“I could barely look him in the eye and say I love you.” Julie explained the pain she had once felt in her marriage. “We were one day away from divorce. Counseling was not enough. It helped us through the trauma, but we were just existing.” Many married couples experience different stages of marriage: Romance, Disillusionment, Misery, Awakening. Couples are often unprepared for the different stages and feel hurt and discouraged. Couples who find themselves in the misery stage feel the deep pain of brokenness.“Retrouvaille was an incredible gift.” Julie realized, “I’m not the only one experiencing this.”
Retrouvaille (pronounced “re -tro – vi” the last syllable rhymes with “eye”) can be translated as reawakening or rediscovery. Started in 1977, the program’s goal is to help hurting couples move from brokenness to reawakening and “begin again” recapturing the gift of their marriage, reestablishing trust and recovering intimacy. Couples seeking marriage help with disillusionment or considering separation or those already separated or divorced can attend. It is not marriage counseling and couples don’t air their “dirty laundry” in public. It begins with a weekend program that gives couples a chance to focus on their marriage away from their normal setting. Couples attend a set of marriage presentations which offer a set of skills, attitudes and tools that can be used to communicate with each other on a deep level. Teams of couples who have experienced all four stages of marriage give the presentations and are hopeful witnesses to what is possible. The tools presented provide a secure and safe way to understand each other’s emotions. Couples attending the program work with the “toolkit” and share their reflections privately.
“By Saturday night Julie could say I love you with tears in her eyes,” her husband John recalls. “It was like coming home.” The couple later became presenters for their local Retrouvaille program. “On the weekend, I brought God back into my heart. I questioned God for a long time,” Julie shared. “He wants my marriage to work.”
A series of 6 to 12 post-weekend sessions over 3 months provide continued help and hope for the couples.
“It’s amazing to watch hearts soften,” says another program presenter. “Couples realize – wow, we can do this – They not only survive, they thrive.”
Go to helpourmarriage.com or call 800-470-2230 for information about Retrouvaille in Raleigh.