To our Friends in Retrouvaille, January 9, 2021
Because of our participation in a Retrouvaille weekend one year ago today, this past year was nothing short of miraculous for us as a couple, and consequently for our family and preschool aged daughter. Before attending our Retrouvaille weekend, both my wife and I had resigned ourselves to the reality that we were likely going to separate and perhaps even divorce. As Mark describes it, we were in a 4th and long situation, down 6 points, and running out of time, so we knew our last play was going to be a long shot, a true “Hail Mary” pass. (If we don’t understand this reference, go on YouTube and type in Doug Flutie from Boston College defeats Miami.)
Truth be told, we both thought we were checking the last box so we could tell our families: “See. We did everything we could but the marriage just could not overcome the challenges it faced.” We even got to the point where we wondered what we should do about our situation, if not for our own well being, then for the good of our daughter. So, in one last act of faith and hope, we registered for our Retrouvaille weekend.
To our amazement, we still had some affection left for one another and harbored a little hope, perhaps hidden deep in our hearts, that God could do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Perhaps the most important thing that we did to cooperate with God and the Retrouvaille process was to enter the weekend with an open mind and open heart. That small gesture provided just the opening for God’s help to rehabilitate our marriage.
As the Retrouvaille logo suggests, the Retrouvaille weekend throws a lifesaver to the couple, but it is the follow up work with the program that brings the couple back to shore safely. The weekend actually provided a life raft for us with oars, water, and even some energy bars. (Don’t worry, this is just a metaphor. They feed you much better over the weekend!) And, the follow up program, which boasts a 90% plus success rate for couples who continue to work the program in good faith, gave us the tools we need to navigate the rough waters safely. In fact, we have grown so much as a couple in this past year, committing to apply what we learned on a weekly, if not daily basis, that it is hard for us to recognize our “former” marriage.
In short, Retrouvaille helped us to let God back into the center of our marriage and our family life, and that changed everything. Of course, our growth and progress can feel like two steps forward and a step back, but persevering with process, cooperating with the special graces bestowed by the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, transformed our life together and makes each day a joy, in the midst of, and not in spite of, the challenges we still face.
With the deepest gratitude,
Danielle and Mark