Our Marriage and Family Life department recommends Retrouvaille as a programme to support couples who have difficulties in their marriage. The programme helps spouses uncover or re-awaken the love, trust and commitment that originally brought them together and helps them through difficult times whether they are disillusioned or in deep misery. There is a virtual programme coming up very soon (8-11 Feb) and an in-person programme later in the year.
Retrouvaille is not a retreat, marriage counselling, or a sensitivity group. There are neither group dynamics nor group discussions. It is for couples with marital problems including those who are considering marriage separation and those who are already separated or divorced who want help to try again.
What happens during a Retrouvaille programme?
The programme is offered on scheduled weekends beginning Friday evening, and closing with Mass late Sunday afternoon. Twelve post-weekend sessions are presented in four days in the two months following the weekend.
During the weekend phase, a team of three couples and a priest give a series of presentations, which encourage participants to put the past behind them and start re-discovering each other. Presenters share their personal stories of struggle, reconciliation and healing. Hurting couples are invited to see how listening, communication, conflict management and forgiveness are healthy tools for building a stable relationship.
The team presents a technique of communication and practical tools that enables participants to take a good look at most areas of their relationship. After each presentation they have a chance to reflect on it by themselves, then discuss it in complete privacy with their spouse.
The weekend is not a ‘miracle cure’; therefore, the post-weekend sessions have been designed to continue the marriage renewal begun on the weekend.
The post-weekend phase is as crucial, maybe more critical, to the healing of marriage problems. During the post-weekend sessions, the technique learned on the weekend is further developed and is used to explore additional areas of the marriage relationship.
While Retrouvaille is Catholic in origin, couples of all faiths and those with no faith tradition are welcome and encouraged to attend. No attempt is made to convert anyone to a religion. Saving a marriage is the focus.
Currently in the UK, a donation of £500 per couple would cover the cost of the residential weekend, all materials needed for the weekend and the venue and materials for the four post-weekend days.
N.B. The Retrouvaille focus is that a couple is never denied the chance to heal and renew their marriage because of lack of funds.
Visit https://www.retrouvaille.org.uk/ for more information.