Mike and I did our Retrouvaille weekend in February 2014. At the time, we were both 32 years old.

We were high school sweethearts who married at the ages of 20 and 21. We started our family young, having our first daughter when we were both 21.

Mike worked many days over the road for a construction company, while I worked many odds-and-ends jobs and took classes. We expanded our family; by the age of 26, we had three daughters.

The pressures of life, unmet expectations, unexpected circumstances: Mike and I found ourselves in the middle of storm we felt we could not get out.

Mike had his story, and I had mine. Our relationship deteriorated. Many years of guilt, shame, sadness, and hurt weighed on me. Mike was filled with frustration and confusion.

We were broken; we sought some marriage counseling, but we ended up deciding a divorce must be the answer. Papers were drawn up.

My aunt and uncle then told Mike and me they were doing a marriage weekend called Retrouvaille. Mike and I had never heard of it.

We thought we would give the weekend a try. At least we could say we’d given our marriage one last try before signing the papers.

Walking into our Retrouvaille weekend on Friday night, we were nervous, apprehensive, scared and timid. We were full of pain, and tired of our hurts. Being a young couple, we were put at some ease to see a variety of couples of varying ages.

This weekend was a miracle to our marriage. There is power in hearing others share their struggles and difficulties in their marriages. There was a sense of “We aren’t the only ones.” Mike and I learned a new way to communicate with each other that was non-defensive and helped us take down walls that had been built up between us over the years.

We walked away from that weekend with a feeling of hope for our marriage. Retrouvaille saved our marriage, and gave us a sense that we can manage our lives.

Retrouvaille is such a blessing. We can’t thank this experience enough, and we are forever grateful for the tools we walked away with from that weekend.

Three years after our weekend, we are happy to say we will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary in October. The Retrouvaille journey is worth it.

For more information

St. Anthony Retreat Center, Marathon, hosts Retrouvaille retreats twice each year. The next weekend retreat is in February 2018. For more information on the center or the retreats, visit sarcenter.com,
call 715-443-2236 or email .