Couples Describe Their Experience of Retrouvaille
An unwilling participant
"I was an unwilling participant in Retrouvaille. The first time my husband asked me to go I flatly refused and we legally separated for 13 months.
He moved out but kept the pamphlet. We were both in other relationships even! He came around because of the kids and after awhile he and I became civil to each other - for the kids' sake.
One day we had a conversation, asking each other if we ended up with what we wanted. Were either of us happy? At that point he asked me again to attend Retrouvaille with him.
I agreed, just because I couldn't think of a good reason not to. Our marriage counselling hadn't worked, we were living two separate lives, nothing to lose.
But we have 3 kids together. I guess it was ultimately because of the kids. I figured even if it only helps us to communicate better for the sake of the kids, I suppose I'll go.
I was even the one sitting at the weekend with crossed arms and stubborn attitude, hoping 'HE' would learn something!
Mark and I are celebrating our 19th anniversary this year. I thank God every day for this second chance with Mark - and for Retrouvaille - our lifeline!
For a clearer view
"One of the articles on the Retrouvaille web site was what convinced my wife and I there might be some use in attending.
We were both fed up with being married and were looking for an acceptable way out. One of the articles contained this paragraph near the end:
'The only thing we can promise on Sunday night [of the weekend],' he says, 'is you will have a good view whether your marriage can be rectified and what you have to do to solve the problems."
Nothing to lose
"Two and a half years ago, I was an unwilling wife - unwilling to attend Retrouvaille. My husband brought home a flyer about Retrouvaille.
The idea! There was nothing wrong with us that he couldn't fix by "straightening up and flying right!"
I knew what our problem was... him! I ripped the flyer in half and threw it on the floor.
Six months ago, we attended our Retrouvaille weekend. I just finally decided I had nothing to lose."
I needed persuading!
"I did not want to go on the Retrouvaille weekend. My brother and his wife were involved with Marriage Encounter at the time and they are the ones who convinced me to go.
My husband asked me to go and I said "No way, I just want out." My sister-in-law made a special trip to visit with me and talk to me about how I was dealing with our separation,
how was I doing in general, and couldn't I just give the weekend a chance and then make a final decision about the outcome of the marriage after going on the weekend.
I went because they said there was still hope, not because my husband had said it. He enlisted the help of my family, knowing I would give credibility to my brother and sister-in-law's hopes;
so, I decided to do one last nice thing for him before quitting the marriage. And here we are, now, about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.
I recommend finding an ally among the other spouse's family or friends, convince them that the weekend is a good idea, and then ask them to talk to the spouse who is unwilling to attend. Hope this helps someone!"
I ran out of excuses!
"My husband tried for a year to get me to go to Retrouvaille. A weekend would come up and he would ask me again to attend.
I would have an excuse ("a good excuse") each time. In January, I had run out of excuses, he had heard of so many couples who went and he wanted that for us too!!!
I decided it was a weekend away without the 3 kids, we should try it!!!! Yes, I was surprised and a bit embarrassed when I realised that it was an experience that he
and I could go through together and learn so much. I thank GOD for getting us there and my husband for waiting for me."
Don't be afraid of the Retrouvaille weekend
"I am a control freak. I lived in this perfect little world where nothing was wrong because I wouldn't let it go wrong.
My wife had asked me to attend Marriage Encounters in the past, but I just took the attitude of 'Why should we attend that, we're not in trouble?'.
Boy was I ever wrong! One evening my wife came home and as usual an argument ensued. She basically informed me that either I leave, go to counselling with her,
or attend something called Retrouvaille. Now I couldn't even spell Retrouvaille much less know what it was!
However, my perfect little world came crashing down and I knew I had to make a decision.
My wife is very important to me and I made a vow in front of God, her, and our families that we be together through the good times and bad.
Well these certainly were bad! So I agreed to attend Retrouvaille.
Guys, I have to tell you that after attending the Retrouvaille weekend I am a changed person.
Our marriage is on the mend and I know now what I have to do to keep us together. Don't be afraid of the weekend.
You will be surprised to see that others have the same problems and that you are not alone.
Please try to think about what brought you together in the beginning and keep that thought with you.
No one was more apprehensive about the weekend then I. As a control freak, this was one time when I had to turn the reins over to God and let him make the choices and decisions.
It was the best move I ever made! Please, please attend Retrouvaille with your wife and keep an open mind and heart. With your hard work and God's grace you can get through this."
We were about to divorce
"When my husband asked me to attend a Retrouvaille weekend, I was not particularly willing. We were in the middle of divorce proceedings.
I asked if I could think it over. I agreed to attend after I spoke with a close friend at work. I told her I was not sure about attending the weekend.
She encouraged me when she said, 'Why not give your marriage one last try? At this point, you have nothing to lose.'
It made sense. The weekend turned out to be a life-changing experience. After our weekend we rearranged our priorities. Our marriage is now at the top of our priority list. Life is wonderful!"
Hope against all the odds
"I found out about Retrouvaille from the Internet. I called and had brochures sent to my home. At that time, my husband and I had been separated for more than three months
and he was actively involved with another person. I was ready for Retrouvaille, but he wasn't. I had to pray for God's perfect timing.
I asked God to give me a sign when the perfect timing would be to approach my husband about this program. More than two months passed and our divorce date was less than a week away.
I was about to give up hope, but God opened a window of opportunity. My husband probably didn't want to attend Retrouvaille, but he didn't want to lose me, so he went.
We have found that Retrouvaille is not just an experience, it is a journey."
Strategies to persuade a reluctant spouse
"I credit Retrouvaille with saving our marriage so what would I say to a reluctant husband? I'd ask questions like: 'What do you have to lose?'
'What's the worst thing that could happen?' The worst thing that could happen is that nothing happens and you're back where you started from, but maybe, just maybe, something positive will happen.
I'd also say that if both spouses come to Retrouvaille willing to work on their marriage there is a pretty good chance that things just might work out.
With a really reluctant husband I'd ask 'What will a divorce cost versus possibly staying happily married?' and then there is the Retrouvaille 90 Day Guarantee -
'If at the end of 90 days you are not happy, you can have your old marriage back!!!"
The best thing we ever did
"One of the main reasons I did not want to attend a weekend was I figured they would want me to change. I was not ready for a change.
To start with, it wasn't me that needed the changes, it was my wife. At that time I was looking for a million reasons not to go.
When I finally agreed to go, this was a weekend that helped me open my eyes and I did realise I needed to make some changes for the sake of my relationship.
It is three years since we made our weekend and it was the best thing we ever did for each other. Please believe me, you may not 'need' to go, but you and your Spouse 'deserve' to go."
Give it one last chance for the sake of the kids
"My husband was the unwilling spouse. He freely admits some 9 years after our weekend that he went ONLY to be able to tell our daughters, should they ever ask,
that he had indeed made an effort to save the marriage. He did not expect Retrouvaille to work; he went just to get it over with, since he did not want to go to counselling,
talk to our priest, or anything else. What do you have to lose to give it one last shot. Do it for your kids."
I knew change was needed but I didn't know how
"My wife was the one who suggested Retrouvaille. When we attended I was not optimistic that whatever we were to be presented with on the weekend would have a beneficial effect on me.
I had several times given up hope that our relationship could be repaired. I came to Retrouvaille for the same reason that I had not walked away and had gone to marriage counselling.
I knew that quitting would be a terrible thing to do. I think I knew that if our marriage relationship were to survive I had to make some changes in me. But I felt terribly discouraged.
I wasn't sure I had it in me to make whatever changes were required. But I had an idea that there was something I needed to address and I further thought that since I did not know what
to do myself nor how to find the motivation or strength to make those changes myself, I'd better find a source.
It had been a long time since I had sought God's help for anything but I figured the time was ripe.
I knew I needed some help of a different variety sort that the marriage counsellor variety. I suspected I might get something out of this Retrouvaille Program.
So, although on the one hand I felt a terrible sense of despair that all was lost - and I was almost resigned to that;
I still knew that there was hope and I was going to make every effort to at least go through the motions with this Retrouvaille thing and see what,
if any, good might come out of it. I sure did not want to be there in that Retrouvaille Programme. I was feeling ashamed and heartbroken that our marriage had broken down.
When I thought about how our relationship had deteriorated, I felt frustrated and helpless. I didn't know what to do to fix us and fix me.
I felt uncertain and anxious about what would happen during the weekend and whether the weekend would assist me in coming to grips with our difficulties,
but I also felt desperate, so I came... and stayed."
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