Private Marriage Retreat / Couples Retreat

Whether you have a good relationship and want to make it better, or your marriage is in trouble, I will help you open your hearts to a greater love than you have ever known. Reap the rewards of 40 years of psychological research on what makes masters and disasters of marriage, along with my four decades of my clinical practice. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor.

WHO SHOULD ATTENDSerious Conversation Couple

  • Couples struggling in their relationship.
  • Engaged, newly married couples or dating couples who want to prevent negative patterns from arising, and learn proven skills to create a strong flourishing relationship.

As couples move beyond the “honeymoon” phase, they encounter conflicts. If not handled skillfully, emotional wounds mount up, adding one more brick in the wall. That hurts. But, there is hope and help. Even after an affair, marriages can be saved 73-85% of the time according to research. *

It breaks my heart to see couples suffer with the slowness of private counseling sessions. We can cover only so much in 55 minutes once a week. If you have severe conflicts, you touch on the pain, and session is over. That’s so frustrating. You fight again, or you hurt each other with icy silence. You don’t have to suffer this way. We will skyrocket your success by meeting for one to three days at a time.

happy-couple2I recently facilitated a 3-day private marriage retreat. They were thrilled with the breakthroughs we co-created that they had not been able to experience in one year of marriage counseling with another counselor. Don’t get me wrong. They have a highly skilled marriage counselor, one of the best. I collaborated with their therapist an hour each day of their retreat. She said that even the first day we accessed deeper material than in one year of marriage counseling. Their therapist was extremely grateful for my help, and I was honored to assist her and her clients.

Whether you’ve had couples counseling before, or this is your first time, a private couples retreat will greatly accelerate your progress.

I’ll design a retreat tailored to your needs. Couple on sofa

  • Enhance your emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy so you feel loved and understood.
  • Listen. Empathize. Lean toward your partner … instead of away … so you stop the loneliness, anger and pain.
  • Express your emotions, thoughts and needs constructively so your partner wants to connect with you.
  • Stop hurting each other.
  • Become each others best friend.
  • Create win-win solutions to meet each other’s core needs.
  • If you try to resolve conflicts at the surface level, conflicts will keep repeating like a revolving door. I will help you discover your deepest needs and emotions, and communicate from that level.
  • Spot and stop your negative coping patterns when you get triggered.
  • Manage resentment, hurt, anger, and fear effectively so you grow in intimacy instead of shrink back or lash out.couple-holding-hands-black
  • Heal emotional wounds that block intimacy.
  • Apologize and forgive. Reach true reconciliation so you trust each other again.
  • Be true to your Authentic Self. Stop losing yourself in your relationship.
  • Learn how to be assertive, not aggressive nor non-assertive.
  • Stay motivated to do what it takes even when the going gets tough.

If your relationship is not growing, it is dying.

If you want your car to function well for a long time, you take good care of it by giving it regular maintenance. Your marriage deserves this tender loving care also … on a regularly scheduled basis.

When I see couples in private weekly counseling sessions, they sometimes say they can use the skills during our meetings, but they have trouble applying them at home. I jokingly say, “Do I need to come live with you?” Well, this retreat is the next best thing!

Bride and Bridegroom at WeddingCORE VALUES

The secure bond that results from emotional intimacy is the root of all healthy loving relationships. By increasing your ability to love well and communicate in caring ways, everyone benefits: you, your partner, your children, your families, your community and ultimately the world.

PREREQUISITE: The Assessment Phase

The purpose of the Assessment Phase is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship, and to develop a treatment plan tailored to your exact needs.

In the unlikely event that I determine that a private couples retreat is not in your best interest, I will make appropriate referrals. The cost of the first three meetings is in addition to the retreat fee of $1200 per day.

Meeting 1: You meet as a couple in my office or via videoconference for 55 minutes ($195.00). For faster progress, schedule an 80-minute session ($295.00).

Then you’ll complete the online Gottman Assessment which will show the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship. You will complete this separately without discussing it with each other so you feel free to candidly answer the questions. The fee is $90.00 for the assessment.

Meetings 2 and 3: I meet with you each individually for 53-55 minutes. $160.00 for each meeting.

Meeting 4: We all meet together for 55 minutes. This meeting is $175.00. I will give you a summary of your relationship strengths and weaknesses, and we develop a treatment plan that includes goals and objectives. This meeting can kick-off  your Private Couples Retreat, or I may require it before scheduling a Retreat, depending on what I think is best.


I draw on 4 decades of psychological research, theory and practice as presented in the books below. If you are a Christian, I will include principles of Christian counseling to tailor a retreat that best meets your needs. You do not need to be Christian to attend this retreat.

Click on the link below to watch my 24-minute TV interview based on Dr. John Gottman’s research of the 4 behaviors that predict divorce with 93% accuracy: Four Horsemen: Don’t let them ruin your marriage.

Suggested books (not required before the retreat).

  • Dr. Sue Johnson: “Hold Me Tight” and “Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.” I use Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
  • Dr. John Gottman: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”. Purchase the revised edition 2015.

Lake Chatuge, Hayesville, NCRETREAT VENUE

Blue Ridge Mountains, Young Harris, Georgia.

FUN: In addition to receiving expert guidance to repair your marriage from a licensed professional counseling, you might want to combine your private couples retreat with a vacation. Pack a picnic. Hike through a forest to a waterfall. Sit by the fire and watch the stars. Rent a canoe, kayak, boat or jet ski. Swim in our clean lake. Enjoy a massage. Dance the night away. Hike the Appalachian Trail.

RESTAURANTS and LODGING Several hotels and restaurants overlook Lake Chatuge and the Blue Ridge Mountains or a golf course.

TUITION: $1,200 per day. 9:30am-5:30pm, includes 6 hours of counseling per day with a two-hour break. Schedule one to three days. Meals are on your own.

Benita A. EspositoFACILITATOR: Benita A. Esposito is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and 4 decades professional experience.  Specialties include marriage and couples counseling, depression, anxiety, stress management, healing trauma, and healing the emotional roots of dis-ease.

To Apply for this Private Marriage Retreat / Couples Retreat:

Please complete the Contact page. You will receive a complementary 15-minute interview. Include your name, email address, phone number and time zone with three best times to reach you. Or call me at 770.998.6642 Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm EST. Leave a message if you don’t reach me. I might be in session or on the other line.

I look forward to helping you create a truly flourishing relationship. It is possible!

Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPC

P.S. Follow-up weekly or bi-weekly sessions (in-person, videoconference or phone), or additional one-day retreats will help you deepen your learning until you can maintain a secure healthy connection.


T h e   W a l l  (One of my favorite poems)

TallulahGorge_Falls fav

Tallulah Gorge, GA

Their wedding picture mocked them from the table,
These two whose minds no longer touched each other.
They lived with such a heavy barricade between them that
Neither battering ram of words nor
Artillery of touch could break it down.

Somewhere, between the oldest child’s first tooth
And the youngest daughter’s graduation, they lost each other.
Throughout the years, each slowly unraveled that
Tangled ball of string called Self.
And as they tugged at stubborn knots,
Each hid his searching from the other.

Sometimes she cried at night
And begged the whispering darkness
To tell her who she was.
He lay beside her,
Snoring like a hibernating bear,
Unaware of her winter.

Once, after they had made love,
He wanted to tell her how afraid he was of dying.
But, fearing to show his naked soul,
He spoke instead about the beauty of her breasts.

She took a course in modern art,
Trying to find herself in colors
Splashed upon a canvas,
And complained to other women
About men who are insensitive.

He climbed into a tomb called the office,
Wrapped his mind in a shroud of paper figures
And buried himself in customers.

Slowly, the wall between them rose,
Cemented by the mortar of indifference.
One day, reaching out to touch each other,
They found a barrier they could not penetrate;
And recoiling from the coldness of the stones,
Each retreated from the struggle on the other side.

For when love dies,
It is not in a moment of angry battle,
Nor when fiery bodies lose their heat.
It lies, panting, exhausted …
Expiring at the bottom of the wall
It could not scale.

Author Unknown

* Research from Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Sue Johnson indicate a success rate of 73-85% with these particular therapies.  This is higher than any other method of couple/marriage counseling. That’s why I use them.


Personality Assessments

Please complete the following assessments and email the results to Benita Esposito before your first visit. These assessments will help me get to know you more quickly so I can help you reach your goals more efficiently. You’ll also increase your self-understanding.  This will take about 40 minutes. Read more