How Much Is Your Relationship Worth?

I have a friend. Let’s call her Vanessa. One evening Vanessa noticed her husband’s wallet on the dresser in their bedroom and had an odd thought. You should look in there. Nah, Vanessa thought back. But the voice wouldn’t go away so she looked in the wallet. Over the course of several months Vanessa had to look at lots of things, like cell phone bills, bank accounts, and credit card bills for some other woman’s flowers.

What does adultery have to do with business?

Maybe if Vanessa and her husband had read a few of the hundreds of books on the market about how to keep the spark in their marriage, it might not have come to infidelity, but it did. As she tried to save her marriage, Vanessa introduced me to an industry I never knew existed. The ‘relationship industry’ includes such things as books, seminars, marriage counseling, and intensive retreats to improve the marital relationship. It’s big business.

Outfits like After the Affair promise to help you get over the pain of a straying spouse in a supportive, group therapy atmosphere. Affair Recovery offers an emergency marriage seminar for $1,500 per couple – not including lodging!

Associates in Couples Counseling says relationships will benefit from retreats if the following are going on in a marriage:

  • Ongoing communication problems that you can’t seem to change.
  • A recent or unsettled relationship crisis such as an affair.
  • Recurring conflicts that remain unresolved.
  • Collaborations which frequently fail.
  • Distance & disconnection.
  • You want to rekindle your relationship or enhance closeness.
  • Intimacy problems.
  • Problematic joint parenting or troubles with your blended family.
  • One partner has ADD, an anxiety disorder, depression, or health problems.
  • You experienced a significant loss in the family leading to distance or conflict.

Soon they will offer Advice via email as a quick way to get practical, helpful, individualized feedback for your relationship at moderate cost. Funny, email was what got Vanessa’s husband into trouble in the first place. 

Is it worth it? Vanessa has attended several of these ‘recovery’ events in the past eighteen months. She has participated willingly in individual and couples counseling. She has spent thousands of dollars. Vanessa is still married, which was her goal. She’s also still really pissed off at her husband.