March 14-16, 2021 | May 2-4, 2021 | July 25-27, 2021 | September 12-14, 2021
Register Now - 800-222-4930 or download Registration Form (.pdf)
We are created for a lifetime of love and intimacy, but relationships can be hard, even for the happiest couples. Distance, frustration and disconnection can enter through any number of life’s events.
At Lake Junaluska Marriage Enrichment Retreats, you and your partner will enjoy a getaway to a scenic 200-acre lake in the mountains of Western North Carolina, take time to talk about what matters most to you, and draw closer to each other and God.
The retreat features counselor-facilitated workshop sessions designed to help you:
Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program.
Dr. Sue Johnson wrote "Love for the divine guides and enhances bonding between partners, and the daily practice of love between partners helps to strengthen a sense of secure connection with God."
Based on Dr. Johnson's research and clinical work shared in the book "Created for Connection," the marriage enrichment retreat at Lake Junaluska combines the best modern insights about love and bonding with the deep wisdom of our Christian tradition.
The retreat's workshop includes an evening session, two morning sessions and an afternoon session. The facilitator is Ned Martin, a licensed professional counselor and certified emotionally focused therapist. Watch a video of Ned Martin discussing the retreats, and learn more in common questions and answers about the event below.
"It helped us to identify the patterns in our relationship, both good and bad, so we can have an opportunity to repair or enhance the relationship. The retreat helped us to reconnect." – 2019 participant at Lake Junaluska
"This retreat will change how you see your spouse and yourself. Located in a gorgeous, scenic location, it allows you to put aside the day-to-day and focus on finding each other and God." – 2019 participant at Lake Junaluska
"The atmosphere of the retreat made it okay to share your feelings with your partner in a way that ordinarily wouldn't happen. I felt that the facilitator truly cared about us and our improvement as a couple." – 2019 participant at Lake Junaluska
TWO DAY RETREAT FOR COUPLES
TOTAL: $698 (for two people)
Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program.
REGISTER NOW - 800-222-4930 or Print Registration Form (pdf)
UMC clergy: Some UMC conferences offer funds to offset the cost of marriage counseling for their clergy. Check with your Leadership Development Team, Office of Ministerial relations, or Center for Clergy Excellence to inquire whether this is true for your conference. Consider also whether this program may fit into your continuing education plan for pastoral care.
Holston Conference Clergy - Contact Sue Weber, Wesley Leadership Institute/Congregational Development/Clergy Concerns for information on CEUs and possible scholarships at email@example.com or 865-293-4135.
NC Conference Clergy - Learn more about clergy marriage enrichment scholarship information.
LEADER: NED MARTIN, MDiv, MA, LCMHC
Ned Martin is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist in private practice at Lake Junaluska. He has an MDiv from Duke and an MA in Counseling from Wake Forest along with extensive training in spiritual direction and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. He has been an adjunct instructor in counseling with Wake Forest and Lenoir-Rhyne. He lives with his wife Jennifer McSwain Martin, and their three children near Waynesville, North Carolina. Ned is passionate about working at the intersection of psychological and spiritual concerns, and helping couples to find their way into supportive, enlivening and loving relationships.
Why do you facilitate marriage enrichment retreats?
I am a marriage counselor with an office here at Lake Junaluska, and I specialize in working with couples. It is rewarding for me to watch couples journey from the first night – when they are anxious and have a lot of questions about what is happening in their relationships – to seeing them move on to discuss concerns that are really important to them. Couples develop a sense of closeness and intimacy in the course of a few days that maybe they haven’t experienced in a few years.
Will participants be expected to share personal details of their relationships with the group? How does the retreat work?
Couples will not be required to share personal details with the group. I will share information about how love works and will guide couples through six or seven conversations. They will turn to one another and talk with their spouses about what matters most to them. If they get stuck, I or one of my facilitators will be there to help so they can move forward toward a deeper sense of love and connection.
What are some common feelings couples have coming to a marriage retreat?
Often people are anxious, primarily because what they are coming to talk about is one of the most important relationships in their lives – their marriage. I assure participants that the goal is to gently lead them into these deep conversations with one another. When people come to counseling or a workshop with their partners, they often share that it feels like their spouse is somehow working against them. The harshest way it comes out is ‘My spouse feels like my enemy.’ We see big moments of transition during these workshops when couples realize they are on the same team. They begin to see patterns of behaviors that are neither of their faults but that both need to be responsible for in order to change. It sounds simple, but it can be really difficult.
Who is this retreat for?
This retreat is for anyone who is married – from newlyweds to couples who have been married for decades. Newlyweds can feel a little bit lost or hesitant. They may feel that everything was great, but then they got married and now it’s messy. Or, folks come in who have just had their first child or their third child, and life is much more difficult or challenging than it was before. This retreat is great for any married couple who finds themselves in a place where they are feeling more distant than they were or just feel motivated to cultivate more closeness.
What makes this Christian marriage retreat different from others?
First, this retreat is based on the cutting-edge scientific and clinical research of Dr. Sue Johnson, who is probably the pre-eminent marriage therapist in the world. Her approach has been highly effective in improving relationships. Second, we incorporate the faith life of Christian couples. The beautiful thing is that dovetails perfectly with Dr. Sue Johnson’s work. Our faith tradition is borne out in this wonderful scientific research, and the combination is really powerful. Third, the marriage retreat is here at Lake Junaluska. You are in a beautiful setting that, in my opinion, helps cultivate the capacity to open up and have those deeper conversations.
What do we get for the price of the retreat?
This retreat may not be the most affordable marriage retreat out there, but we believe it is of profound value. Yes, there is a cost to participate, but there are also costs to having distance in your relationship. When I talk to couples about those costs or the cost of separation or divorce, those are painful conversations. Built into the cost of this retreat is lodging and meals at a place that will enhance your experience, and the program fee itself is about half of what it would normally be for a Dr. Sue Johnson-based retreat anywhere else. Through partnering with Lake Junaluska, we are offering a marriage retreat experience that can give you the kind of return on your investment you may not find elsewhere. I’m proud that we can offer that kind of value.
Pastoral participants can earn 1.5 continuing-education units for participation in this program. Why is this retreat ideal for pastoral participants? How can pastors and their spouses benefit from participating even if they do not have a specific relationship concern?
Pastors are not licensed marriage counselors but often, simply through serving, connecting and caring for people in their communities, are called on when couples have problems in their marriages. Through experiencing first-hand the conversations in this Christian marriage retreat, pastors will be better prepared to respond to and guide the couples in their church communities, and have a better foundation for planning and coordinating ministry programs to support marriages.