Marriage Tune Ups | Blogging on Marriage Ed | Holiday Letter | Retrouvaille - 12/8/07
smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Sat Dec 8 21:21:03 EST 2007
- MARRIAGE TUNE UPS
- BLOGGING ON 'HOW TO AVOID MARRYING A JERK'
- PEACE IN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
- GREAT INTRO ARTICLE ABOUT RETROUVAILLE
- MARRIAGE TUNE UPS
> Diane, Marriage Check-ups are what I call Marriage Tune-Ups. My book, The
> Great Marriage Tune-Up Book (Jossey Bass) is meant for exactly this purpose.
> Couples can do it at home without a therapist present. Also, the RELATionship
> Evaluation (RELATE) serves a similar purpose and is entirely on-line with
> self-interpretation guidelines included in an 11-page report. See
> http://www.relate-institute.org. - Dr. Jeffry Larson, The Great Marriage
> Tune-Up Book author, professor of MFT, BYU.
Order the book from the Smart Marriages book page:
Jeff Larson will present at Smart Marriages San Francisco - learn more about
his Relate-based Marriage Tune Up model at the Conference.
- BLOGGING ON 'HOW TO AVOID MARRYING A JERK'
I'm so impressed with some of the blogs. This one by an Army Chaplain
gives his first-person, first-impressions analysis about attending a "How to
Avoid Marrying a Jerk" training and should be very useful to those of you in
picking a program.
> In the Army, we say we fight as we train. Dr. Van Epp says that we marry as we
> date. The modern approach to dating, courtship and premarital relationships
> sets couples up for failure, he believes. These failures, in turn, have a
> devastating effect on society and the children of the next generation. The
> social cost of dysfunctional family relationships is all too obvious.
> Dr. Van Epp says that modern Western society practices dysfunctional mate
> selection processes, and he traces the dysfunction to several changes that
> have taken place over the last century and some that have taken place over
> the last few decades. Young people in western cultures select life partners
> today in a way unprecedented in human history. . . .
> In some ways, then, Dr. Van Epp attempts to describe the same phenomenon as
> Willard Harley¹s ³Love Bank² in His Needs, Her Needs, except that the R.A.M.
> is broader in scope than Harley¹s model. ³Need fulfillment² forms only one
> component of one of Van Epp¹s R.A.M. The R.A.M. looks at a relationship under
> these categories: know - trust - rely - commit - touch. Overall, I think the
> R.A.M. is a more holistic model of bonding and attachment. The R.A.M. looks at
> a relationship under these categories. . . .
For the full piece:
John Van Epp will present several times in San Francisco including a full
day training institute on his RAMS/Love Thinks model, Sunday July 6.
- PEACE IN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Here is Julie Baumgardner's Holiday letter. Sharing it to inspire writing
one of your own to your marriage education community builders. -d
> Dear Friend,
> Last night, as I was getting ready to go to sleep, I was thinking about how
> much I love that time of night. It is so peaceful.
> It made me think about the fact that there are many homes that aren't quiet or
> peaceful at night. Not because family members don't want peace, but because
> life is hitting them square in the face. Instead of attacking the problem,
> family members attack each other, the very people that matter the most, and
> perfectly good relationships often fall apart.
> Maybe you grew up in one of these homes, know a family that is struggling to
> make peace with each other or are striving to become a better spouse or
> First Things First works to help people learn the relationship skills that
> will build up marriages and families instead of tear them down. Through
> healthy dating skills classes, marriage enrichment, fathering classes and even
> classes for couples who are in distress, we meet people where they are and
> give them the tools they need to create a warm and loving home.
> The more healthy and peaceful homes we have in our community the better off we
> will all be.
> I am asking you to consider making a donation to First Things First. Your
> financial support will help us to provide you, your neighbors, your coworkers
> and your relatives resources and hope. Our wish is to help bring peace to
> thousands of households in 2008.
> May you find peace in your household this holiday season,
> Julie Baumgardner
> Executive Director
> P.S. Thank you for your gift to First Things First! I would love to invite you
> to participate in one of our classes or visit our resource center to see all
> of the wonderful things your donation can make happen in 2008.
> You can visit our website at http://www.firstthings.org.
- GREAT INTRO ARTICLE ABOUT RETROUVAILLE
This is a long one, but I'm sending the whole thing because it's so well
written and a wonderful primer for anyone who isn't familiar with one of THE
most important Marriage programs (recipient of the Smart Marriages Impact
Award) and a program that should be part of any community marriage
strengthening effort. Retrouvaille will present a workshop and will exhibit
at Smart Marriages. Check them out. - diane
> "The wonderment of Retrouvaille is that the ministry is looking for those who
> are hurting in marriage," Bishop Boland said. "This ministry is essentially
> one of healing, reestablishing trust and restoring joy."
Retrouvaille is lifeline¹ for hurting marriages
The Catholic Telegraph
December 7, 2007
By Suzanne Haugh
ATLANTA Calling Retrouvaille "a lifeline" for hurting marriages, Bishop J.
Kevin Boland of Savannah reminded married couples and priests at the
movement¹s 30th anniversary International Council Meeting, held recently in
Atlanta, that money cannot eliminate pain from life or marriage.
Attending the conference from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati were Dick and
Mary McConn, Ed and Diane Fisher, Kathy and Phil Beatty, Mary and Deacon Dan
Rader, and Father Ted Kosse, spiritual director for the Cincinnati
"Millions upon millions of dollars are spent to alleviate pain and to
accentuate physical beauty," said the bishop who attended Augusta¹s first
Retrouvaille weekend about 10 years ago. "On no shelf will one find
whether it be capsule, caplet or liquid gel an item to heal the broken
heart, to heal the pain of disillusionment, to restore a sense of inner joy,
to remove the sense of despair that frequently accompanies a failed
In his keynote address, the bishop spoke frankly and affectionately to close
to 250 couples and more than 30 priests who traveled from as far as Italy
and South Africa for the late fall gathering.
"The wonderment of Retrouvaille is that the ministry is looking for those
who are hurting in marriage," Bishop Boland said. "This ministry is
essentially one of healing, reestablishing trust and restoring joy."
Those attending the event, themed "Marriage on My Mind in Georgia,"
addressed policy issues confronting the 30-year-old Retrouvaille program,
attended workshops to enrich their marriages or ordained ministry, enjoyed
reunions with past acquaintances, and heard words of encouragement from
prelates like Bishop Boland.
Retrouvaille, a French word meaning "a second look" and pronounced
"Re-trow-vi," is a program for married or divorced couples wishing to work
through the pain in their marriage or to take another look at their previous
marriage. It involves a weekend of presentations with follow-up sessions to
support healing and communication in the marriage. While it is a ministry
that embraces the church¹s teachings on marriage and is led by Catholics,
Retrouvaille is open to couples of different denominations.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory served as the main celebrant at the opening
Mass. In his homily, Archbishop Gregory acknowledged that it is part of
being human to look for easy or less painful ways to do things. Even Jesus,
on the night before His death, revealed His likeness to mankind as He asked
God, if possible, "to let this cup pass from me" but quickly added, "yet,
not as I will, but as you will."
The archbishop affirmed that there are no easy ways to do "the important
things, things that matter, things that last."
"In a very real sense, it is in pursuit of this truth that Retrouvaille was
founded," he said, adding, "there are no easy ways" to achieve, preserve and
strengthen the gift of Christian marriage, "but there are some sure ways of
doing this important, life-giving activity."
He further touched on the challenges posed by society to detract from or
change marriage such as "the effortless accessibility of divorce," the
option and acceptance by society of cohabitation, and the attempts to
redefine marriage to include same-gender unions.
Retrouvaille, he said, is one of similar programs and movements that "are so
important and obviously needed at this moment in human history."
He continued, "You encourage the church to renew our belief that faithful,
loving, and joyful marriages are indeed possible. It¹s just that there are
no easy ways to achieve them!"
Following the Mass, Bishop Boland spoke of God¹s unfolding plan for creation
and Adam¹s "loneliness," which God addresses through Eve.
"Every couple that comes to a Retrouvaille weekend is part and parcel of the
journey from original solitude to original unity. We make this journey in
partnership with God," Bishop Boland said.
He challenged couples and priests when "behold(ing) the troubled eyes of
each couple" as they present Retrouvaille weekends and follow-up sessions.
" (to) be mindful that they represent original solitude¹ and they are
seeking a new awareness of original unity¹ a unity that they are God¹s
self-giving gift to each other. They long to be healed."
He continued, "There is nothing shameful in pain, disillusionment and the
fear of failure when we realize that building relationships, whether in
marriage or with other friends, is a difficult undertaking. There is a
miniature Calvary in all of our lives. Retrouvaille helps couples to
discover the richness of suffering. It results in a discovery of a new way
Through Retrouvaille, couples learn to listen to each other¹s feelings with
understanding and acceptance and to dialogue about topics that were "once
off limits," he said.
"To those in the Retrouvaille movement, your special calling is the call of
St. Paul. It is the process of making up for what is wanting in the
sufferings of Christ. When you gather as a team with the Friday night
couples¹ and experience the pain and hurt in their eyes, you are, in fact,
embracing the Christ of the cross. In bringing your solace and care to their
spiritual needs, you are indeed being Christ to one another."
For Maria Powell of Atlanta, the opening events were "the most awesome way"
to begin the meeting. "Archbishop Gregory¹s homily was profound, and we had
the choir from St. Anthony¹s, which is the South¹s finest and best."
Her husband, Russ, agreed. "It was very Spirit-filled."
The Powells have been active in some form of marriage ministry since 1976
when they first attended a Marriage Encounter weekend. They have played a
pivotal role in bringing Retrouvaille to parts of Georgia, along with two
priests who also attended the council meeting: Glenmary Father Bob Poandl,
who currently resides at the community¹s headquarters in Fairfield, Ohio,
and Father Jim Costigan, pastor of St. Michael Church on Tybee Island.
As Father Poandl looked out across the crowd of couples and priests during
the opening of the council meeting, he could not help but recall the last
time the event was held in Atlanta in 1988. There were not even 90
participants in all.
"There is a vast difference in the growth and depth (of the ministry) since
then, especially since the first weekend (held in Atlanta)," said the
priest, who presents both Retrouvaille and Marriage Encounter weekends. "Now
how many thousands of couples have been touched (by Retrouvaille)?"
He remembered, too, the call from a Los Angeles priest that spurred him on
to recruit three married couples, including the Powells, to begin the
Retrouvaille ministry in Atlanta. His priest friend had recently officiated
at the remarriages of 16 couples who had participated in the Retrouvaille
"I knew I had to look into that," recalled the priest, who was then serving
as a pastor in Georgia and who will return in December to minister in
He described the uncertainty surrounding the Southeast¹s first Retrouvaille
weekend held in 1985 the newly trained yet inexperienced presenting team
sitting before 17 troubled, angry-looking couples.
"I couldn¹t imagine how to help these people," he mused now. Included on
this weekend was a couple he personally knew and had invited parents of
four children planning to divorce. He had called them to "cash in all his
chips" that they would agree to go on the Retrouvaille weekend. "I had no
idea if it would work."
With God¹s grace guiding them, the couples made breakthroughs, and years
later Father Poandl had the opportunity to celebrate his friends¹ wedding
"I think the most common denominator is despair," he said of those in
hurting marriages, and noted the importance of couples that have gone
through the Retrouvaille program and then are trained to take calls from
those inquiring about Retrouvaille. "They offer hope by listening to each
situation often in tears of desperation."
One of Father Poandl¹s highlights from the recent meeting was at the dance
"It was very touching," he said. "I was sitting there with 400 people in
front of me, thinking that they wouldn¹t be here if it weren¹t for
Retrouvaille. They would most likely be divorced."
And subsequently, Father Poandl added, children and extended families would
suffer. "It¹s a wonderful ministry for hurting couples."
About 10 years ago, the Retrouvaille program came to the Diocese of Savannah
through Father Costigan, who introduced Bishop Boland at the meeting and who
shared on the impact Retrouvaille has had on his priesthood.
"Actually writing the talks for Retrouvaille, as I shared on the first
conference night, has been the best thing I¹ve done as a priest the
reflection and all that¹s involved in the process," Father Costigan said.
He enjoyed the meeting, saying, "There¹s a great spirit to it. From a
priest¹s point of view, one of the things and this is only my third
meeting is the great support the couples have and the admiration that the
people had for the priests. Priests talk of the church being their bride,
and we share sometimes in dialogue the experiences of that, the difficulties
Father Costigan joked that even priests, like good spouses, may at times
entertain thoughts of "packing their bags" when the going gets tough. But
being in community brings one back.
"It¹s powerful, the great support that I felt with the applause for the
bishops and priests. It was unbelievable and a tremendous feeling of support
all through the weekend, when going to the workshops and gathering for the
set in archdiocese
The next scheduled Retrouvaille weekends in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
will be Jan. 11-13, 2008 and April 11-13, 2008. To obtain more information
call or write: RETROUVAILLE, 4166 Lakeknoll, Mason, Oh. 45040, or call
800-470-2230 or the web www.retrouvaille.org.
The Powells also have come a long way on their journey with Retrouvaille,
from living through the scariest moments of presenting the first
Retrouvaille weekend in the South to having the responsibility of organizing
the recent meeting¹s 25 workshops and ensuring that all had "meat on (their)
"We know there are things out there, issues out there, that we need to
address," Maria Powell said. "Then we needed to find couples open enough to
share on things."
They realized the need to appeal to those attending on various levels.
Workshops ranged from a very popular presentation on the theology of the
body to others that were "non-threatening," such as understanding the
importance of fun in a marriage. A few were offered in Spanish and dealt
with how couples can pass on the Catholic faith to their children and also
how to help children choose good spouses.
Others were important, but attracted only a few couples, such as a session
on Natural Family Planning, the effects on a couple of having a person with
a disability in the family, as well as another on the effects of sexual
abuse on a marriage, which sparked poignant stories and fostered forgiveness
and hope for participants.
During one segment of the meeting, couples in leadership positions
participated in the business/policy side of Retrouvaille while others
attended the various workshops. A banquet took place in the evening followed
by entertainment provided by a married couple called "Acts of Renewal" and
then dancing. The event culminated in the closing Mass on Sunday with
Benedictine Father Julian Gnall, Retrouvaille¹s international coordinating
priest, as the main celebrant and homilist.
"We worked so very, very hard, and the good Lord brought it all together,"
said Maria Powell.
"Maria and I weren¹t too sure what we were getting into," said Russ Powell
about being asked to present a Retrouvaille weekend. "I think we became a
real couple when we got involved. I became aware of how I hurt Maria, how we
hurt each other. We learned about a lifestyle of healing and forgiveness,
and we try to live that every single day."
More information about the SmartMarriages