Someone once said, "marriages may be made in heaven, but they sure take a lot of work on earth." In our society, with the pressures of conflicting demands and too little time, personal relationships are often taken for granted. With all the distractions we easily forget that strong caring loving relationships take work.
Without attention and care, marriages wither. Couples slowly and quietly drift apart or are being torn apart by terrible words and actions. Many are married in name only, or just stay together "for the sake of the kids." For many it has been ages since they knew the joy of a loving relationship. When infidelity, alcohol abuse or drug dependency is involved, the situation may seem even more hopeless. Retrouvaille (a French word that means rediscovery) is a program that is helping couples put the pieces back together and rebuild loving relationships.
Retrouvaille begins with a weekend experience in which husbands and wives are helped to re-establish communication and to gain new insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. This part of the program is presented by three married couples and a priest. The team couples, who have experienced disillusionment, pain, anger and conflict, offer hope as they share their personal stories of struggle, reconciliation and healing. You will find courage and strength in the realization that you are not alone in your struggle. The weekend is not a spiritual retreat, not a sensitivity group, not a seminar, nor is it counseling. You will not be asked to share your problems with anyone else. However, you will be encouraged to put the past behind you, to look beyond the hurt and pain in order to rediscover each other in a new and positive way.
Joe Ralabate, community coordinator, participated in Retrouvaille. "My attendance in the program helped me to realize all the good in my life I was missing. The tools and support gave me the strength and the will to fight for our marriage," he said. "Hearing the presenting couples stories of despair to renewal gave us hope for a better future. Using the Retrouvaille program as the catalyst our marriage turned the corner. Six years later our marriage is stronger than ever. We know how to navigate through the tough spots and celebrate the little things that we once took for granted.
The spiritual aspect of the program helped me to realize that I need God in my life. With God, all things seemed to fall into place. It was not easy by any means, but the rewards have far outweighed the efforts. I now have God as the centerpiece of my life. I have my wife, my family, my home and more importantly the peace and joy that all these blessings bring. Our continued involvement with the Retrouvaille ministry keeps us closer as a couple. Helping other couples find the hope for their marriage is rewarding. All the people we meet and the friends we made help fill our lives with joy and purpose."
For more information call Community Coordinators Karen and Joe Ralabate 716-474-9371 or visit www.HelpOurMarriage.com. The next weekend is May 4-6. All calls are confidential and pre-registration is required.