Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 19, 2010
Retrouvaille offers path to hope for troubled marriages
BRIAN & MONICA KRYSKA
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Brent and Allison (not their real names) met at a Catholic spiritual development program called Genesis II. After a whirlwind romance and the marriage preparation course, they celebrated the sacrament of Marriage in their home parish feeling grateful for the support they received from their Church at that time. It was a match made in heaven.
The next five years were fraught with many unexpected trials. Three children were born with one child requiring life-saving surgery at birth.
The relentless demands of home and work resulted in little time for their relationship. Communication broke down, disillusionment set in and their marriage slowly filled with pain and despair.
They approached the Church for help, seeking a program that might help them reconnect with each other. Retrouvaille had not yet been established in Edmonton.
WHERE IS GOD?
After counselling was unsuccessful, Allison wondered what had happened to their beautiful Catholic marriage and the sacrament of Matrimony and questioned where God was in all the turmoil.
Others looking at their marriage thought all was good. However, disillusionment filled their home.
Several more years passed with them dutifully attending Sunday Mass but the pain at home was becoming unbearable. Brent wondered if they would become a divorce statistic. They approached the Church again for support - their marriage was in trouble and they needed help immediately.
Then, they noticed an article about Retrouvaille in the WCR, which they read repeatedly for months before picking up the phone.
Making the call was difficult because now someone else would know of the pain in their marriage. However, the lady on the phone was kind, caring and understanding. For the first time in years, they felt a glimmer of hope.
Upon attending the program they realized they were not alone.
The presence of the Retrouvaille priest on the weekend reaffirmed that the Catholic Church cared about their marriage.
Edmonton Retrouvaille is a peer ministry that offers hope and support to couples who are experiencing challenges in their marriage.
Some couples register for the program during the initial stages of disillusionment while others are in a state of deep despair. These latter couples often consider Retrouvaille as their final chance for healing their marital relationship.
Many participants say the value of the program is found in the experiences shared by three presenting couples and a Retrouvaille priest and the healing that has occurred in the couples' relationships. Newlyweds to those married for more than 50 years are taught how to communicate in a way that helps them identify and work through the root cause of their marital difficulties.
Attendees do not share their marital story with others. Instead, they listen to the journeys of the presenting team, often connecting deeply with stages of marriage such as romance, disillusionment and/or misery, and the possibility of awakening to a more fulfilling relationship rebuilt on mature love, compassion and respect.
Retrouvaille is reconciliation-in-action. It benefits marriages at all stages from romance to mild disillusionment right to separation and divorce. If Retrouvaille can bring together couples that have already divorced, then think what it can do for couples in the early stages of disillusionment.
The next Retrouvaille begins with a weekend on Aug. 20-22. For information or to register visit www.helpourmarriage.com or phone 780-577-1747.
(Brian and Monica Kryska are the deputy community coordinators for the Edmonton Retrouvaille Community.)
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