Frequently Asked Questions
Retrouvaille is faithful to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that marriage is a covenant that exists between one man and one woman. Any reference to marriage or couple made by Retrouvaille is in this context.
It is for couples in troubled marriages including separated or divorced couples who want their marriages to work. Many couples have experienced challenging issues such as infidelity, addiction recovery, long-term illness, blended family/parenting challenges, long distance relationships, in-law/family issues, financial hardship, or may have grown apart from each other. Many couples are facing the challenges of being newly married, while others may have been married for many years. A willingness to work on your marriage is the primary requirement. Both husband and wife are required to attend the program.
The Retrouvaille program is a three-phase program.
The first phase is a Weekend Program held in a retreat center or hotel where presenting couples share the breakdown of their own marriages and the tools they have learned to improve communication and restore intimacy.
The second phase consists of a series of 2-hour post-session presentations spread out over 6 to 12 meetings, depending on the community. These post-sessions are critical in assisting struggling couples in healing and rebuilding a new foundation based on love, respect and communication.
The third phase consists of on-going monthly small group support meetings, called CORE (Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience), to keep your marriage on track.
Retrouvaille is a non-profit ministry and there are no paid positions to organize the program. The costs involved to put on the program include: the rental of a retreat center or hotel rooms, meals, workbooks and materials, rental fees for meeting space, insurance, advertising, telephone expense and the typical administrative costs any ministry would incur. There is no pre-set fee, as costs are site specific and determined by the number of couples attending each program.
To help cover these costs, each community asks for a small non-refundable registration fee up front to reserve your spot and a voluntary donation on the weekend. You may contact a community nearby to determine their registration fee and projected weekend donation amount.
During the weekend, couples are apprised of the full cost of the weekend, and are asked to make a voluntary donation that covers the cost of their portion of weekend accommodations, meals, and materials for the weekend and post sessions. A good estimate of this cost can be provided by the community’s registration team at registration. A receipt is provided, as a portion of the donation may be tax deductible, under the extent of the law.
Privacy is paramount for us. Our attending couple’s names are not shared with any other organizations, parties, or individuals outside the Retrouvaille Community for any reason whatsoever. In fact, only your first name will be used throughout the weekend. Sharing anything more than this will be completely up to you.
No, personal sharing is not required. The program is not a retreat or counseling environment. There are no group dynamics or group discussions on the weekend. The entire experience is between you and your spouse. The focus is not on the details of your marriage, but rather to get you and your spouse communicating again in a meaningful way to help you heal and rediscover the love you once shared in a way that can be sustained.
Most people who divorce their spouse would say “I just don’t love him or her anymore.” They think this means that love has ended. What it really means is that the romantic version of love that attracted the two of you to each other in the beginning has ended.
The romance stage of almost every marriage relationships will end at some point as the relationship grows and transitions. If they are being honest, people in wonderful marriages will admit that they just don’t live in romantic bliss forever, but rather go through hot and cold periods during the course of the relationship.
In strong marriages, the romance stage of the marriage transitions to a more mature, deeper type of love. Some couples are able to do this naturally, but most struggle with disillusionment and misery for far too long before seeking help.
Couples come to the Retrouvaille program specifically because they have been unable to transition to this mature, deeper type of love. A very specific form of communication is taught in the program that will help you make that transition, even if things seem desperate.
This is extremely common for one spouse to be more disillusioned with the marriage than the other. You may be confident that issue will be thoroughly addressed during the weekend.
Please do your best to convince your spouse to understand the value in attending. You have already invested a great deal of time and energy in your marriage, so giving a weekend of your time is a small investment. Try to assure them that there is nothing to lose by attending, only positive results for your marriage. If possible, print out some information from this website, or get them to read it online. You may also want to contact the local registration couple for your community nearby for ideas. The program is designed for both husband and wife to attend. More info on this topic can be found by clicking here.
Only the two of you can save your marriage. Retrouvaille will teach you a set of skills that, if used properly, will help you get on the right track. We ask that you show up with the mindset that you want to work on your relationship. You will need to put forth the effort, and leave the past in the past as you focus on the future.
What we do know is that attending the Retrouvaille is very effective for improving marriages. More than three out of four couples attending the program are still married at the five-year mark and are enjoying a more fulfilling and loving relationship. This includes couples that were divorced, separated, and had extremely challenging circumstances.
It is recommended, but not necessary. Often, couples will travel to attend the soonest available weekend, regardless of where it is located .
If you attend a weekend that is located far from your home and do not have a local community nearby to support you for your Post Sessions, please make an effort on your weekend to get information regarding online Post Sessions.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide childcare services for the weekends. However, some communities do offer childcare for the Post Sessions and/or CORE (Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience) monthly small group meetings.
The weekend is a time that requires deep focus between you and your spouse. Much of this time will be in the privacy of your room. Any distractions would completely change the nature of the program for you, so we ask that you do all you can to find someone to watch your children and allow you to completely focus on your relationship during the weekend.
Children can be deeply affected by parents in a struggling marriage and will appreciate the growth and positive changes to your marriage and family life that they will be able to see from your attendance.
No. We do not provide professional counselors in the Retrouvaille Program. If you believe you need to consult a professional for your issues, most communities have a referral list of local counselors. Many marriage counselors suggest Retrouvaille as part of the counseling process.
It is saddening to know that many couples don't know about Retrouvaille. We often say it is the best kept secret for marriage and there may be several reasons for it.
- Retrouvaille is a grass-roots, non-profit program. As a non-profit orgabnization, we simply do not have large advertising budgets the way for-profit companies do. Most people that attend Retrouvaille have heard about it from a referral or online search.
- Many people do not seek out Retrouvaille until their marriage is in serious trouble. So when they initially have problems, many seek out traditional marriage counselors, or they try to work out their own problems before they seek out the Retrouvaille Program.
- People tend to talk about their successes, not their failures. Most of us do not like to discuss marital problems. Some people perceive marriage-help programs as a sign of failure. Therefore, no matter what program they participate in, it’s not something they want to talk about. In fact, it is very common that couples that attend Retrouvaille end up learning of other friends and family that have done the same, but never said anything.
Please dress comfortably and casually. We want you to feel comfortable so you can focus on saving your marriage. However, keep in mind that some venues may get chilly when the air conditioning is on, so you may want to bring a sweater, pullover, or light jacket. That said, we do ask that couples refrain from wearing any clothing that may be a distraction to other couples. This includes provocative clothing, or any clothing that promotes specific causes or political beliefs.
My spouse and I have agreed to attend an upcoming Retrouvaille Weekend. What do we do? How do we get started?
First, you will need to Register for a weekend program. Once you complete the registration process, you will be contacted by the Registration Couple from the community where you will be attending the weekend. They will give you a short briefing about the expectations, and answer any questions you may have about the program.
We’re still not sure about this Retrouvaille Weekend. We’d like to chat with a real person. Is there anyone we can speak with?
Each community has a dedicated Registration Couple that handles all questions related the Retrouvaille Program in their community. You simply select your most nearby community or the community that has the soonest upcoming weekend near you. You will see a contact phone number for the community there. They will be able to assist you with all of the details about the program, registration information, directions, and any special dietary needs you may have.
If you can read an English newspaper or watch a news show on TV, and understand most of it, you should be fine. Do not worry about your speaking ability; if your spouse can understand what you are saying, you will be fine. If not, search the website, and you will find that some communities offer programs in Spanish and other languages, depending on the area.
My spouse and I are very spiritual. Will there be any religious services available during the Retrouvaille Weekend?
There is a Mass or devotional service offered Saturday morning and a closing Mass or devotional service Sunday afternoon. While all attending the weekend, all Couples are invited to participate in these religious services, though attendance is optional.
As Retrouvaille is Catholic in origin, in most communities, the clergy member is a priest and Mass is offered. However, on CMD (Christian Multi Denominational) weekends, a Christian minister and spouse take the place of the priest on the presenting team, and a devotional service is offered in place of Mass.
Whatever your personal faith, you are welcomed and embraced and attendance is voluntary, of course.
My spouse and I are NOT spiritual at all. We have no interest in the religious services or doctrine.
This is not a problem at all. The services are voluntary, and do not affect the flow of the program at all. It is very common for some couples not to attend the services. Some couples do find they are open to the spiritual dimension of the program once they arrive, and others do not.
One of us just cannot forgive the other for what has happened. It was just too much. How can we ever be the same?
You will discover during the weekend that there is nothing you cannot come back from, as long as both husband and wife are willing to put in the effort. You may hear stories from presenting couples that are far worse than your own, and yet they reconciled. These couples will help you understand that, in fact, it will never be the same. In fact, it can be better than it ever has been! There are Four Stages of Marriage: Romance, Disillusionment, Misery and Awakening. Many couples that have attended the Retrouvaille program actually grow into a new, far better place. To learn about the four stages of marriage, click here.
The Retrouvaille program can work for you if both of you give it your all and truly take what you learn to heart. However, the reality is that this is not always the case. Sometimes one spouse simply cannot get past their own pain for a myriad of reasons. Even in those cases where it does not work out, often both spouses come out of the program better people with new tools and understanding to carry forward into the rest of their lives, especially the level of communication required if children are involved. The Retrouvaille Program is a program of self-discovery and the tools learned on the weekend can apply to many areas of your life.
This is a very common question. Marriage Encounter is a wonderful program, but it is designed to make good marriages better. If you did a Marriage Encounter weekend, you will find some similarities in Retrouvaille. Retrouvaille was founded by Marriage Encounter couples that saw that something more was needed for hurting couples. Retrouvaille takes some of the Marriage Encounter concepts, and builds on them extensively with a special focus on moving a marriage from misery to rediscovering the love you have for each other. Furthermore, Marriage Encounter ends at the weekend, while Retrouvaille offers all of the Post Sessions that focus heavily on managing conflict, building trust, achieving forgiveness, and so much more.
Because you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. A happy and strong marriage builds vibrant and successful families. It is also much more affordable than court costs, divorce attorneys, alimony, child support, and broken lives.
Yes! Every Retrouvaille community relies on volunteers wanting to share of themselves to help couples that are struggling. We have all walked a similar path and have something to give back.
Please contact your local nearby community and let them know you are here willing to give of your time and energy to help! They are sure to extend a warm welcome to attend their monthly CORE (Continuing Our Retrouvaille Experience) support meetings.