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3 Couples share how Retrouvaille saved their marriages


Dean Drobot | Shutterstock

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 12/01/21

“All churches should have it in their bulletin ... The Holy Spirit worked through Retrouvaille.”

Do you feel your marriage is beyond saving? Many couples have felt this way, and yet some have still found a way to come back and have a marriage that was better than before. One of the best resources for these couples is the Retrouvaille program.

Retrouvaille is for married couples facing difficult challenges in their relationship. It helps couples restore their marriages and rebuild a loving relationship. 

Part of what makes Retrouvaille different is that the presenters are not trained marriage counselors but rather married couples who have “been there, done that” and succeeded. They share their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to rediscover their love.

Retrouvaille offers practical ways to improve communication, build stronger marriages, and help couples reconnect. While Retrouvaille is Catholic in origin, couples of all faiths or no faith background are encouraged to attend. 

For many couples, Retrouvaille is key to saving their marriage after trying other strategies without success. That was the case for Mary Jo, who began the program with her husband in 2000. They had been married for over 30 years, and the marriage was happy in the beginning, but worsened considerably over the years. 

“We were sinking fast,” Mary Jo recalls, in an interview with Aleteia. “We didn’t want a divorce but we wanted to stop hurting each other. We wanted the pain to stop.”

She and her husband had tried marriage counseling and another marriage retreat program, but nothing made much of a difference. Then they heard about Retrouvaille from a family member.

“From the get-go, everything about it was wonderful,” Mary Jo said. 

The people who were leading it knew what we were going through! They had walked that road. They had been divorced or on the road to divorce when they turned their marriages around. It was real, and their stories encouraged us and kept us going even when times were tough. 

Mary Jo and her husband committed to using the new tools and tactics that they learned at their Retrouvaille weekend, and they followed up with the planned six weeks of sessions afterward. 

“It was a total change in our marriage,” she said. “We were back on track completely. It brought us back to the good marriage we started with and even improved it.”

Mary Jo remains a staunch proponent of Retrouvaille all these years later. “I glowingly praise it and recommend it to anyone who will listen,” she said. “All Catholic churches should have it in their bulletin, because every parish has troubled marriages. The Holy Spirit worked through Retrouvaille.”

Another success story comes from Martha, who decided to sign up for Retrouvaille when she found divorce papers her husband had drawn up in an email. Thanks to Retrouvaille, their marriage was saved and they are happily married today.

Martha said she and her husband would “100% yes” recommend Retrouvaille to other couples.

“It gave us a means of communicating our feelings, tools for handling conflict, and knowledge and motivation to work on making shared values a priority in our family life,” she said. 

It gave us a tangible action plan to repair the damage. The stories from presenters also gave us hope that even in our current disaster, hope and healing was a true possibility. It also reminded us of our foundation of what drew us together and aspects we liked about each other at the beginning of our relationship.

She offered couples in troubled marriages this advice: “Be willing to show up for the weekend and trust the process.”

Another couple shared their gratitude to Retrouvaille for saving their marriage. Yolanda said in an interview, “We still use tools today that we learned on that weekend 10 years ago.” She strongly recommended it too, encouraging couples to do the follow-up session and to stay close to their local Retrouvaille community for support.

“God really can work through the program to heal marriages,” she said. “We have seen marriages saved that were literally considered ‘hopeless.’ It takes work and effort, but the results are worth it!”

Mary Jo summed it up best when she said, “I can’t say enough good things about Retrouvaille. It truly is a lifeline. I’m totally grateful for it.”

Even couples who ended up making the decision to divorce recommended the program. Maria and her ex-husband took part in Retrouvaille before they divorced (their situation involved abuse). “Even though it wasn’t what my ex and I needed, I actually learned a lot of new strategies that I was able to bring into a new relationship years later,” she said.

If you’re struggling in your marriage, don’t suffer alone any longer. Sign up for Retrouvaille, commit to putting in the work, and invite God to work through this life-changing program. 

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