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Retrouvaille Helping Couple Renew and Heal their Marriages - An Update
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London and area Retrouvaille Program Coordinators, Greg & Anita Turner celebrate the successes, one marriage at a time….

Here is the story offered by a couple that recently attended a London Retrouvaille weekend.

This summer my wife and I had our 24th wedding anniversary, but what should have been a joyful celebration of a blessed and happy union was overwhelmed with feelings of disillusionment, entitlement and bitterness. Unbeknownst to my wife I had been questioning the marriage as our children were now entering adulthood and I no longer had a clear understanding of my purpose as a husband or father in this changing environment. We had put the children first in our marriage for so long that I was feeling detached and uncertain about a future together.

Our marriage was routine and passionless and I felt certain that there was no way to ever re-spark the intimacy and genuine love that had existed earlier on. When I became reacquainted with a past girlfriend through the Internet, I really believed God was sending me an invitation to a new and better future. What followed was four months excruciating - endless internal and outward battles as I attempted to escape my marriage and reclaim my passion for life.

When I first explained my desire to leave, my wife and children were understandably devastated. My wife and I had always resolved difficulties amicably and I don't think there was a single night before that time that we ever went to bed angry. Early on, we both met with our parish priest. He informed us of Retrouvaille but only knew of it through a fax he had received. My wife grew very upset when our priest assured me that I did have obligations to the family, but also had obligations to my personal happiness and myself. Despite this green light to proceed as I saw fit, I struggled terribly with guilt and depression.

In the end, I left and returned to my wife seven times before our Retrouvaille Weekend. Each time I grew more and more determined to rise above the guilt, but there was an emotional wall blocking any success in escaping what I then believed to be a lost marriage. We had terribly difficult discussions and arguments throughout the four months. Even after I agreed to attend Retrouvaille, I struggled daily with conflicting thoughts and emotions. In fact, we cancelled and recommitted to the Retrouvaille Weekend three times before finally attending.

It was the darkest and saddest four months of my life. I believed there was something better waiting for me outside of the marriage, but I felt incredible guilt for putting my wife through all of this turmoil and hardship when I still believed she was a great person and I knew her to be a dedicated spouse. On the eve of our Retrouvaille Weekend, I tried to sabotage the marriage once again and my wife and I had the worst argument in the history of the relationship. We exposed sides of our personality we didn’t know existed and went to sleep that night feeling frightened, hopeless and battle-weary.

Deeply shaken by the fight, we both awoke the next morning and apologized for what had transpired the night before. I was convinced there was no way I could ever attain peace in my life again. Staying with my wife promised eternal bitterness and resentment, as I would sacrifice my happiness for my wife and family; leaving to be with someone else would mean a lifetime of guilt and the loss of genuine warmth and intimacy with my children.

True to their motto, Retrouvaille provided a lifeline to our marriage. We arrived broken and dispirited, but as the couples shared their most intimate transgressions and hurts, we found strength to confront our own failings. As couples revealed their struggles in deciding to love and forgive one another despite their brokenness, we found a willingness to also recommit to one another and push forward despite the sadness and pain. By Sunday afternoon, we felt reinvigorated and were willing to trust that with further help from Retrouvaille, we too might recover and rebuild our marriage and learn to love again.

My wife and I not only attend the Retrouvaille Weekend but all of the post sessions. The post sessions provided us with tools and knowledge to move forward in rebuilding our marriage. They also provided us an opportunity to establish relationships with other couples who are committed to rebuilding their own relationships. Retrouvaille has helped us to understand that living a married single life was robbing us of the wonderful intimacy we once shared. It provided us with wonderful tools we use to re-establish desire and intimacy in our relationship and which have given us new hope and excitement for the future.

We take time daily to dialogue and spend quality and quantity time together. We are becoming less concerned about what will happen as our children grow up and leave our home because for the first time in years we are genuinely excited to have time alone and to explore new interested on one another’s company.

My wife and I look forward to our future together and to continuing our journey with the greater Retrouvaille community. We intend to attend the C.O.R.E. meetings and to explore ways of giving back to this group which has given us a new lease on life.

For more on Retrouvaille please visit www.retrouvaille.org . Questions or comments?

Email retrouvaillelondonstthomas@gmail.com or contact the London and Area Community Coordinators: Greg & Anita Turner (519) 842-7370