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. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor.

WHO SHOULD ATTENDSerious Conversation Couple

  • Couples struggling in their marriage.
  • 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 50 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 two days at a time in a Private Couples Retreat.

happy-couple2I recently facilitated a 3-day private marriage retreat. They were thrilled with breakthroughs 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. The wife 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 to understand each other. 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 one of your loses, the relationship loses.
  • 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 deep level.
  • Spot and stop your negative coping patterns when you get triggered.
  • Manage hurt, anger, and fear effectively so you grow in intimacy instead of going quiet or lashing 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 4-Step Assessment Phase

The purpose of the Assessment Phase is to get know you and your relationship dynamics. We’ll identify the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship, and 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.

Meeting 1: You meet as a couple for 50 minutes ($200.00). If you want to make faster progress, schedule an 80-minute session ($300.00).

Then you’ll take the online Gottman Assessment which is based on John Gottman’s 40 years of research on what makes masters and disasters of marriage. It will show the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship. The fee is $100.00 for the assessment.

Meetings 2 and 3: I meet with you each individually for 50 minutes. $165.00 for each meeting.

Meeting 4: We all meet together for 50 minutes. This meeting is $180.00. I will give you a summary of your relationship strengths and weaknesses, and we will develop your goals. 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 four decades of psychological research, theory and practice as presented in the books below. If you are a Christian, I will include grace-filled principles to tailored to meet your needs. You do not need to be Christian to attend this retreat.

If you want to know what the Private Couples Retreat will be like, read my articles on Relationships and Marriage.

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

Search for these authors’ books and YouTube videos.

  • Dr. Sue Johnson: Hold Me Tight and Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.  Created for connection: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples. I use Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
  • Dr. John Gottman: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Purchase the revised edition 2015. The Biblical Reference Guide for the Gottman Method by David Penner and Laura Heck. What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman and Nan Silver. I have completed level 3 of 3 in the Gottman training program. I am a Gottman Leader for public workshops.

Lake Chatuge, Hayesville, NCRETREAT VENUE

Blue Ridge Mountains, Young Harris, Georgia.  ** During the Covid pandemic, all retreats are held on Zoom. **


In addition to receiving expert guidance to strengthen your marriage from a licensed professional counselor, you might want to combine your private couples retreat with a vacation. Pack a picnic lunch and 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. Climb to the top of Brass Town Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia where you can see three other states: North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina.


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


$1,200 per day. 9:30am-5:30pm, includes 6 hours of counseling per day. Plus, the pre-requisite assessment sessions discussed above.

Benita A. EspositoFACILITATOR: Benita A. Esposito is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and four decades professional experience.  Specialties include marriage counseling and couples counseling, highly sensitive people, depression, anxiety, stress management, healing trauma, and healing family of origin issues.

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.


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 or additional one-day retreats will help you deepen the 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.


“A Journey into Wholeness” CD

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Trusting Others~Prose

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we have to rely on the knowledge
and perception of others.

We have to trust. Read more


Feeling Safe~Prose

Feeling safe, secure, calm and quiet.
Even in the midst of trials and confusion,
The memories of your smiling eyes
and your gentle touch
soothe my troubled mind. Read more


Your Gentle Constant Encouragement~Prose

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You are willing to give up what you are for the sake of what you can become.

In so doing, you flourish and thrive.

I search for the truth from some source external, and I endure the suffering of the struggle. Read more