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What does "marriage" mean to Retrouvaille?

Retrouvaille is faithful to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching that marriage is a covenant that exists between one man and one woman.  Any reference to marriage or couple made by Retrouvaille is in this context. 

Whom is the program for?

It is for couples with marriages that are struggling, not communicating well, and those who are considering marriage separation or divorce.  It is also for those who are already separated or divorced and want marriage help.  Some couples come to Retrouvaille during the initial signs of a marriage problem.  Other couples are in a state of despair and hopelessness when they attend the program.  Some couples have been married for many years, while others have been married only a short time and encountered trouble.

What happens at a Retrouvaille program?

The Retrouvaille program is a three-phase program. 

The first phase is an Intensive Weekend Program held in a retreat center or hotel where presenting couples share the breakdown of their marriages and the tools they have learned to improve communication and restore intimacy. 

The second phase consists of a series of 2-hour post-session presentations spread out over 6 meetings. These post-sessions are critical in assisting struggling couples in healing and rebuilding a new foundation based on love, respect, and communication.

The third phase consists of ongoing monthly small group support meetings, called CORE (Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience), to keep your marriage on track. 

How much does the program cost?

Retrouvaille is a non-profit ministry with no paid positions to organize the program. The costs involved in offering the program include retreat center or hotel rooms, meals, workbooks and materials, rental fees for meeting space, insurance, advertising, telephone expenses, and the typical administrative costs any ministry would incur. There is no pre-set fee, as costs are site-specific and determined by the number of couples attending each program.

To help cover these costs, each community asks for a non-refundable registration fee upfront to reserve your couple's spot and a voluntary donation on the weekend.  The San Diego community tends to charge $400 for the non-refundable registration fee and approximately $800 donation at the end of the weekend.  The final donation request can vary depending number of couples that attend a weekend. 

During the weekend, couples are apprised of the full cost of the weekend and asked to make a voluntary donation that covers the cost of their portion of weekend accommodations, meals, and materials for the weekend and post-sessions. The community’s registration team can provide an estimate of this cost. A receipt is provided, as a portion of the donation may be tax deductible, under the extent of the law.

Will I be required to share my personal marriage details in front of others?

No, personal sharing is not required. The program is not a retreat or counseling environment. There are no group dynamics or group discussions on the weekend. The entire experience is between you and your spouse. The focus is not on the details of your marriage, but rather on getting you and your spouse communicating again in a meaningful way to help you heal and rediscover the love you once shared in a way that can be sustained. 

What if my spouse says, "I don't love you any more"?

Most people who divorce their spouse would say “I just don’t love him or her anymore.” They think this means that love has ended. What it really means is that the romantic version of love that attracted the two of you to each other in the beginning has ended.

The romance stage of almost every marriage relationship will end at some point as the relationship grows and transitions. If they are being honest, people in wonderful marriages will admit that they just don’t live in romantic bliss forever, but rather go through hot and cold periods during the course of the relationship.

In strong marriages, the romance stage of the marriage transitions to a more mature, deeper type of love. Some couples can do this naturally, but most struggle with disillusionment and misery for far too long before seeking help.

Couples come to the Retrouvaille program specifically because they have been unable to transition to this mature, deeper type of love. A very specific form of communication is taught in the program that will help you make that transition, even if things seem desperate.

I am no longer in love with my spouse.  How can that be overcome?

It is extremely common for one spouse to be more disillusioned with the marriage than the other.  You may be confident that the issue will be thoroughly addressed during the intensive weekend.

I want to attend the Retrouvaille Weekend, but my spouse doesn't.  What should I do?

Please do your best to convince your spouse to understand the value of attending. You have already invested a great deal of time and energy in your marriage, so giving a weekend of your time is a small investment. Try to assure them that there is nothing to lose by attending, only positive results for your marriage. If possible, print out some information from this website, or get them to read it online. You may also want to contact the local registration couple for your community nearby for ideas. The program is designed for both husband and wife to attend.  More info on 'discussing with your spouse' can be found by clicking here.

How do you know Retrouvaille will save my marriage?

Only the two of you can save your marriage. Retrouvaille will teach you a set of skills that, if used properly, will help you get on the right track. We ask that you show up with the mindset that you want to work on your relationship. You will need to put forth the effort, and leave the past in the past as you focus on the future.

What we do know is that attending the Retrouvaille is very effective for improving marriages. More than three out of four couples attending the program are still married at the five-year mark and are enjoying a more fulfilling and loving relationship. This includes couples that were divorced, separated, and had extremely challenging circumstances.

Will marriage counselors be available at any of the Retrouvaille events?

No.  We do not provide professional counselors in the Retrouvaille Program.  If you believe you need to consult a professional for your issues, most communities have a referral list of local counselors.  Many marriage counselors suggest Retrouvaille as part of the counseling process. 

If Retrouvaille is so great, why have I never heard of it before?

 It is saddening to know that many couples don't know about Retrouvaille. We often say it is the best-kept secret for marriage and there may be several reasons for it.


  • Retrouvaille is a grass-roots, non-profit program. As a non-profit organization, we simply do not have large advertising budgets the way for-profit companies do. Most people who attend Retrouvaille have heard about it from a referral or online search.

  • Many people do not seek out Retrouvaille until their marriage is in serious trouble. So when they initially have problems, many seek out traditional marriage counselors, or they try to work out their problems before they seek out the Retrouvaille Program.

  • People tend to talk about their successes, not their failures. Most of us do not like to discuss marital problems. Some people perceive marriage-help programs as a sign of failure. Therefore, no matter what program they participate in, it’s not something they want to talk about. It is very common that couples that attend Retrouvaille end up learning of other friends and family that have done the same, but never said anything.

My spouse and I have agreed to attend an upcoming Retrouvaille Weekend.  What do we do next? How do we get started?

First, you will need to Register for a weekend program of your choice, ideally, it's near your hometown, but you can choose any community. Once you complete the registration process, you will be contacted by the Registration Couple from the community where you will be attending the weekend. They will give you a short briefing about the expectations, and answer any questions you may have about the program.   

Click for: Retrouvaille-San Diego community Registration Link

Will there be religious services during the Retrouvaille weekend?  Are we invited to attend them if we are not Catholic?

There is a Mass or devotional service offered on Saturday morning and a closing Mass or devotional service on Sunday afternoon. All Couples attending the weekend are invited to participate in these religious services, though attendance is optional.

As Retrouvaille is Catholic in origin, in most communities, the clergy member is a priest and Mass is offered.

Whatever your faith, you are welcomed and embraced and attendance is voluntary, of course.  It is very common for some couples not to attend the services.  Some couples do find they are open to the spiritual dimension of the program once they arrive, and others do not. The program's focus is on helping your marriage, regardless of faith.

One of us just cannot forgive the other for what has happened.  It was just too much.  How can we ever be the same?

You will discover during the weekend that there is nothing you cannot come back from, as long as both husband and wife are willing to put in the effort. You may hear stories from presenting couples that are far worse than your own, and yet they reconciled. These couples will help you understand that, in fact, it will never be the same. In fact, it can be better than it ever has been! There are Four Stages of Marriage: Romance, Disillusionment, Misery and Awakening. Many couples that have attended the Retrouvaille program actually grow into a new, far better place.  To learn about the four stages of marriage, click here.

What if it doesn't work for us?

The Retrouvaille program can work for you if both of you give it your all and truly take what you learn to heart. However, the reality is that this is not always the case. Sometimes one spouse simply cannot get past their own pain for a myriad of reasons. Even in those cases where it does not work out, often both spouses come out of the program better people with new tools and understanding to carry forward into the rest of their lives, especially the level of communication required if children are involved. The Retrouvaille Program is a program of self-discovery and the tools learned on the weekend can apply to many areas of your life. 

We did a Marriage Encounter Weekend, and that didn't help.  How is this different?

This is a very common question. Marriage Encounter is a wonderful program, but it is designed to make good marriages better. If you did a Marriage Encounter weekend, you will find some similarities in Retrouvaille. Retrouvaille was founded by Marriage Encounter couples who saw that something more was needed for hurting couples. Retrouvaille takes some of the Marriage Encounter concepts and builds on them extensively with a special focus on moving a marriage from misery to rediscovering the love you have for each other. Furthermore, Marriage Encounter ends at the weekend, while Retrouvaille offers all of the post-sessions that focus heavily on managing conflict, building trust, achieving forgiveness, and so much more. 

Why should we choose the Retrouvaille program?

Because you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. A happy and strong marriage builds vibrant and successful families. It is also much more affordable than court costs, divorce attorneys, alimony, child support, and broken lives. 

The Retrouvaille program empowers you and your spouse to regain the love in your marriage.  The value of the program is huge, from a cost point, it costs roughly 25% of other intensive weekends and yet offers so much more with the ongoing training in the 6 post sessions over 12 weeks and then the CORE (Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience) offering which is available ongoing after that.  

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