Retrouvaille - 2/15/07

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Thu Feb 15 11:07:29 EST 2007


This week, many couples will be facing the post-Valentine's let down.

IF you do not have a Retrouvaille program in your community, please explore
creating one.  This is an invaluable program for couples on the brink, all
outta love and ready to throw in the towel. It's highly effective and
mentor-powered. Payment is by donation so it's a resource every community
needs. The grateful rich whose marriages are saved donate generously and
subsidize the poor.  If you are not familiar with Retrouvaille, don't know
about referring couples from your practice and your ministry, then resolve
NOW that you will attend their workshop at the Denver Smart Marriages
Conference AND visit their exhibit. If you can't make it, I strongly
encourage you to order the recording of their session below - download or on
CD. I've sent family members, friends and so many couples with glowing
reports and stories of success - and, yes, with what seemed like hopeless
cases. They can't fix every marriage, but, so far they've have an amazing
record with my referrals.  - diane

> 755-506 (order at 800-241-7785)
> Retrouvaille: No Such Thing as A Hopeless Case
> Jeff and Donna Heusler
> Restore even the most troubled marriages by creating and/or referring couples
> to a Retrouvaille program in your community in which those who have "been to
> the brink" teach others how to heal.


Hurting marriages look to Retrouvaille for help
By KAREN HERZOG
Bismarck Tribune
Feb 15, 2007 

> McDowall said that couples often come to Retrouvaille after one of the
> partners - usually the wife, she said - has told the other that they are on
> the verge of leaving the marriage. Some couples already may be separated.
> Divorced couples also attend, hoping to give their relationship one more
> chance, often for the sake of their children, she said.
> 
> From McDowall's experience in family ministry, much of the trouble can be
> traced to a breakdown in communication over many small things, she said.
> 
> "Many troubles can be traced to lack of active listening skills, and then
> (also) we bring our family of origin with us," McDowall said. "In heated
> arguments, we are thinking about (how) we want to respond. And no one likes to
> be criticized."
> 
> That's why communication techniques are shared as part of the experience.
> 
> Many of the calls she receives asking for help are from men, she said - they
> tell her that their wives have been asking them to seek couples' help for a
> long time, and the wife finally says she's leaving. . .

> Though the event opens and closes with liturgies, Retrouvaille is open to
> non-Catholics as well as Catholics, McDowall said.
> 
> Couples stay at the Retrouvaille site, which for confidentiality is not
> disclosed until a couple's registration is complete, she said. There is no
> group sharing and all individual exercises are done in private rooms, she
> said.
> 
> Aftercare sessions - Saturday mornings every other week for three months - are
> very important, she said.
> 
> "Some couples are flying high after the initial weekend," McDowall said,
> "because they believe everything is fixed. But then they return to their
> surroundings and realize they must re-address their issues."



The first thing to learn about "Retrouvaille" is how to say it:It is
pronounced "retro-vye," with the last syllable a long "i."

It means "rediscovery," and it's French because the Retrouvaille program
originated in Quebec in 1977.

In the 30 years since then, Retrouvaille has spread to many other countries,
as people in hurting marriages come to look for healing in their
relationships, said Joyce McDowall, director of the Office of Family
Ministry for the Bismarck Catholic Diocese.

People may confuse this program with marriage enrichment programs for
healthy marriages, McDowall said. The program is not a retreat; it is not
marriage counseling, marriage self-help or a sensitivity group.

Retrouvaille is an intensive healing program that includes an initial
weekend followed by a series of six to 12 weekend aftercare sessions over
three months.

Previously, the closest location Retrouvaille was offered was St. Cloud,
Minn., said diocesan Chancellor Joel Melarvie, but on March 23-25, the
diocese is bringing a Retrouvaille program to the Bismarck area.

Tremendous pressures are being brought on marriages today, Melarvie said:
People sometimes marry too soon and without awareness of the full
responsibility that goes with a relationship, he said. The surrounding
culture and the media offer unrealistic views of relationships as well, he
said.

"So much of the world (creates) the impression that (these) things are so
easily achieved," he said.

McDowall has worked in family ministry for the Bismarck Diocese since 2001,
but she and her husband have been involved in leading marriage programs
since 1976, she said.

Divorce statistics in America and in North Dakota are heading toward 50
percent of marriages, she said. Divorces now happen most often in the first
year and the third year of marriage, she said.

McDowall said that couples often come to Retrouvaille after one of the
partners - usually the wife, she said - has told the other that they are on
the verge of leaving the marriage. Some couples already may be separated.
Divorced couples also attend, hoping to give their relationship one more
chance, often for the sake of their children, she said.

>From McDowall's experience in family ministry, much of the trouble can be
traced to a breakdown in communication over many small things, she said.

"Many troubles can be traced to lack of active listening skills, and then
(also) we bring our family of origin with us," McDowall said. "In heated
arguments, we are thinking about (how) we want to respond. And no one likes
to be criticized."

That's why communication techniques are shared as part of the experience.

Many of the calls she receives asking for help are from men, she said - they
tell her that their wives have been asking them to seek couples' help for a
long time, and the wife finally says she's leaving.

Denial is a strong factor in their delay, she said - many men fear the
intimacy that comes from delving into problems; they don't want to rock the
boat, she said.

It took three years to bring the Retrouvaille program to Bismarck, she said.
The determination to bring the program here came from the needs seen by
McDowall and parish priests throughout the diocese, she said.

Pastors and deacons in the diocese's parishes see the struggles that couples
go through, Melarvie said.

Retrouvaille uses volunteer couples - "normally couples who have also
struggled," McDowall said - to lead the sessions and attend to the aftercare
sessions.

For this program, three volunteer couples from the Minot and Bismarck areas
have agreed to serve as aftercare couples, she said. Leading the weekend,
along with a priest, will be three couples from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Though the event opens and closes with liturgies, Retrouvaille is open to
non-Catholics as well as Catholics, McDowall said.

Couples stay at the Retrouvaille site, which for confidentiality is not
disclosed until a couple's registration is complete, she said. There is no
group sharing and all individual exercises are done in private rooms, she
said.

Aftercare sessions - Saturday mornings every other week for three months -
are very important, she said.

"Some couples are flying high after the initial weekend," McDowall said,
"because they believe everything is fixed. But then they return to their
surroundings and realize they must re-address their issues."

That's when the volunteer couples help them realize that all couples
struggle, she said.

Couples come out of the Retrouvaille experience feeling grateful, with good
tools to use and hope that they can fix their difficulties, McDowall said.

**************************
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