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Couples Retreat: Expert Advice

Oct. 5 2009, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

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The new film Couples Retreat is in theaters this Friday. It centers on four couples who take a vacation to a tropical island paradise. One of the couples is there to work on their struggling marriage, but soon the others discover that the island’s therapy sessions are anything but optional.

Starring A-listers Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis and Jason Bateman, the group embarks on a crazy journey of self-discovery which brings a new slew of problems than the ones they had before.

Article continues below advertisement decided to ask relationship expert and psychotherapist, Lissa Coffee, to compare the movie’s various themes to real life relationship issues. One of the things we wanted to know was, do couples’ retreats really work?

“I think that if you’re the type of couple who likes to do things in groups, than it does,” she said. “But there are other things that work just as well. Going on vacation, getting away from the stresses of everyday life and just spending time together helps keep the connection strong.”

In the film, the couples try various relationship-boosting activities like yoga and snorkling. Coffee says learning something new together is key to keeping things fresh.

“Take classes together, so you’re doing something that’s new for both of you,” she told  “Whether it’s learning a new language, or taking a cooking class, it doesn’t matter as long as its something you both enjoy, so you’re learning and growing at the same time and sharing the same experience.”

Vince Vaughn
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And if none of that works, Coffee says the most important thing is to "remember the qualities that made you fall in love with that person in the first place. Think about what attracted you to that person, talk about how you met, try to conjure up those feelings again--maybe go back to the place where you had your first date and ask yourself, are the feelings still there? Chances are you'll probably say 'yes.'"



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