Sometimes a spouse can encourage another spouse to participate in a marriage encounter retreat, only to get some resistance. A mate may not want to sit around with other couples talking about very personal issues, airing their dirty laundry, and being forced to admit their own shortcomings and mistakes in a marriage. They may find such a thing distasteful and embarrassing. But if you're considering a marriage encounter weekend, seminar, or retreat, what are some things you can expect and what are some things that are not likely to be there, in order to put your mind at ease?
Obviously every marriage encounter is going to be different, depending on the person organizing it. Some are very brief, perhaps just an afternoon. Some are more intense, lasting an entire day or over the course of two days. And some are actually retreats where a couple spend an entire weekend at a resort or hotel. Depending on the length of the marriage encounter, it may be just a short lecture or speech given by a counselor or other expert, covering very basic topics and methods for improvement in a marriage. Usually these types of lectures cover things such as communication styles, the need to compromise and cooperate in a marriage, and the importance of things such as spending time alone together as a couple. Sometimes there is time set aside for questions or for couples to share personal experiences.
Occasionally this type of marriage encounter is more personal and relaxed, with just three or four couples scheduled at a time. The counselor may ask for voluntary participation from anyone that wants to share concerns or ask questions. There may be couples there that have been to these types of marriage encounters before and they may share stories of how they've applied certain things and how it's worked for them. Or, they may ask for specific advice on particular topics.
While any type of marriage encounter is going to be more interesting and more effective for those who choose to participate, usually this type of participation is voluntary. Rarely does the counselor put anyone on the spot or demand any type of answers or participation from anyone. He or she may encourage someone to speak up and to share, but those who are very uncomfortable with this are usually shown some sensitivity. Most couples who go to any type of marriage encounter are more shy their first time, but have a tendency to open up if they go back for another retreat or seminar. They also get to know other couples that are there and sometimes appreciate hearing from them before they participate. However, rarely is anyone ever put on the spot or asked to do anything they're uncomfortable with.
If you're considering any type of marriage encounter for you and your spouse, whether it's just a short seminar or an actual retreat, you should seriously consider going. Most couples find them very interesting and informative.