For more than a decade 80 percent of couples participating in the program decided to stick together.
According to Lisa May, vice president of development and the South Florida representative for Live the Life, these programs stand out because “they teach people how to navigate through arguments and develop skills to go home with so that when they hit that wall, they will know what to do. They begin to understand their triggers and how to manage them.”
Hope weekends use an educational process that results in change.
Witnessing that traditional hourly marriage counseling sometimes resulted in little progress, Dr. Rick Marks recognized something needed to change. He understood that most couples did not know what to do differently in their marriages and lacked the skills for healthy relationships.
Then in 2004, he took three couples who were seeing him in marriage therapy into a weekend intensive. In this educational setting, he taught them skills for bonding, attachment, emotional regulation, communication, problem solving, forgiveness and the foundations for intimacy (meaning closeness not sex) and love. Much to his surprise he found that in doing this many of the couples did not return for counseling. By learning these tools, most couples got unstuck and could make the difference they were looking for without him.
Soon he began to do these weekends on a monthly basis and called them Hope Weekends. The goal was to give couples who felt no hope a shift into hope that allowed them to feel empowered and realize they could achieve the marriage they desired.
“We were separated and had no hope for our marriage,” said Nicole Reece, of Bradenton, who attended a Hope Weekend. “But now,” she said, “my husband is my best friend.”
Using Dr. Mark’s Enriched Relationships process, Hope Weekends help troubled couples rebuild intimacy and trust and develop essential skills for maintaining and sustaining a deeply-bonded and connected relationship.
Hope Weekends help couples:
-Experience deeper intimacy and connectedness,
-Experience deeper levels of knowledge and understanding of each other,
-Strengthen communication and conflict resolution skills,
-Promote a greater sense of “US” and bonding and
-Remove some of the accumulated relational pain.
Another Hope Weekend graduate said, “The course changed a 29-year marriage of confusion, hurt, silence and missed opportunities into a vibrant relationship of pleasure and trust that thrives on change and growth.”
Well established throughout the state, Live the Life is all about collaboration, partnering with local churches, schools and businesses to facilitate its programs in the community.
For more information on Hope Weekends, visit www.livethelife.org/hopeweekend. You can also contact LisaMay@LivetheLife.org or call 850-264-1495.