Strengthening Marriages — One Weekend at a Time

By Adina Schwarzbaum

Several years ago, the leadership of the Orthodox Union asked: how could the OU help strengthen Orthodox marriages in the face of rising divorce rates? In response, the OU’s Marriage Enrichment Retreat was born. Designed to be, in a sense, “preventative care,” the weekend, held annually in June, helps couples gain the necessary skills to make a good marriage even better. This approach clearly works; every year the retreat fills up quickly and waiting lists are getting longer and longer.

More than 100 couples attended this year’s retreat, held at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton in New Jersey.

It is easy to spot the repeat customers. They are the couples who know what’s in store and are excited about the weekend ahead. They come with high expectations, as they remember the outstanding speakers, fantastic food and sense of camaraderie among the group at previous retreats.

“We have been to three retreats already, but each time our expectations are exceeded,” wrote one couple about the retreat.

Topics addressed include parenting, conflict resolution, intimacy and navigating in-law relationships.

The marriage retreat has now become a staple for many couples who see the weekend as a unique opportunity to relax, reconnect and reinvigorate their marriage.

Adina Schwarzbaum is the administrative assistant in the OU Department of Community Engagement.

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This article was featured in the Fall 2014 issue of Jewish Action.
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