Planning Valentine's Day - 1/14/07

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at
Sun Jan 14 19:58:37 EST 2007

You've got one month from today.   As you gear up and decide what to put in
his/her Valentine Stocking:

- MARRIAGE WEEK Feb 7 - 14

- MARRIAGE WEEK Feb 7 - 14
Check to see if there are Marriage Week celebrations in your city. These
often include free or low-cost events, free child care, restaurant
discounts, etc.  



Take advantage of all that snow and have an "early" Valentine's Day escape:

> Love Your Relationship Couples Retreats: Howard Markman/Boulder, Colorado - CO
> A little PREP goes a long way!  Immerse yourselves in a weekend
> devoted to learning how to enhance and protect friendship, fun, love, passion
> as you enjoy the best of PREP combined with a luxurious, romantic getaway.
> **Schedule: 9am ­ 4:30pm
> Feb 3-4, Keystone Lodge, Colorado Rockies with skiing, hot tubs, the romantic
> works. 
> Toll-free: 866-601-5683
> Email: info at
> Web:

Or, escape the snow:

> PAIRS couples retreats and classes on Maui, Hawaii  - HI
> Passage to Intimacy Weekend Workshops
> Maui, Hawaii - HI:  Jan 28-29
> 808-874-6441
> Debra Greene
> Email: info at
> Web:

Or, plan for an escape later in the year and put a coupon in their
Valentine's Day card for a class you've booked on a cruise, Gabriola Island,
NYC, SF, Paris or one of the fun "marriage vacation" spots listed on the
Directory.  See:


> You've given your partner flowers every year.  You take them out to dinner.
> You choose the most fabulous card.  What can you do to make it more special?
> This year experience love, Imago style.  All around the world on or around
> Valentine's Day Imago events are being organized. Join us for a few fun-filled
> Imago relationship-building exercises, and stay for light hors d'oeurves and
> beverages.  Cost is Free to $25/couple depending on the location. Most will be
> early evening, so you'll still have time for that romantic dinner following
> the event, and you'll have much to talk about as you eat. For more information
> or to make reservations at an event near you,

Learning how to reconnect
January 12, 2007
Denise Sautters

³It was kind of like a shot in the arm for us,² said Pat Milam of North
Canton. ³We got a new appreciation for each other.²

Milam is talking about the Marriage Encounter weekend she and her husband,
Dave, attended in 2001. What they learned was how to examine their lives
together and share feelings openly and honestly.

The emphasis of the weekends is on communication between husbands and wives.

The couple get away from the distractions and tensions of everyday life,
enabling them to concentrate on each other.

During the weekend, presentations are given, then participating couples are
asked a question. They return to their rooms, where they address the issue
together, usually in a letter to each other.

Pat is quick to point out that Marriage Encounter is not for troubled
marriages. Instead, she said, it offers couples a way to enrich their lives

³Marriage encounters are intended for marriages that are good and solid. The
weekend just kind of rejuvenates you,² she said.

³It makes you feel alive again and helps you realize what a gift you have in
the gift of marriage and the gift you have in your spouse.²

Her husband said that, for him, the weekend taught him how to keep their
marriage fresh.

³What the weekend did for me is taught me techniques that would help us
regain that intimacy we had when we were first married,² he said. The two
have been married 27 years.


Tim and Donna Dannemiller of Jackson Township have gone to three Marriage
Encounter weekends.

³It taught us to communicate on a deeper level,² said Donna.

³There are a lot of things each person carries over as baggage into a
marriage. Each person carries a different life experience and expectation
into marriage.²

She told a story about an incident that happened early in the couple¹s

³When we were first married, I had come home from school (she was a
teacher), and he had run the sweeper. My father had never run the sweeper in
all the years we lived at home. I looked at what he had done and thought Œoh
gosh, he thinks I¹m a bad housekeeper.¹ ²

That wasn¹t it at all.

He thought he was doing something to make her feel good, he said.

³We had very different reactions to the same thing based on our
backgrounds,² she said. ³We interpret the behavior of our spouse by our own
background. Marriage encounter teaches you how to understand the motivation
behind what is going on.²

While she was very open to the first encounter weekend in 1976 she and Tim
went on, he was reluctant.

³From a man¹s viewpoint, understanding women is not the easiest thing for
most men. Men are so simple. There are only so many things men want to do,
but women have all these emotions involved in everything they do.

³We¹ve gone three times, and the third time I got more out of it than the
first two times,² said Tim. ³I think it (marriage encounter) gives men a
tool to understand women better. It is kind of like that movie, ŒWhat Women
Really Want,¹ only we do it by writing letters and explaining our feelings
about things. After learning the technique of dialoguing, you understand
what is going on in the other persons head. I look at it like a cheat sheet
for guys.²


Karen Lorenz of Jackson Township is concerned about the perception people
have of marriage in general.

³Marriage is so under attack in our country,² she said. She and her husband
Joe recently attended their first marriage encounter weekend. ³You hear
about all the negative things that affect marriages every day. This is
something positive.

³You learn to listen with an open heart. When you have disagreements, you
are always trying to persuade the other person to see it from your point of
view. Marriage encounter teaches you the listening skills you need. Rather
than listen while you are cooking or sweeping, it teaches you to truly sit
down and listen with an open heart to what the person is saying and not form
judgments or opinions.²

Married only two and a half years, Lorenz said both were set in their ways
when they got married. They went to the encounter weekend for their two-year

³One of the things with us, is we had two very mobile careers when we were
married,² said Joe. ³She traveled nationally with her job and I was here in
Canton in real estate. We learned a lot about each other, but I think we
learned more about each other in three days we were Œcooped up¹ together
than we did in the previous four years.²

Reach Repository writer Denise Sautters at (330) 580-8321 or e-mail
denise.sautters at

Marriage encounter started in 1952 by the Rev. Gabriel Calvo who began
developing a series of conferences for married couples. The focus was on the
development of an open and honest relationship within marriage and learning
to live out a Sacramental relationship. In 1962, Calvo presented the
conferences as a weekend retreat to 28 couples in his native Barcelona. The
idea spread and the Worldwide Marriage Encounter group was formed. By 1969,
Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends were being held in America.

The weekend is for married couples, not necessarily Catholic, who want to
enhance their marital relationship. It started off as a Catholic experience,
but it has grown into other religions, including Baptist, Lutheran,
Presbyterian, United Methodist, and United Church of Christ. Today, just
about every religion has a marriage encounter program.

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