Private, Intensive Marriage Retreats for Couples from MA

Are you experiencing difficulties in your marriage? Are you searching for a solution that can provide quick relief? Our 3-day marriage counseling retreat program, Marriage Quest®, has helped thousands of couples from New England and across the USA achieve significant results. Our highly trained therapists are able to assess your relationship situation and offer suggestions and tools to help you resolve your struggles and make plans for a better future.

Intensive Marriage Retreat: Rekindle Your Love!

Whether your marriage is in crisis or just needs a little fine-tuning, our intensive marriage retreat can provide you with the tools and insights you need to tackle even the most daunting and seemingly insurmountable issues.

Is Your Relationship Struggling?

Maintaining a happy marriage takes effort, and many people lack the skills to navigate the challenges that arise in long-term romantic relationships. We believe that every couple has the potential for a fulfilling and satisfying marriage, and our goal is to equip you with the right tools to make that happen.

During our retreat, we’ll teach you the skills you need and coach you on how to apply them effectively with your partner. Once your relationship has been given a fighting chance, we can have an honest conversation about compatibility if necessary.

What Issues Can Our Marriage Or Couples Retreat Help You Address?

We can help you tackle any issue that you and your partner are struggling with. Whether you have one specific goal in mind or are facing challenges in multiple areas of your relationship, we’ll work with you to address as many concerns as possible during our time together. More importantly, we’ll teach you how to resolve these issues on your own so that you can become self-sufficient as a couple. As the saying goes, we want to teach you how to fish rather than just giving you a fish.

Marital Or Relationship Problems We Can Help Massachusetts Couples With

ring image referring to couples considering divorce and private marriage retreat

Considering Divorce

Many couples contemplating divorce feel they have lost compatibility. This can be a distressing realization, but the truth is, you are likely still compatible and just need to cultivate the skills to mend what has been damaged.

intensive couples retreat for mid life crisis in a struggling marriage

Midlife Crisis

Individuals aged 35 to 65 often grapple with profound questions about their life’s meaning, purpose, and direction. Particularly in the workplace, the 40s mark a period of existential exploration, which could lead to a mid life crisis. Feeling valued and recognized significantly contributes to our self-esteem and can either motivate us or stress us out if it’s lacking.

marriage retreat for sexless marriages that resolve emotional disconnection

Sexless Marriage

The majority of sexless marriages stem from an emotional disconnect. To not just survive but thrive in a sexless marriage, you and your partner need to engage in a deep discussion about your desires and fantasies, both directly and indirectly related to your

intensive couples counseling retreat for marital infidelity


Regardless of the reasons or context for an affair, it’s painful and trust is severely damaged. Regrettably, while divorce may seem like a solution, about 80% of couples who separate due to an emotional affair eventually regret that decision.

marriage retreat with therapy to resolve resentment issues in a struggling marital relationship


Resentment in marriage often accumulates over time due to unresolved conflicts. Unresolved disagreements, traumatic experiences, and other tense moments in your relationship tend to linger and worsen over time if not addressed.

marriage retreat featuring communication therapy to improve understanding and respect

Couples Communication

Feeling unheard, misunderstood, or dismissed can lead many couples to question their relationship’s future. Communication therapy for couples is fundamental to every Marriage Quest Retreat, with our aim being to help each spouse feel heard, understood, and respected.

The Importance of Intensive Marriage Retreats

Intensive marriage retreats are important because they can produce results in just a few days, while traditional therapy can take years without achieving the desired goals. Many couples have reported that a three-day retreat with us brought more progress than a year or more of weekly therapy sessions. Retreats are also more time-efficient for busy couples, as they require setting aside just a few consecutive days rather than committing to weekly sessions for an indefinite period.

During a retreat, there are fewer distractions, allowing couples to focus on their relationship and take a break from the demands of everyday life. Longer sessions also allow for more in-depth exploration of issues and the creation of momentum. In contrast, traditional therapy sessions can feel choppy and disjointed, with couples often feeling like they were just getting warmed up when the session had to end. The Marriage Quest® process was developed to address these issues by providing couples with the luxury of several hours to delve deeply into any issue. Overall, intensive marriage retreats offer a more effective and efficient way for couples to work on their relationship and achieve their goals.

Retreats Are Better For Busy Couples

Weekly therapy sessions require that you set time aside for an indefinite amount of months to meet with your therapist. These sessions are also often wedged between other events in your day, which means an especially emotional conversation leaves you vulnerable for the next agenda item after therapy. In contrast, setting aside a few consecutive days for a marriage retreat is more time efficient.

Fewer Distractions Help Focus On Your Marriage

Have you ever tried to read a book or a finish a project while people keep interrupting you? Having a stretch of time to work on anything is usually more efficient and satisfying. A couples retreat is a time for you and your partner to prioritize the relationship by taking a break from the demand of every day life.

Longer Sessions Are More Effective

Did you ever feel like you were just getting warmed up when the therapist had to end the session? We have experienced the choppy nature of stop and start therapy separated by a week or two. That is why the Marriage Quest process was developed. Having the luxury of a few hours allows us to create momentum and deep into any issue.

What Is The Success Rate Of Marriage Counseling Retreats?

Research has shown that the overall success of any marriage counseling is about 70 to 90%. This is usually based on couples that have been in therapy for many months or years. We see the same results in about 3 days.

A Marriage Quest couples retreat is like warp speed therapy. Imagine a really good counseling session and all of the benefits that come from it. Now imagine a dozen of back-to-back sessions that are able to build momentum and go deeper because of the luxury of time each day.

Most couples are looking to save their marriage, yet others are looking for relief from their painful situation. They are satisfied if they can separate with grace and dignity knowing that they’ve tried everything and knowing that they will be kind co-parents for their children.

Why A Couples Retreat Is Better Than Traditional Couples Therapy

Traditional marriage counseling often separates the couple so that either the same therapist sees each partner one at a time or the spouses both see two different counselors to deal with marital issues. If your marriage is in crisis, then the marriage must be in therapy.

During your retreat, our focus is on holding both of you accountable to improving the relationship and achieving your goals. We also start meeting with you as a couple from the very beginning of the retreat including the intake process. 

Another benefit of a retreat is the momentum we can create during the multiple hours we meet with you. Many couples have told us how frustrating it is to just start getting to the root of an issue when the therapist tells them their time is up for today.

How Do You Define Success During A Couples Counseling Retreat?

While the gold standard of success during a marriage intensive is that the couple is able to reconcile and improve their marriage, there are other useful outcomes. Some couples really are no longer compatible with each other, and it’s in the best interest of their health and happiness as well as their children’s wellbeing for them to separate amicably.

They’ve come to realize that while they may love and care about each other very much, they might not lust each other or even like each other very much. When this is the case, it is bittersweet to decide to lovingly let go and move on, but this is often the best way to find peace and happiness for both individuals.

Israel & Cathie Helfand - renowned intensive marriage counseling retreat therapists
Dr David Helfand PsyD - couples marriage retreat therapist

Meet Your Expert Marriage Therapists

Meet your marriage therapy experts, Dr. Israel Helfand and his wife, Cathie Helfand. Together, they have been working with couples for 40 years and currently facilitate Marriage Quest and Sexploration retreats at their homestead in rural northern Vermont. They developed the Marriage Quest process in collaboration with Dr. Barry Ginsberg of the Center of Relationship Enhancement and have been running their marriage retreats since 1995. Their son, Dr. David Helfand, has recently joined the practice after successfully facilitating couples therapy retreats for nearly a decade. In the future, other therapists will join the Marriage Quest team.

Marriage Retreat Details & Schedule

We work with one couple at a time to address your specific needs and tailor the process for optimal growth and learning. Most couples in crisis choose a 3-day program, however Dr David Helfand at Marriage Quest offers 1-4 day programs depending on the needs of the couple. Every couples intensive is a custom designed retreat experience to help teach you a better approach to relationship issues, and hopefully create a deeper relationship between you and your spouse. Please review a general curriculum below for a three day program.


Upon confirmation of your sign-up, we will send you a Questionnaire to begin your preparation process. Many couples read Cathie and Israel’s book “The YUMMY Marriage” as part of their preparation. Dr David Helfand also offers an online course for all couples prior to a retreat with him. We will review your Questionnaire and other related information before your retreat to make sure we are prepared for our time together.

Please arrive the day before your retreat to settle into your hotel or Air BnB so that you are ready to start fresh the next morning. Some couples come in two days prior so they can explore the area or account for travel delays and jet lag. Most retreats start at 10am on day 1 and end 3 or 4 hours later depending on the therapist.

Day 1

We begin by talking about marriage: what are the components of a happy marriage, what are the common challenges, how does sex fit into a healthy marriage, etc. Then we take a detailed history on each of you: about your family of origin, your cultural and religious influences, your current family situation, as well the roots of your romantic and sexual involvement with each other. We then switch gears and begin various tutorials and behavioral exercises focused on your specific needs. While you practice with each other and we coach you through your new skills. Many couples often feel exhausted at the end of the day and take a nap to recharge for the evening.

Day 2

We will start by checking in on yesterday’s experience as well as your afternoon and evening together. Day 2 is usually the heavy lifting day, and we have 3 hours together to accomplish what we need to. We are going to address the topics that must be covered during your retreat in order to either work on your relationship goals or help you make a decision about the future of your marriage. We will guide you safely through those sensitive conversations by making sure you follow the guidelines for effective communication. This often means we interrupt a lot in the beginning, but as you become more comfortable and experienced, we will let you lead the discussion while guiding as needed.

Some spouses benefit from a brief individual meeting to discuss personal topics or work privately on some of the skills. When appropriate, we plan some time to address these topics with each spouse individually before integrating that work back into the relationship.

Day 3

The third day is when we help you put together all of the information you have learned during the prior two days. We will discuss aftercare recommendations, topics regarding parenting, and wrap up any topics from the previous days. For couples that are considering separation or divorce, Day 3 is a pivotal moment. We will help you determine future compatibility and make a decision about the marriage. Day two is 2-3 hours depending on the therapist.

Between Sessions

Between each day of the retreat, you will be practicing the communications skills you are learning, talking to each other on a new deeper level about how your relationship began and grew (or did not grow), about your hopes and dreams for your self and for your relationship together, your regrets and sorrows, and where you see things going. In addition we will suggest other activities to do together, and hope that you can have some fun and relaxation after the day’s intensive session. Self reflection assignment are also often part of this process.


When you return home, we are available for brief questions regarding communication skills, aftercare recommendations that we suggested at the end of your retreat, or other helpful resources. Longer discussions will incur a fee, and some couples will come back for a tune up if needed. If the focus of the retreat was to help you through a crisis period in your marriage, you might want to return for more relationship support such as sex therapy or dealing with new phases of life.

Our Philosophy On Marriage Counseling

Our philosophy on marriage counseling is centered around the belief that your marriage deserves to be prioritized. We understand the immense trust you place in us when you entrust your marriage to our care. The goal of our couples therapy retreat is to equip you with a process that you can continue to apply even after you return home to Massachusetts. Our Marriage Quest Retreats, refined over four decades, are designed to deliver significant results in a very short period of time.

Our success lies in our focus on teaching effective couples communication and holding you accountable during sessions. We assist you in discussing issues related to sex and intimacy, and guide you on how to self-regulate and manage your emotional triggers. If a childhood wound or life trauma seems to be undermining your marriage, we employ experiential therapy to foster healing. We accomplish a great deal of work in a relatively short period of time by gauging just how much to push each of you for optimal growth. The process is deep, meaningful, and intense.

Frequently Asked Questions

We get results for couples. You might not want to bring your new luxury sports car to a local mechanic for a repair. Most therapists are generalists who work with a variety of people and issues. At Marriage Quest, we specialize in couples retreats. 

Our founders, Dr Israel and Cathie Helfand, have over 40 years in practice and development of the Marriage Quest process. Whether you are looking for a tune up or a major overhaul, we’ve been there. We’ve helped other couples achieve similar goals. We triage, identify problems, and teach solutions. It’s transformation through warp speed therapy.

No, we only work with one couple at a time so we can focus on your specific issues and goals. We have also found that it is hard enough to discuss personal topics with your spouse let alone in front of a group of strangers.

Couples are often blown away by how much work we can accomplish in such a short time. Have you ever had a really transformative therapy session? Imagine a dozen of them back-to-back over three days. The difference is we know what we are looking for, and therefore, where to go, and we do not waste time getting there. That is why we have always claimed that it is “short term therapy with long term results”. Oh, and did I mention warp speed therapy.

Note: we combine cognitive behavioral with experiential therapy, a powerful combination of treatment modalities that not only teach skills but can heal past trauma.

When you agree to a date, we send you the Sign-up paperwork to complete with payment information. Upon payment in full or the deposit portion, we give you the Questionnaire for each of you to complete. This helps you to prepare for the retreat and relax from dealing with your current issues (?)

During your retreat, our focus is on teaching you healthy communication skills and holding both of you accountable to improving your relationship and achieving your goals, whatever that might be. After teaching you the foundational skills, we explore each of your relationship strengths and challenges and offer support and guidance as needed. We have the option of meeting with one of you alone if it’s determined that it will serve your marriage and your personal goals. Since we work with one couple at a time, we have a lot of flexibility.

During your retreat, our focus is on teaching you healthy communication skills and holding both of you accountable to improving your relationship and achieving your goals, whatever that might be. After teaching you the foundational skills, we explore each of your relationship strengths and challenges and offer support and guidance as needed. We have the option of meeting with one of you alone if it’s determined that it will serve your marriage and your personal goals. Since we work with one couple at a time, we have a lot of flexibility.

The fees for a marriage counseling retreat vary by therapist and range from about $5,000 to $15,000 for a 3-day program. Please contact us directly for specific pricing.

Please note that a non-refundable deposit is required in order to book your marriage retreat. In some cases, this deposit can be transferred one time.

No. Insurance only pays for traditional models of care such as weekly therapy.

In a loving and peaceful way. Tell them that you love them and are feeling ____, perhaps lonely, depressed, anxious, unhappy, etc. Don’t ask any questions; just share that you are ready to do something about it and would like nothing more than to heal with them.

Follow The Steps Below To Sign Up For Your Marriage Retreat

When you are ready to get help, you are welcome to contact us about available dates for a couples retreat. Some couples prefer to schedule a phone consultation or ask questions via email, and any of our well trained therapists are happy to offer a free consultation before signing up for a marriage program.