February 10, 2024

Benefits of Marriage Intensive Counseling

An older couple having fun together



  • What is marriage intensive counseling?
  • Benefits of marriage intensive counseling.
  • Types of marriage intensives. 
  • How to choose the right type of marriage intensive.
Happy older couple enjoys their love

Your marriage is one of the most important relationships in your life, but it can also be challenging. When when you think you have done everything right, you may find your relationship struggling and in need of marriage counseling or marriage intensive counseling. 

What is marriage intensive counseling?

​Marriage intensive counseling is an in-depth and intense program that is are designed to quickly help couples improve their relationship. These programs typically involve working with a provider for 2-5 days, multiple hours per day, to work toward your couple goals. Marriage intensive counseling is most commonly done in a counseling format where you and your partner meet with a licensed marriage or couples counselor; however, there are times where they can be provided using an educational coaching format such as a retreat or a workshop. The primary components that makes the program a marriage intensive include: 

  • Short duration lasting 2-5 days
  • Intensive focus working several hours per day on your relationship
  • It’s focused on the relationship goals you have together

This article will explore some of the benefits of marriage intensive counseling, the types of marriage intensives, and help you know how to choose the right marriage intensive for you and your partner. 

Benefits of marriage intensive counseling

When marriage intensives are done in a counseling format, they have many of the same benefits of regular weekly marriage counseling at helping couples improve their relationship. 


The most important benefit of marriage intensive counseling is improved communication. Without good communication skills from both partners, couples will find themselves in a lot of conflicts and disagreements. In intensive counseling, couples learn active listening skills, how to effectively talk about emotions, and how to provide empathy and validation to each other. Learning effective communication skills can help prevent and decrease misunderstanding and miscommunications from happening. 


Stress and life can take a toll on any relationship, and if you didn’t have a strong foundation to begin with, the stress of life can quickly erode your relationship. Marriage intensive counseling provides a dedicated time to reconnect emotionally, rekindle intimacy, and rebuild trust if needed. It’s a time to prioritize your relationship, and learn to create the elements of creating a culture of safety and security in the relationship. By creating a culture of emotional safety, you can rekindle the romance, strengthen the relationship, and build or rebuild the foundation to move forward.  


So often couples realize that they have problems but are not sure how address them or fix them. Many of the couples who come to me for couples counseling have tried many things: going on more date nights or vacations, reading books, listening to podcasts, talking to their preacher, and even taking relationship breaks. It’s not for lack of effort that they are still experiencing issues; it’s that they haven’t gotten to the root of the problem. Marriage intensive counseling helps couples get to the root of the problem, discover underlying issues, and work together to resolve the problems. Sometimes this involves the couple coming up with a concrete plan on how to move forward with their finances, intimacy, parenting, or other issues impacting the relationship. 


Everyone fights at times or has tension in the relationship. While disagreements will happen, the way a couple deals with disagreements will determine the quality of their marriage. One of the benefits of  marriage intensive counseling is that couples learn to resolve conflict in an effective way. This may involve negotiation, compromise, and communication skills to manage conflict and work toward common goals. 

Happy older couple on beach

Types if marriage intensives

The most common type of marriage intensive is marriage intensive counseling where you work with a licensed marriage or couples counselor to help you improve your relationship. This is the type I would recommend, but it is also important for you to know about the other formats.  


Most marriage intensive are 2-5 day experiences where you and your partner work with a licensed marriage counselor to improve your relationship. Most of this article has discussed this type of marriage intensive. 


Retreats are often held in destination locations and offer a lot of experiential activities for couples to do together in order to strengthen the relationship. They typically last around a week long and have time dedicated to learning in a group format with other couples. In addition, there is dedicated time for you and your partner to work on your relationship. These vary in whether they provide educationally based coaching only or if they also provide counseling. 


Workshops typically last 2 days and are most commonly held on the weekend. They are highly structured and have a group classroom like setting. Workshop tend to have a large education component that is taught to a group of couples at one time, with break out sessions for you to complete specific exercises with your partner. Since workshops are educational and not considered counseling, they may be provided by a variety of people such as coaches, pastors, chaplains, agencies, and counselors. 


Online programs are great for when couples don’t have time, childcare, or other resources to attend in-person events. Online programs can take the form of online intensive marriage counseling, online retreats, or online workshops. 

Couples can make the equivalent amount of progress in one weekend that it would take several months to of weekly marriage counseling to achieve.” — Elizabeth Polinsky 

How to choose the right type of marriage intensive

When choosing a marriage intensive, make sure to do your research! Ideally you would work with someone who has specific licensure, qualifications, and experience in helping couples improve their relationship. Outside of working with a qualified professional, it is helpful to ask friends, family, colleagues, and professionals for their recommendations on who to work with. Other factors that go into choosing the right type of marriage intensive for you such include logistics, scheduling availability, and making sure the provider fits with your personality and can help you with your goals. I always recommend completing a consult with provider first to see if it feels like a good fit. 

Marriage intensives can be a great experience for couples who want to work in depth on their relationship and get results quickly. Often couples can make the equivalent amount of progress in one weekend that it would take several months to of weekly marriage counseling to achieve. While there are many formats for completing a marriage intensive, marriage intensive counseling with a licensed marriage counselor is always the one I would recommend! If you are noticing challenges in your relationship, consider either marriage counseling or marriage intensive counseling to help you rebuild and strengthen your relationship bond. By investing in your relationship, you can a more fulfilling and happy life together. 

Looking to start marriage intensive counseling?

Elizabeth Polinsky Counseling provides online marriage counseling and weekend-long marriage intensives throughout the states of Virginia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. Click the button below to schedule a complimentary consult. 

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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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