2 X 2 Couples Retreat: 10 Reasons To Do ItMany farm families are concerned about the health of their marriages and partnerships. My speaker friend Dan Ohler is our guest this week to encourage you to think about doing a private marriage retreat or couples retreat.

With all the stresses and strains on ag families, there is hope. Consider ways to cherish each other more. Part of that work may be spending time with folks like Dan and Carole Ohler who have practical tools to help farm couples.

2 X 2 Couple’s Retreat: 10 Reasons To Do It

As farmers, most of us want, and/or have, and/or need a 4 X 4 truck. If you’re like us, it’s a no-brainer – for stability, safety, flexibility, and power.

Our 4 X 4 keeps us solidly on the road, regardless of the conditions. When consciously attending to conditions, we travel safely and get where we’re going. We have the flexibility to get through muddy fields to the tractor or rescue a new-born calf in the back 40 in a snowstorm. It gives us that extra “oomph” when hauling a heavy load.

We all know the truck needs regular maintenance so it will perform for the long-term. We can do some of it, but occasionally we need to book a specialist when there is that weird little noise, a strange lurch, a “something” that we can’t quite explain. In those situations, “don’t wait until it’s too late.”

In your relationship with your life-partner, you need a 2 X 2 for similar reasons. Just like your 4 X 4, there are many reasons for occasionally booking the expertise of specialists at a couples retreat, to ensure your relationship thrives for the long-term. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

couples retreat - healthy marriage

A 2 X 2?

We’re referring to a couples retreat, where you and your partner get away from your familiar surroundings, to invest focused time with another couple who specialize in relationship enhancement, a 2-on-2.

Here are 10 reasons this type of couples retreat is important for you.

1. Focused Time Together

Agreeing to schedule a retreat sends a strong underlying message that your relationship is a priority. A retreat does not mean there is anything broken. In fact, engaging in a retreat is a sign of strength, passion, and a willingness to excel. It’s an indication that you are willing to work together as a strong team.

2. Honest Dialogue

Relationships aren’t perfect. Situations occur. There are differences of opinions, sometimes deeply-seated values differences. It can be hard to talk about these things effectively and respectfully on your own. They start as small things, and can become a growing pile of … stinky stuff, right in the middle of your kitchen floor. Rather than deal with it, you creatively dance around it.

Relationship coaches provide a safe environment, and guidance for you to have these delicate conversations, so both feel valued and heard.

3. Understanding

Conflicting opinions can be extremely powerful in a relationship. Encouraging and inviting dissenting ideas can invigorate creativity and innovation when handled effectively and respectfully. This is constructive. When handled ineffectively and disrespectfully, the relationship crumbles – it becomes destructive.

Relationship coaches ensure the constructive process is followed. Each of you gets the opportunity to talk about your thoughts and feelings, and share possible solutions without interruptions. You gain a deeper understanding of how your partner thinks, feels, and processes the world.

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4. Connection

We regularly hear that one or both people crave a deeper sense of connection. This is intimacy. We’re not referring to sex, however, what happens in your private time is up to you.

We’ve heard intimacy defined as “Into Me See.”

Couples retreat - connection

Relationship coaches provide a safe environment to be vulnerable, without fear of defense, anger, put-downs, or arguments. In this mental/emotional space, you learn about yourself and each other in a new way, and truly “be” who you are at the core.

For Love to flourish, this intimacy must grow on a continual basis. You can talk openly about and visualize your values, needs, wants, and desires, as individuals and as a team. Having a powerful “team dream” provides the fire-in-the-belly passion and motivation to succeed – no matter what.

5. Tools, Strategies, or Plans

Having the dream is powerful, but it’s not likely to happen on its own. Yet with a collective view of what you want your relationship and life to look like, sound like, and feel like, you can easily determine what needs to be done – or not done.

Most people live by habit – usually unconscious ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving. Through an intuitive questioning process, relationship coaches invite and encourage the formation of new or revised habits, which lead to desired results. Strategies for working individually and together are developed.

Old habits don’t change easily or quickly. You will develop a support system (usually each other) for long-term growth and success.

6. Agreement

Most couples develop one or two plans for immediate focus. Steps and milestones are agreed to. Creating these conscious agreements eliminates assumptions and unmet expectations, and reinforce accountability.

If the agreements are not able to be kept, you’ll develop a renegotiation process, to ensure the agreements or renegotiated agreements are kept.

7. Commitment

All of this forward-moving, solution-oriented conversation in a safe, protected environment is great BUT…what happens when you get back home, where you encounter interruptions, commotions, and disturbances?

It can be too easy to fall back into old habits. We call it a Crash of Faith.

Relationship coaches will ask for and support you to commit at the highest level. If there are things that might get in the way of your success, you’ll develop strategies to deal with those.

8. Appreciation

A solid grounding at a couple’s retreat is appreciation. You have been attracted to your partner for many reasons. Although your partner’s strengths may be different than yours, they are attributes that can make your team even stronger, every day. Throughout your retreat, this appreciation grows. Neurologically, when you are in a state of appreciation, anger cannot exist.

9. Relief

Regardless of your mental or emotional states, the process used by relationship coaches allows you to experience relief from where you were, to experience something a bit better, and to commit to escalating those feelings to a higher level. It’s tough to go from anger, worry, or concern, to a feeling of ecstasy in one leap. It is possible to continually choose a bit of relief in each moment.

10. Celebration

In our fast-paced world, it is too easy to go from task to task, without stopping to reflect, evaluate, and celebrate.

Celebration in your relationship doesn’t need to be big, loud, or extravagant. Committing to take the time to slow down together, reflect together, and to celebrate together is the icing on the cake.

Couples retreat - celebration

Relationship coaches will celebrate with you every step of the way.

Now, What About You?

Your quality of life and the success of your farming operation is largely dependent on the quality of your relationship with your partner. Similar to your land, equipment, and your 4 X 4, your relationship requires care, attention, and maintenance.

Just like your 4 X 4, don’t wait until it’s too late!

Dan & Carol Ohler specialize in working with couples to prioritize and enhance their most important relationship. As coaches, the process is Art and Science. It is an intuitive solution-oriented, forward-moving method to support you to get the results you want. They invite you to visit their website, email them or call them at 780-785-3700.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
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Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
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Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
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Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
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Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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