Thursday, August 5, 2010

Marriage Rehab

I have (or will today) post a stand-alone page on my views of infertility in the context of a Catholic marriage.  I'm sure this could also be a view on Christian marriage, I can't be too sure about that because I was a confirmed Catholic when I got married.

Just into our second year of marriage, I asked my husband to go to Retrouvaille to help our marriage.  I was really struggling adapting to being married.  My expectations of what my husband should be doing or how he should be treating me were not the reality.  We were learning in a very intimate way what the other person's likes and dislikes were and sometimes these attitudes were diametrically opposed.  And this was causing me acute stress and pain.  Our fights were becoming more intense and I knew I couldn't keep living at such an intense level so often.  I was becoming depressed and thinking often about divorce which depressed me even more.

Our home parish does not advertise or talk about Retrouvaille which I think is a huge disservice to the parishioners but more on that another day.  Two married men in my RCIA class had talked to the group about it.  They described it as a weekend retreat for married couples that their wives had asked them to attend.  Tellingly, they said, "...but my marriage wasn't that bad."  Then I knew Retrouvaille was for couples that had it bad.  [Not necessarily, see below.]

The weekend is definitely NOT a retreat.  After you register, they tell you it's a working weekend.  And you work all weekend long.  From Friday evening to Sunday night, you never think or feel like you got enough sleep.  You spend all your time learning about the presenting couples and what their problems were, what a good marriage looks like, and you start to learn the deepest feelings of your spouse.  There are tissue boxes under every chair and nearly everybody cries at some point.  Even a lot of the men.

I can honestly say that what we learned in Retrouvaille has helped my husband and I be sensitive to one another's needs and helped me better understand what a Christian marriage looks like.  I feel very, very blessed that the Catholic church and the Pope support Retrouvaille and help thousands of couples stay together every year.  Retreats happen all over the world!

I'm posting my story because I want more people to know they have options, too.  And remember, you don't have to get to a really low point before it's worth it to attend Retrouvaille.  It can help any married Christian understand one another and begin to build a better marriage.    

1 comment: