may or may not be individualized counseling sessions, but there will be plenty of food, sun, and stops on tropical islands.
Popular States For Christian Marriage Retreats
More than likely, there will be an option for a marriage retreat in your State. Some organizations make a point to hold retreats in different States, while other retreats are permanent and have scenic property with quaint lodges.
Our list provided options in Florida, California, Indiana, Missouri, Texas. If you really want to get away, travel out of State, otherwise, find a retreat nearby.
It doesn’t matter why you plan to attend a Christian marriage retreat. What matters is that you’re attending.
Whether you’ve got a solid relationship that you intend to improve, or a struggling marriage on the rocks, a retreat offers the chance to improve yourself, your spouse, and your walk with God.
We’ve shared several retreat options including large, well-known retreats as well as a few smaller options. If you’re adventurous, you can even attend a Christian marriage retreat cruise. Who doesn’t like a cruise?
Do your research and find a retreat that meets your needs. Some people will enjoy the social atmosphere of a retreat, while others will prefer a more serious, one-on-one approach.
If your retreat has counselors, make certain they possess the right qualifications to help you and your spouse.