This self-guided marriage retreat at home is fun, non-religious, and it’s based on science. We are two engineers after all. 

Couples therapy and marriage counseling experts recommend starting marriage retreats when things are good, not bad. The average couple waits six years after the going gets tough before seeing a therapist.

Either way, the best time for an at-home couple’s retreat is the present.

Use our DIY retreat to browse couple’s retreat ideas or set aside one full, distraction-free day to follow our marriage retreat itinerary. 

Marriage Retreat At Home_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

marriage retreat at home

With the anxiety surrounding the world’s health, job insecurity, social plans canceled, especially for those of you in healthcare, couples around the world have been trying to hold it together during unprecedented times.

Personally, we realized that we needed some serious self-care to ground us and remind us what to prioritize.

Our article, At-Home Self-Care Retreat (with schedule), has been more popular than ever, and we felt that many were looking for an outlet for a self-guided, relaxing day focused on wellness.

In addition to working with couples in health and wellness for years, our program Just Duo It had us taking these past two years researching the science of relationships and successful marriages.

So, we merged these couple’s topics to create a free at-home marriage retreat. The DIY marriage retreat ideas bring in practical science along with mental health, nutrition, fitness, and reconnecting relationship activities.

While the couple’s retreat agenda is only one day of marriage-enhancing activities, read through it a day or two in advance to prepare.

You’ll want fresh groceries in the fridge, freedom to unplug your phone for the day, and to talk about your expectations and desires for the “day off.”

Why Do a Couples Retreat At Home?

First off, what is the purpose of a marriage retreat?

Aren’t couple’s retreats only for people who have serious problems? Or older folks? Not a chance! It’s time to dispel the rumors because a couple’s retreat doesn’t mean you need couples therapy.

A marriage retreat, sometimes referred to as a “couples intensive,” is a time to focus on each other, on your relationship, and let loose.

You might not need to “reconnect,” but why not spend a mindful day together, relaxing and learning about opportunities to improve your relationship’s health and happiness.

This at-home marriage workshop is a great way to slow down for a day and focus on what really matters: your marriage.

How Much Does a Couple’s Retreat Cost?

Marriage retreats can cost upwards of $8,000 depending on if you’re spending it on a tropical island in a 5-star resort.

Even a more affordable couple’s therapy retreat at your local conference center or church could put you back close to $1000.

Well, we have good news for you: ours is a much more affordable marriage retreat. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to reap the benefits of a marriage retreat.

Our DIY Marriage Retreat

Over 2,500 couples have followed our virtual marriage retreat at home, garnishing many of the same benefits for free. Each activity in this relationship retreat is thoughtful and backed by science.

For example, did you know that certain date night movies can cut your chance of divorce in half?

Research from the University of Rochester found that movies that spark meaningful conversations can be as effective as marriage counseling.

However, not all movies are created equal, so we share what are the most effective and therapeutic films for married couples. Yes, watching one of these date night movies is one of the couple’s retreat activities.

Now before we get started, take some time looking over the preparation checklist and the marriage retreat agenda. Enjoy it!

At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Our Proven Tools for Healthy Couples

Based on our research and experience, these are our proven tools to optimize your relationship.

Download our guide for the best books, movies, apps, date night ideas, quizzes, and games for healthy couples.

DIY Marriage Retreat preparation checklist

1. Be Ready to Disconnect

Tie up loose ends at work so that you can spend the retreat day with your phone turned off. You will be disconnected for 24 hours during the marriage retreat at home.

2. Prep to Eat Clean

Decide what healthy recipes you want to cook and make sure the groceries are on hand. Not sure? We include suggestions in the marriage retreat outline below.

3. Sleep Well

Enjoying a cocktail or wine the night before the retreat is fine, but don’t overdo it.

We want you both to get a restful and high-quality night’s sleep to feel fresh for the day. On that note, turn off your alarm and wake up naturally.

4. Divide Labor

There are likely unavoidable responsibilities that you need to tend to during a 1-day marriage retreat at home, such as walking the dog, meal prep, and cleaning dishes.

Decide in advance who will take care of them on the day, or choose to do them all together.

We bring this up because typically women take on more of the domestic housework than men, which is a source of dissatisfaction in many marriages.

The Atlantic, in their 2019 article ‘Even Breadwinning Wives Don’t Get Equality At Home,’ married American mothers spend twice as much time as their husbands on household tasks and childrearing (over 20 hours a week for the average women!)

This is something that should be brought to light during the couple’s retreat if there is a disproportionate division of labor.

5. Be Flexible

Finally, tailor our couple’s retreat itinerary to your needs.

As we mention above, we want you to wake up without an alarm clock. This, we realize, can throw your tightly scheduled calendar for a loop, but that’s the point.

Keep it easy, and keep it flexible.

Marriage Retreat Agenda Ryan and Alex Duo Life

At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda

Download and print our DIY couple’s retreat itinerary and preparation checklist.

Our couple’s therapy ideas bring in practical science along with mental health, nutrition, fitness, and reconnecting relationship activities.

Plus, we’re just an email away for questions.

at-home couple’s retreat Morning agenda

What makes a memorable marriage retreat that you’ll want to repeat again and again?

First of all, we want you both to enjoy and have fun. That’s the benefit of this do-it-yourself marriage retreat – there’s no stress, the couple’s retreat activities are well-rounded, and it’s not boring!

Alongside that, we do address a few mind, body, soul topics, focusing on your personal health and relationship’s health.

We include helpful and fun relationship tools that we’ve learned a lot from and hope that you do as well to bring your connection closer.

These retreat activities were selected based on science. It’s best to follow the itinerary to a “T,” however, feel free to use our couple’s retreat ideas to craft your own agenda

Get ready for a restful and rejuvenating day focused on your relationship and health. Let’s duo this!

7:30 – 9:00 AM: Wake and Read

Wake up without an alarm and lounge in bed (turn off your phone the night before and continue to keep it off all day).

Have a book by the bedside table in case you wake up before 9:00 AM. Also, do your best not to wake up your partner early! They might need more sleep than you.

Make sure that your phone remains turned off all day. Nothing takes away more from romance than one person on their phone.

9:00 – 9:45 AM: Rise and Exercise

Drink a big glass of water and get dressed for your workout. We have two free workout options for the at-home marriage retreat, streamed through our website and YouTube:

Option 1:
Couple’s Workout Routine: A 23-Minute Total-Body Intense Partner Workout (included with the At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda PDF)

Option 2:
Couple’s Yoga Flow Routine: 24-Minutes At-Home Partner Yoga Session (included with the At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda PDF)

Other Options:
Couples Pregnancy Workout Routine (still a good workout for non-pregnant couples)
Partner Core Exercise Routine (free exercise video)

Couples Yoga Flow Routine At Home Ryan and Alex Duo Life

9:45 – 10:15 AM: Clean and Cozy

Take a shower together, suit up in matching bathrobes or whatever comfy home outfit you love, and brew yourselves a cup of coffee or tea.

Or, try a digestive pre-breakfast infusion with hot water, a capful of apple cider vinegar, a lemon slice, and a dash of cinnamon.

If intermittent fasting, which we recommend, drink your coffee or tea black or with lemon. No sugar or cream.

10:15 – 10:30 AM: Meditation

Sitting meditation and setting your intention for the day’s couple’s retreat.

Settle in for this free,12-minute meditation. Think about connecting with your relationship’s health, and being open to where the marriage retreat at home leads you.

Beachbody Unstress Meditation: “A Purpose-Driven Day”

10:30 – 11:15 AM: Breakfast

Cook a healthy breakfast (try oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and a banana or a veggie breakfast burrito with black beans.)

Relax, chat, and enjoy.

11:15 – 12:00 PM: Love Languages

Familiar with The 5 Love Languages? It’s a technique to optimize how to show love to your partner, and frankly, in any relationship you have (friends, colleagues, kids, etc.)

This is probably the most common marriage retreat exercise out there. But, it’s a truly powerful one.

It’s time to discover your love language. If you haven’t heard of Gary Chapman’s best-seller, The 5 Love Languages, it’s our favorite marriage book because it’s actionable and not sappy.

The basic concept is that everyone likes to receive love in some ways more than others. Would you rather your partner buy you a gift or do the dishes without you asking?

Step 1:
Begin this marriage retreat at home activity by watching this entertaining video recap of the book.

Step 2:
Next, spend a few minutes taking the The 5 Love Languages free quiz. Make sure to have the email results mailed to you for future reference.

We like to take the quiz every year because you’d be surprised how much things change.

Especially now, during the pandemic, you may be getting ample “quality time,” but it’s something that you may have missed earlier. So, get the results emailed!

After the quiz, make sure to discuss all of your results and what things you might do to better show your love for each other.

One time Ryan and I did this together, and he told me that he would make the bed (something he hated) to show his love for me.

He’s now been making the bed every day since 2018, and it makes me so happy!

Marriage retreat Afternoon agenda

12:00 – 1:00 PM: Move Together

Head out on a walk or hike outside together (yes, rain or shine!)

A recent study published in the journal, The Obesity Society, concluded that adult dieters who lost 30 pounds and maintained or continued to lose weight tracked 12,000 steps per day.

Overweight adults only tracked 6,500 steps. Steps are, in fact, one of the five numbers we track in our 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge. That’s how important it is!

During the walk, talk about a bucket list for all of the things you want to do together. If you need ideas, we share our adventurous couple’s bucket list ideas.

1:00 – 2:00 PM: Lunch

Lunch (try a simple tofu stir fry with green beans, carrots, and broccoli over brown rice).

Listen to a fun playlist, relax, chat, and enjoy.

2:00 – 3:30 PM: Memory Lane

Dig up your wedding video, your wedding album, or videos from some of your favorite trips.

Even better if you still have your wedding playlist on your Spotify! When was the last time you watched these videos?

Also, get busy. Of course, you don’t have to do it just because we said so, but make time for it sometime today. It’s a mandatory activity in any successful couple’s therapy retreat.

Of course, we are all unique, but data shows that happy couples have sex at least once a week. If you’re not in the mood now, take turns giving each other a massage.

If you’re only a mediocre masseuse, we highly recommend taking this online couples massage class for next time! 

For the couples massage basics, our article titled, ‘How to Give Your Partner a Good Massage‘ will help you avoid mistakes get started with simple techniques.

3:30 – 4:30 PM: Drink and Learn

Before you begin this marriage retreat activity, head to the kitchen to brew a cup of tea or grab a drink to watch this next lesson by acclaimed couple’s therapist, Dr. John Gottman.

A pen and paper doesn’t hurt either!

Making Marriage Work from The Gottman Institute (47 minutes)

There’s a lot of information in this one, all about the science behind happy relationships.

To give you an idea, the Gottman Institute can predict with 85% accuracy if a couple will divorce within 15 minutes of meeting them.

Don’t you agree that sounds worth your time?

Relationship retreat Evening agenda

4:30 – 6:00 PM: Couple’s Choice

During this marriage retreat at home exercise, you can choose your own adventure.

Draw a hot bath, work on your couple’s yoga poses, or if you’re up for more relationship coaching, try a free trial to the Relish app.

The Relish app is our favorite relationship app for couples, packed with quizzes, activities, and access to a live therapist and relationship coach.

They offer a 7-day free trial, and it’s worth it. Both you and your partner can do this on your own phones.

We recommend you take the relationship health quiz. After individually taking this 10-minute assessment, the Relish app shares your “Relationship Health Score” along with recommended lessons to improve.

The app works in the bath, too!

For some fun, meaningful conversation, these “would you rather” questions for couples will deliver!

6:00 – 7:30 PM: Dinner

If you’ve followed the day’s itinerary, congratulations: you’ve done a day of intermittent fasting!

For dinner ideas, try a nice spinach salad with goat cheese and walnuts, followed up by fresh sourdough bread.

While cooking and eating, discuss questions every couple should ask before marriage.

7:30 – 9:30 PM: Movie Night

To prepare for the last activity in this marriage retreat at home, pour yourselves a glass of wine and settle onto the couch for movie night.

But not just any movie night. Choose from our list, ‘The Best Movies for Married Couples.’ Why limit yourself to our list?

University of Rochester psychology professor, Dr. Ronald Rogge, found that watching and discussing certain movies with relatable relationship issues was just as effective as a session of couple’s therapy.

Three years later, divorce rates were cut in half!

The essential part is to find films that focus on relatable problems within a marriage. Once the movie is over, discuss a few questions like these ones:

  1. What primary problems did the couple face?
  2. Do you see similar issues within your relationship?
  3. What did you like and dislike about how the couple resolved their problem?
  4. What did you like and dislike about how the couple communicated their feelings?
  5. How did the characters handle their hurt feelings or disappointment
  6. How strong was the couple’s friendship?

So, what movies made our list? While we list 25 movies for couples on our site, we recommend watching Couple’s Retreat. Fitting, right?

10:00 PM: Bed

If you are night owls, feel free to stay up later. Try playing one of these award-winning board games perfect for date night

Then, wrap up your self-guided marriage retreat, unwind together and head to bed. Talk about the day or record your thoughts together in a journal (this is the only one we’d recommend for couples).

While not every day can be a DIY couple’s retreat at home, appreciate the day you could spend together, and on your health and wellness.

Marriage Retreat Agenda Ryan and Alex Duo Life

At-Home Marriage Retreat Agenda

Download and print our DIY couple’s retreat itinerary and preparation checklist.

Our couple’s therapy ideas bring in practical science along with mental health, nutrition, fitness, and reconnecting relationship activities.

Plus, we’re just an email away for questions.

Beyond This Couple’s Retreat

Whether it’s you and your partner’s first couple’s retreat or not, we hope that you were able to reset, rejuvenate, and replenish your energy and love.

Let us know what movie you watched and how you felt together during your wellness and spa day at home.

Now that you have completed the at-home marriage retreat together, you can reconnect to your phones. But, be thoughtful about how much you use your phones.

Ryan and I researched and studied the best apps out there for married couples to improve their relationship. We tell you which apps for married couples are worth it, and which ones you should skip.

Read our full article, ‘The 12 Best Apps for Married Couples.’

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At-Home Date Ideas Menu_Ryan and Alex Duo Life

The Healthy Couples Bundle

A decade of experience, hundreds of hours of research and testing, and over 50,000 words of wisdom condensed into one PDF.

Our proven tools and strategies to optimize your relationship.

- The best apps, books, and movies for couples
- Our 1-Day DIY Marriage Retreat
- Questions for conversation and connection
- The At-Home Date Night "Menu"

As Seen In Feature Bar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.

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