No, no, no – not us!!!

Last Saturday, a dear friend asked me to assist her with an engaged couples at our parish”building your marriage before it starts” retreat. No, not as a presenter, definitely not as an example, but instead as extra set of hands for setup and cleanup. The beauty of this is that I get to listen to a fantastic marriage retreat – for free!

TB & I have been married 26.5 years and we attended a similar retreat before we married. Did I listen? Not so much as I knew everything they were talking about – after all I had been married before (that should have been my first clue that I would benefit greatly by listening)!

Here are a couple of takeaways from the day…

Conversations need to take place about the tough stuff BEFORE you get married! Honesty, acceptance, and a relationship that includes God are the KEY to a successful marriage. You are NOT always going to agree on everything… but you can still have a very loving relationship. Life is GOING to happen – happy, sad, good, bad, death, birth, addiction, illness, oh and taxes – yet none of these are a death sentence for a marriage.

Studies, however, indicated the following reasons that couples typically end up in therapy (and sometimes divorce):

  • Communication (tone/volume/not talking/talking at the wrong time)
  • Finances (not having open/honest conversations/spender vs. saver)
  • In-laws (enough said… holidays/vacations/how much time is too much)
  • Children (education/discipline/faith)
  • Sex (enough/not enough)
  • Religion (different/lack thereof)

There were many amazing presenters today but there were several standouts for me. EC & SC (they are almost my age) spoke as a couple about meeting, blending their young lives, growth in their relationship, family, loss & so much more. Their obvious love for each other, even during the rough times, prompts me to think of my own marriage & the many joys/struggles we have experienced…that is for another day/post.

Also, Father PB, spoke about has a favorite author – CS Lewis – and Fr. discussed the book Four Loves, in which Lewis discusses the stages of Love:

  • Affection (Storge)
  • Friendship (Phileo)
  • Romantic Love (Eros)
  • Charity (Agapé)

I would do a disservice to Fr. trying to recap his talk about this book however I will say I now have another book on my list of must reads!

Seeing/hearing so many couples as they prepare to begin their lives together as a married couple, listening as they share their faith, their fears & their hopes is inspiring. And while I was here originally to set up and clean up, I actually received so much more that I gave!

Special big hug to my dear TP for giving me a great opportunity to take a solid look at my own relationship reactions/responses. God had me right were he needed me to be!

And to my sweet husband, I will try to react less and respond more and to work at being a more supportive and loving wife. I Love You…