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Healing Loss, Opening Hearts

South of Nashville, Tennessee, October 16-18, 2020

About the Weekend

The program is peer-led by women and by married couples who have survived an affair, or a husband’s struggles with same-sex attractions, porn or sex addictions, or other difficult issues.

These staff-volunteers have been there — and made it through to the other side: to stronger, healthier lives, individually and/or as couples.

At A Woman Who Loves, you’ll have many opportunities to experience:

  • Women who really “get” you. Be surrounded — perhaps for the first time in your life — by women who really understand what you are going through, because they are on a very similar journey themselves.
  • Clarity. By sharing life experiences, and participating in powerful self-discovery processes, you’ll feel clarity and understanding begin to replace confusion and frustration.
  • Reframing your “stories.” Learn to challenge the internal “stories” (beliefs, judgments) that cause you unnecessary distress and consider other, more peaceful, ways of thinking.
  • Fear and anger release. Feel the freedom of honoring and releasing your fear and anger in healthy ways in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Grief and shame release. Work through some of your own personal grief and shame in what may be the most supportive, accepting environment you’ve ever known. 
  • Your inner strength. Discover the strength you already have to know and set healthy boundaries and to stand strong in spite of what life may send you. 
  • Your inner wisdom. Meet your inner “Wise Woman,” the part of you who loves deeply and who knows intuitively what the next right step is. She is already inside of you, waiting for you to quiet your mind and anxieties so you can meet her in a place of acceptance and peace.

This weekend intensive is for women who are committed to their own personal growth — and who are ready to experience breakthrough emotional shifts and insights, regardless of some of the choices the men or others in their lives may have made.

What to Expect

A Woman Who Loves is supportive, welcoming, and experiential. You’ll discover through experience, by touching your feelings, and by listening to your inner wisdom and to God’s spirit. We’ll get real and open our hearts together. This may be the most authentic and accepting place you’ve ever known.

We begin on Friday afternoon and continue until Sunday afternoon. We provide about 20 program hours of experiential processes — teaching, break-out groups, sharing, journaling, meditations, emotional processing, psychodrama (role playing internal conflicts), affirmations. And celebration!

A Woman Who Loves is residential, meaning all participants and staff-volunteers stay onsite at the retreat center for the full weekend experience. We sleep in shared, temperature-controlled group rooms (usually 2 to 4 women per room) and eat together in a dining hall. Six healthy meals are served — from dinner Friday through lunch Sunday.

The number of participants has ranged from 7 to 25 in the past. We usually have about 15 volunteer-staffers, usually including about 5 husbands. 

A Woman Who Loves was life changing for me. It helped me to be aware of my inner strength and my power. It was inside of me all along, I just didn’t realize it. I was taught how to actually feel my emotions and work through them instead of stuffing them deep inside and feeling depressed. I have learned techniques to better communicate in my marriage as well as with my children and with others in my life. It has been a blessing in my life.

Amy, Utah

Not Just for Wives, Not Just About SSA

We have consistently found that this work is just as healing and empowering for women whose current concerns are not directly related to husbands or to sexuality issues.

This weekend is about you.

Whether you’re facing trauma, betrayal, grief, shame, self-doubt or whatever else may be causing distress, A Woman Who Loves can help you find the strength and solutions that are already within you. We can help you find the peace you are searching for. We teach:

“Any feeling fully felt will shift to another feeling, until ultimately you arrive at a place of peace.”

During this weekend, we will help you recognize, understand and move through your emotions to help you arrive at a place of greater peace. 

A Woman Who Loves is not only about healing loss. It’s also about opening hearts to love again, or to love more deeply. It’s about empowering growth. And accessing joy.

Group and Individual “Work”

We do this work in large-group sessions or small break-out groups. We allow ample time for women to do their own individual work in various small-group settings.

Everything we do is built on first creating an environment of emotional safety where you can trust taking risks to face your pain or “do your work.”

We honor every woman’s free choice to go as deep as she may want to and be prepared to. Anyone can “pass” and choose to not participate in any particular process. If you do “pass,” our staff-volunteers will likely ask what is behind that choice for you, but we will never force or pressure you to do anything against your will or anything that may not feel quite right to you. 

About the People

About the Participants

Past participants have ranged in age from 23 to their 60s. Some have been married for decades already; others, for just a few months. Others were single, separated, divorced or widowed. Some have even attended who were engaged to marry an SSA man who encouraged her to attend so she can better understand him and so they can be better equipped to walk this journey together, as a couple.

Many participants attend at a crisis point in their marriages, when they are preparing to make life-changing decisions. Others are generally happy in their marriages, and are really attending more for their own personal-growth and also to be better equipped to understand and support their husbands’ journeys.

Most but not all participants are married to men who experience same-sex attractions. Sometimes their husbands have been serial adulterers or sex addicts. Other husbands have never acted on their same-sex attractions at all, although they may still experience temptations, distress or internal conflict over their attractions.

About the Volunteer Staff

A Woman Who Loves is led and facilitated by non-professional peer mentors who have relevant life experience and skills. They are women and men whose marriages have survived and even (ultimately) thrived as the husband addressed the root causes of his issues, the wife confronted her own anger, fear, betrayal, sadness or shame, and the couple, together, worked towards a more rewarding and intimate relationship as husband and wife.

The leaders and volunteers are not professional counselors or therapists (or if they do happen to work in that professional capacity in their regular everyday lives, they are not serving as counselors or therapists during the retreat). 

About the Co-Creators

The program was co-created in 2009 by Mary Jane Morgan, a licensed counselor and the  wife of a man who formerly struggled with SSA, and Rich Wyler, the founder of Brothers on a Road Less Traveled and creator of its life-changing Journey Into Manhood and Journey Continues programs.