The Even Better Retreat

By: Ted Harro

The Even Better Retreat

A few years ago, we went on one of those marriage weekends you may have attended. Us and 386 of our closest friends in a drafty ballroom. Long teaching sessions followed by a few short minutes to talk with each other over a coffee break. And the dreaded “tell the stranger sitting next to you all about your marriage secrets. In excruciating detail. In 3 minutes. GO!!”

That was the start of Even Better. We sat in the lobby and started designing the marriage retreat we’d always wanted to attend but couldn’t find, one for couples who have a good marriage and want it to be even better. While it’s not for everybody, the couples who have attended share our enthusiasm for what happens there.

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Here are the FAQs.

What is Even Better?

Marriage is about more than superficial or temporary happiness. It can lead us into great joy. Even Better is an interactive marriage retreat experience designed to inspire good marriages toward becoming transformative marriages.

Who is the target audience for Even Better?

Even Better is designed for married couples of any age/stage of marriage who have solid marriages. Couples who have been married as short as six months and as long as 40+ years have benefited from the experience. While our approach to marriage is deeply Christian, we welcome people in any part of their spiritual journey to join us.

Who is not the target audience for Even Better?

Unmarried people or those in marriages with significant distress are not a good fit for this experience.

Who leads Even Better?

Ted and Gretchen Harro created and lead Even BetterClick here for more on their story.

The Even Better team also includes mentor couples who attend to connect with participants. These volunteers have decades of marriage experience and are all alumni of the retreat.

What are the learning objectives of Even Better?

In one simple sentence, Even Better teaches couples how God uses marriage to change us and change the world.

Each couple should come away from the experience with a deep appreciation of:

  • How marriage is designed to be a reflection of the joyfully giving relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit
  • How God is using their marriage to change each of them as individuals from the inside out into the kinds of people who will make great marriage partners
  • How God is working in their marriage to create close and enduring connection
  • How God is using their marriage to engage them in His redemptive project for the sake of the world

What is Even Better like?

  • It’s highly experiential. We purposely flip the proportion of content and interactivity so that most sessions are 50-80% application and interaction. We have several programmatic surprises to keep participants engaged and to tap into multiple learning styles. #NoLongLectures
  • It’s highly relational. We restrict the number of participants so that teaching and free time naturally facilitate interaction. We also give permission and space for plenty of time for couples to interact on their own – or in smaller groups if desired. #WithEachOther #NoForcedSharing
  • It’s moderately structured. We believe in creating space for people to breathe and process, so we have ample free time and optional activities scheduled in. #UsTime #NapsRock
  • It’s deeply spiritual. We purposely blend spiritual practices, foundational theology, and the best of couples psychology. This retreat is not psychotherapy with a gloss of scripture. It treats marriage as a God-inspired sacred act. #It’sAllHis

How many couples can attend Even Better?

Up to 16 couples can attend Even Better as participants. We usually have at least two volunteer couples beyond Ted and Gretchen who act as mentors and facilitators.

What are the time parameters for Even Better?

The experience runs from Friday evening at 7PM through Sunday noon. The experience builds on itself through that time so it is very important that participants come for the opening event and stay through Sunday morning.

Where does Even Better happen?

We currently hold Even Better at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, WI. Their facility has been ideal for our past retreats and couples enjoy the proximity to the village of Lake Geneva.

We have also held the retreat for groups in other parts of the country. Let us know if you’re interested in hosting an Even Better near you!

What does Even Better cost?

Unless supplemented by a church, the weekend costs $510 per couple ($485 if the amount is paid by the early bird deadline). Payment covers lodging, all meals Saturday and breakfast Sunday morning, refreshments, and all programming costs.

As a comparison, other popular marriage weekends cost $200-350 for program costs in addition to $350+ for lodging and food, for a total of $550-750 per couple. We’re able to keep our costs lower because our entire team acts as volunteers. Our time is our gift to you.