Sharing the Path FAQ
What kinds of couples come to these retreats?
We tend to get a range of couples. There will be folks who are in an excellent place and are looking for enrichment and deepening. And there will be people who are in difficult places in their marriages who are really needing help to move through difficulties. The structure supports folks working at all levels. We have couples who have been together for 30+ years, and newlyweds who want to invest in learning good practices for a healthy relationship. We warmly welcome same sex couples.
We have been offering these retreats for many years with consistently wonderful feedback from folks and are always touched at the shifts people make –even those who are already in a good place. Most couples find new levels of intimacy, communication and enjoyment.
What does “intense” and “experiential” mean?
We are in class quite a number of hours in order to provide a container and context for people to profoundly shift and deepen their experience of intimacy and partnership. The way we have created the workshop provides profound experiences of transformation, and people are most often thrilled with what occurs for them. But you should not be expecting a laid-back vacation.
Most days we have three sessions: morning, afternoon and evening, with the p.m. and nights being shorter. There are breaks of several hours in the afternoons after lunch. We have one full afternoon off with no session. Several of the evening sessions are quite short and there is one optional one.
Do we need to “share” in front of the group?
Other than the first night of introductions and the closing circle, there is no time we are sharing with the entire group. Nor is there any work in front of the group. In spite of the potential size, there is a very private feel to the workshop and the work you will do with your partner.
We do place emphasis on learning to take personal responsibility for how we create our relationships. Therefore, there are times in the workshop where you will be working with other individual participants who act as a coach/consultant. There is one evening when you meet in small men’s and women’s circles to talk about sexuality. We find that the support of other couples, committed to creating wonderful relationships, proves to be a great addition for everyone who attends.
What is the format of the session: Lecture? Demonstrations? Exercises?
Each session is devoted to particular practices and skill building. We start with a talk about the practice and how it supports loving, effective relationship and then we go into specific exercises. You will be working with your partner and in some cases with a consultant you choose from the group. You always have choice over who you work with. You will be working to apply the concepts and practices into the content of your own life and situation.
We work with presence; deep listening; authenticity; appropriate boundaries; empathy; skillful communication; self responsibility and state shifting which addresses emotional triggering and how to be skillful with this. Woven in are guided meditations and exercises to support couples in opening to deeper levels of intimacy, trust and enjoyment. We include some dancing and music and guided (clothes on) massage. We also meet in women’s and men’s circles to share about our sexual experience. Our evening sessions are devoted to sacred sexuality and there are “home play assignments” to support this.
Are there opportunities for individual sessions with the leaders during the retreat?
The retreat is carefully structured to provide most people with what they need. Most couples find they are progressing fine without extra work outside the sessions. However, if people do feel the need for more targeted input from staff, we do our best to accommodate this.
We have very particular needs as a couple, how can these be met in a group setting?
The work is both very structured in that we have very particular things planned for each session. And it is also very open in that each person and couple chooses the particular content relevant to them for each exercise, so there is endless freedom about what you actually address. Our staff are also available during the sessions (and sometimes between) to make sure individual needs are met.
Do we need to come to all the sessions?
We do ask that everyone participate fully in the retreat, attending all sessions as it is difficult for the work to be effective with folks coming and going.
Is it good to take extra time together after the retreat?
If at all possible, we highly recommend that couples schedule a few days together after the retreat. You will likely be in a wonderful place together, and it would be a gift to yourselves to have space to enjoy each other.