Jottings from Fr. J.J.

MARRIAGE HELP – Two weeks ago we celebrated World Marriage Day. I spoke with a couple who had experienced trouble in their union and had come back from the brink by participating in a Catholic program called Retrouvaille. I asked them to share their story since it may help others who are experiencing a challenge in their marriage. This is what they wrote: “Retrouvaille – loosely translated means “rediscovery”.  I’d like to tell you that this is exactly what we got from our experience with this peer ministry. Like many other married couples, we were busy “living life” and going from one thing to the next as fast as we could manage. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we lost track of the fact that marriage is something that two people do together. We were busy living a married “singles” lifestyle with our own time demanding activities. Sure, we’d pass each other at the end of each day’s activities but, we weren’t really living our sacrament together like we had promised. We thought our marriage was good and that we loved each other. But we each had other priorities that somehow found their way to the front of the line and ate away at our relationship over the years. 

After a serious “wake up call” that has ruined many a marriage, we came face to face with the fact that we weren’t living a true married lifestyle. Instead, we seemed to be sharing a house and time with the kids we had raised to young adults. We were literally at a fork in the road. One direction meant certain divorce. The other direction would lead to trying to figure out how to get our lives in order and save our marriage. While trying to figure out how to proceed, we enlisted the advice of our local priest. Thank God, he recommended Retrouvaille. 

When we contacted Retrouvaille, we were hoping to acquire the tools that would help us learn how to put things back together. Before we attended “our weekend”, we knew nothing of what to expect. It was scary going into our weekend not knowing how things would go, what we would have to share, or how things would work out. If we thought about much before we went, we may have backed out. But, our marriage was important enough to us that we were willing to do whatever it took. 

During the weekend, it was explained to us that taking the information from the presenters is a little like “getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant”. It was very intense, but most importantly, it forced us to really stop and look at ourselves. There was nobody to blame for our problems except ourselves. Our busy lifestyles got in the way of living our lives together. Over our weekend, when we had to stop and share our thoughts and feelings with each other, we discovered how selfish each of us was in the way we spent our time pursuing our own interests. When we heard the stories of the presenters, we knew that if they had worked their way through their issues, we could find our way through ours. We knew we loved each other.  We had just forgotten how to live a loving lifestyle. 

Today we are much happier. We go out of our way to make time for each other every day. We make a point of appreciating the little things that each of us does for the other. We treat each other with love and respect and the     understanding that always, you will be my highest priority.

Without a doubt, Retrouvaille has saved our marriage. If your marriage needs help, please ask your priest about this program and how it may help you.”

If you believe that this program could help you, or you know of a couple who is struggling, please go to the website at www.Retrouvaille.org or contact Larry and Beth Bauer at 248-931-9405.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.