Marla K. Ruhana, Psychotherapist

Women's Renewal Retreats

Creating an Extraordinary Relationship 
Ask the Experts from Grosse Pointe News

May 21, 2009
Q. My husband and I have three children. We work full time and are struggling financially in these economic times. We really need time away together to reconnect. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Your current situation is more common than you may think. Many couples find that certain types of marital therapy offer creative ways to enhance their marital bond.

Often, wishing to spend quality time with their spouse as well as their children, the marital relationship gets thrown to the back burner. Yet, what most fail to realize is the entire family unit suffers if we are not tending to the emotional needs of our spouse. Resentment, tension, loneliness and anger builds and we may begin keeping score with our partner by focusing on the household tasks that are not being done.

Is it really about the laundry not being folded properly? Typically, the undercurrent is really that our emotional needs are not being met. It is essential couples make time for one another outside of their children.

Q. Are there options other than weekly marital therapy sessions?

A. Yes, there are many types of therapy. No one can know everything about how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. 

Even with the best role models, there is always room to grow in our intimate relationships.

Attending a couple's retreat is beneficial as an option to therapy for those who feel they simply cannot make time in their schedule for ongoing weekly therapy sessions.

What a couple can obtain in a weekend retreat might take months in weekly therapy sessions.

Each retreat has a theme with experts facilitating workshops on a specific topic. The intent is to make the time together feel like a vacation with elements of fun and increased awareness for couples. Couples finish retreats with hope and tools to enhance their relationship.

Q. How can I get my husband to attend?

A. As a practitioner, I facilitate professional retreats for couples. Many men initially said they were hesitant to attend, as they are alcohol-free weekends. I encouraged them to see how they feel. Last year, 14 couples attended and one Grosse Pointe man said, "For something I did not think would be good, I found it to be it a life changing experience."

Many men also like the idea of a weekend away as opposed to months in therapy. Encourage him to view testimonials and photos of past couple's retreats on my website. The testimonials exhibit the benefits of these couple's weekends.

Marla Ruhana is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice and facilitates couple's retreats in Lakeport. For more information on the July 10-12 retreat, visit marlaruhana.com or call her at (586) 447-2162.