Below are a few of our Marriage Counseling FAQs. For any other questions you may have about the National Institute of Marriage please contact us via or 417.335.5882

What is the difference between the 3, 4, and 5 Day Intensive programs?

  • The 4-Day Group Intensive utilizes a structure that is the most powerful format we’ve found in marriage counseling for helping couples move past the barriers that keep them from experiencing the marriage of their dreams.  While it’s common for many couples to be reluctant to discuss their relationship in front of others, our experience is they rave about the group format on Post-Intensive surveys and leave with a renewed hope in their marriages.
    • Approximately 32 hours of marriage counseling with our team of marriage counselors
    • A safe and supportive environment with a maximum of 5 couples and two marriage counselors
    • 4 days and 5 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location
    • A participant manual and other follow up services with a NIM coach
  • The 5-Day Couple’s Intensive is our premier intensive experience which provides the most focused care of any NIM program.  In this program, you will receive both individual and joint counseling over a period of five days from a male/female therapy team.  While all of our individuals programs are tailored to couples’ specific needs, this longer format allows for much more flexibility as you determine with the counselors the direction of each day’s sessions.
    • Approximately 32 hours of marriage counseling with a guaranteed male/female team
    • A safe, supportive, and private environment
    • 5 days and 5 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location
    • A participant manual and other follow up services with a NIM coach
  • The 3-Day Couple’s Intensive utilizes the same powerful principles as the 4-Day Group Intensive yet is perfectly designed to provide additional privacy during marriage counseling, individual care, and more scheduling flexibility
    • Approximately 20 hours of exclusive marriage counseling with one or two NIM counselors
    • 3 days and 3 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location
    • A participant manual and other follow up services with a NIM coach

What if my spouse is not open to attending an Intensive program?

  • Fortunately, over the years we have learned that each spouse has far more ability to positively influence in how the marriage functions than they generally realize, even with an uncooperative spouse. Additionally, in the intensive programs we teach the importance of “self care” and what that looks like.  If your spouse is unwilling to attend an intensive with you, we encourage you to seek the help you personally need to walk this journey in a healthy way.  While the majority of our programs are designed for couples in crisis, we do have a program that is designed for individuals needing help to get to a healthy place personally and be an encouragement toward positive change relationally. The 3-Day Spouse’s Intensive is an option for these individuals.
    • Approximately 20 hours of counseling with the caring, attentive, and focused attention of one NIM counselor
    • 3 days and 3 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location
    • A participant manual and other follow up services with a NIM counselor

Where and when are the Intensive programs held?

  • Marriage counseling in the 4-Day Intensive is held at the National Institute of Marriage in Branson, MO and at the WinShape Marriage Retreat Center in Rome, GA (north of Atlanta).  The 4-Day Intensives are scheduled weekly in Branson, MO and once a month in Rome, GA.  Click here for a full schedule of the 4-Day Intensive counseling programs.
  • Private marriage counseling programs (3, and 5 Day Intensives) are scheduled on an as needed basis at the National Institute of Marriage in Branson, MO.

What if my spouse and/or I do not feel comfortable in a group marriage counseling setting?

  • We realize it is intimidating for many people to open up in a group setting; a concern we hear quite often.  Most come dreading the group marriage counseling format, but by the end would not have it any other way.  However, we are here to serve you and in the end it will be your decision which program you believe will best suit you and your needs. In the group setting NIM’s marriage counselors create a safe environment for individuals to express concerns and struggles, help couples learn through observation and feedback, and the group provides relationships for continued support after the intensive.  Each couple works specifically with the marriage counselors on their issues (this is NOT a cookie-cutter format of a retreat or seminar, but actually very customized and practical).
  • Many individuals who have concerns about affairs, pornography, or childhood abuse have found it very therapeutic to let the “secret” out in the safe setting of the group intensives, because it becomes less of a burden for them to bear alone and they often find empathy and support from others with similar struggles.  Again, the atmosphere of the location is very private and the marriage counselors are specially trained to create a safe environment.

Are there cases when you would NOT recommend one of NIM’s marriage counseling programs?

  • 2 Stipulations:
    • 1. If there is currently a substance addiction, the individual would need to complete, or be actively involved in, a rehabilitation program prior to participating in a marriage counseling program.  In order for the experience to have a fair chance to be effective, individuals need to be attentive throughout the intensive without any chemical influence or impairment.
    • If there is currently an ongoing physical or emotional affair, the program will not be as effective.  The program’s effectiveness depends on two individuals who are focusing on their marriage.  The affair must be cut off and both partners need to focus and commit to the present relationship prior to registering for an intensive program.  Even if you are unsure about the future, there needs to be at least a temporary commitment to focusing on this opportunity and explore possibilities with an open heart.

How is NIM’s Intensive Marriage Counseling Programs different from weekly marriage counseling?

  • Intensive Marriage Counseling Format:  If you’ve been in traditional marriage counseling before, you may have experienced a situation similar to this:  you spend the first ten minutes of your session catching up from the week before, the next thirty minutes getting into the real issues, and then a few minutes getting ready to close, with little to no time spent on making actual progress.  Before you know it your time is up for the week.  Traditional counseling can be very effective and beneficial; however, progress is often very slow and often frustrating when the issues feel big and upsetting.  The intensive format was designed to allow individuals to get to the root of their issues quickly with ample time to focus on resolution and growth.  The extended amount of time spent within the intensive setting allows individuals the chance to go deeper without many of the distractions of daily life and time to stay long enough to consider the solutions available to them.
  • Efficiency:  One of the first steps in the intensive process is a reasonably extensive assessment and questionnaire that allows the therapists to gather background information and get an idea of the best way to proceed before you arrive for your session.
  • Marriage Counselors: Our therapists are specialists in the area of marriage counseling.  One analogy we like to use is that of the Mayo Clinic:  people go to their regular physician but may be sent to a specialist to work with specific areas.  NIM’s marriage therapists have been trained in this format to maximize its effectiveness.  Also, several of the intensive counseling programs provide the perspectives and insight of two professionals, rather than one.

Will my insurance cover all or a part of the cost for the Intensive Marriage Counseling?

  • The National Institute of Marriage recommends that all clients contact their insurance company/human resource department prior to coming to an intensive to clarify what benefits may apply.  When requested by the client, NIM will provide a detailed receipt with a diagnosis and CPT code for your insurance purposes.  This receipt will show the marriage counselor and clinic information, EIN, License number and the amount the client has paid.  However, the National Institute of Marriage currently does not submit to insurance companies on behalf of our clients.

How are the Intensive programs different from other marriage events?

  • We have researched other major programs that are similar to ours and being offered to couples throughout the nation.  Honestly, from our research of the many programs that are being offered, there are some programs that are only similar in that they are trying to help marriages.  The main distinctions can be categorized as 1) what type of couples is the program designed to help, 2) who are the leaders, and 3) the format.
  • Who the intensives are designed to help:  Most programs are what we consider “enrichment” programs, meaning that, in general, they can facilitate growth or rekindle romance in a relationship that is generally healthy or has a solid foundation.  Our program targets couples who are often in a marriage crisis (separated, divorcing, hopeless, etc.), couples who are very “stuck” and discouraged, and couples who say they have “tried everything else” and have not seen results or a breakthrough.  People often attend our program as a “last ditch effort” in their marriage, not as a booster for enrichment.  In researching some of the other programs, we feel that frustration and, in some cases, additional harm can be experienced by the couples who attended and needed more than what that program was designed to offer.  The sessions often opened wounds and stirred things up, but the program was not equipped and leaders were not available to help navigate those charged areas safely or find resolution.
  • Leaders:  The leaders in many other programs are not necessarily trained professional counselors/therapists or psychologists (this training requires either a Masters Degree or PhD, licensure requirements by the state, thousands of hours of experience and supervision, etc.).  One big distinction in our organization is that all of our counseling staff are trained professionals.  While pastors, lay-helpers, and marriage mentors can be wonderful facilitators with compassion, life experience, and testimonies, that is very different than a trained professional that is equipped with knowledge, skills, and experience for more complex dynamics and deeper needs.
  • Format:  This is the most significant distinction.  Our programs are NOT a typical seminar, conference, workshop, or retreat.  There is not a schedule or particular specific lectures and presentations – it is not a cookie-cutter or “canned” approach to the situations and problems the clients are presenting.  Over the years, our team of clinical professionals have collaborated their areas of expertise and we developed a “model” or approach, theories about working with couples, along with specific techniques that we have found to be effective for individuals and impacting change in relationship.  We have observed and explored many myths about relationships and have worked to define the actual elements of truth in a way that is easy to understand and apply.  All of this is the foundation that the counselors work from, however the actual format and delivery during the programs is not delivered as a “structured model.”  We gather detailed information from each spouse PRIOR to their arrival so the counselors can review and get a sense of the unique aspect of concerns to consider for each individual, each couple, and the group as a whole (In the case of the 4-Day Group Intensive, there are never more than 5 couples, so it is a small group, not a large group or audience).  Time is spent custom-tailored to your needs. 
    • 4-Day Group Intensive:  While some programs assign “couples time” and “homework” type exercises, in our program the entire 4 days (approximately 32 hours) are spent directly with the two therapists in the group.  Each couple has multiple opportunities to work with the therapists directly to explore the areas and issues that are critical to their situation and the therapists will discuss and then teach as needed the specific concepts or skills as it applies directly to that situation.  Some of the benefits that we observe from this approach include the following:
      • It is not high pressure and people can establish their comfort before participating directly.
      • People have commented that they sometimes learn more by observing when another couple is working directly with the therapists because they can be more objective and not as emotionally distracted.
      • Memory and learning seem to be more powerful when it is specific and relevant by applying in a current situation.

Some may ask if there is individual time with the therapists, and generally there’s not.  The therapists do attend meal times and are on location usually during breaks, so they are available and approachable if there is a concern that needs to be addressed or if a client needs to ask a question before bringing it up in the group.  We maintain this format because (in addition to the above reasons) the small group provides the following:

  • Opportunities to learn through the other relationships
  • Opportunities to receive support
  • Opportunities to receive encouragement
  • Opportunities to receive feedback
  • Opportunities to grow by participating and providing support, encouragement, and feedback to others

Since the days are long and quite involved, we do not have structured assignments for the evenings.  That time is free for couples and individuals to relax, go out, visit with others, and take good care of themselves as needed.

What if my spouse and/or I do not feel comfortable staying in the same room together?

  • We realize that the rooming arrangements might be a concern with some couples because they are currently separated or they do not feel comfortable staying in the same room with their spouse.  We are committed to making sure each couple’s stay with the National Institute of Marriage is as safe and comfortable as possible.  The lodging arrangements for each location are listed below.  If additional rooms are needed, our team will be able to provide you with necessary information to make these arrangements (the additional room cost will be the couple’s responsibility).
    • Branson – One bedroom with a king bed and a full bath.
    • Rome – One bedroom with a queen bed and a full bath.

What airport should I use when traveling to an Intensive?

Intensives in Branson, MO

  • Springfield-Branson Regional (1 hour north), smaller, often more expensive airport
  • Branson Airport, Branson Missouri, smaller, often more expensive airport
  • North Arkansas Regional airport (Fayetteville, Arkansas, 2.5 hr drive), generally less expensive than Springfield
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO (all about 3.5-4 hr drive), major hub airports, less expensive flights

Intensives in Rome, GA

  • Atlanta airports (1.5 hr drive)
  • Chattanooga airports (1.5 hr drive)

What if I have questions that are not listed in the FAQ section?

  • We apologize for not having the information you are looking for listed in this section of our website.  We want to assist you in getting the information you need to make informed decisions about our programs.  Here are a few option for you:
    • To ask additional questions, please call the National Institute of Marriage at 866-875-2915 where one of our trained consultants are ready to confidentially and sensitively answer any questions in helping you determine the program that is best for you and your mate.
    • Email your question to NIM  We will respond as soon as we can.
  • We look forward to hearing from you.

Recent Tweets


2175 Sunset Inn Road, Branson, Missouri 65616
Toll Free: (866) 875-2915