Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
Troubled couples rediscover their marriages
Retrouvaille challenges the social tragedy of widespread divorce
- Design Pics
It doesn't have to be this way. Retrouvaille helps couples overcome a marriage gone bad.
By ANN LEWIS
Special to the WCR
The wedding was a big affair in the cathedral just nine years ago.
They had six bridesmaids, six best men and two priests. The reception was for 350 people.
Tonight the harsh words and ugly names reverberate in the silence of their living room. The muffled sobs of the children can be heard coming from the bedroom.
The latest estimates by Statistics Canada (2005) put the risk of divorce by the 30th wedding anniversary at 38 per cent for the country as a whole and 41.9 per cent for Alberta (Vanier Institute of the Family).
Divorce, especially for couples with children, is not just a personal tragedy - it is a social crisis. "They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village," says Diane Sollee, director of the Coalition For Marriage, Family and Couples Education.
Retrouvaille (the French word for rediscovery) is creating villages. It is a program designed to help couples living in the pain of a marriage gone bad. It was started in Hull, Quebec, in 1979 and is offered in over 30 countries today. It is a peer ministry - married couples reaching out to other couples.
Retrouvaille is a marriage program that starts with an intense weekend facilitated by three couples and a priest. The three couples had all experienced pain and misery in their own marriages.
Retrouvaille is not a two-day miracle. After the weekend, there is a series of 12 post sessions with the couples usually meeting once a week for two hours. The follow-up is very important since it allows a couple to put into practice the skills they learned on the weekend along with the support of presenting couples.
The final phase of the program is called CORE, or Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience. This is an ongoing support group for couples in the program. The Retrouvaille "family" meets once a month to help and support each other, since the healing process usually takes a lot longer than just the initial weekend and follow-up period.
Retrouvaille teaches couples how to communicate, how to trust, how to forgive, how to resolve conflict, even how to fight - yes, how to fight.
Couples want hope, they want to believe their marriage can survive. We offer them hope because we have been through it and we have survived.
For confidential information about or to register for the next program beginning with a weekend Aug. 22 to 24, call Elton and Ann Lewis at 780-986-1008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.helpourmarriage.com