I’m not sure what I am doing. I am a new member and I submitted this as an Apolgetics question yesterday. After submitting it I realized my question was way too long and likely will not be answered because I didn’t follow the rules. So, I will try again here.
Does anyone know anything about ACTS retreats? Do Catholics recommend this? What are the long-term effects of attending one? My husband went on one in mid-April. I thought it was a good thing. I thought it would help him have a stronger faith, a better relationship with our Lord and maybe help him develop friendships among the guys he went with. Those might be possible outcomes (I don’t know because we haven’t spoken much), but there is another outcome that is certainly not good, at least not thus far.
He won’t talk to me about the retreat because that is a rule. That was a great big red flag for me, but apparently, secrecy is part of the whole experience. What happened there cannot be shared except with the ~30 guys he went with and their wives that have also gone on an ACTs retreat. I’ve asked him several questions and he has answered them in vague ways. I know there were talks and discussions. I know there was Mass and Reconciliation and Scripture study. I know it was a profound experience. I know he shared personal things with the guys he went with. I know he even cried. I sent him a letter and also went to “Candle Light” as requested by the retreat organizers because I was told it was a supportive, good thing to do. That is about all I know. His responses to my questions were vague, followed by: “You need to find out by going on an ACTS retreat yourself.” Since I’ve told him I didn’t have an interest in going myself, he has stopped saying that. So, we have this wall between us now. I find the whole thing a bit disturbing, a bit cult-like. Is the secrecy a way to generate attendance at these things? He says it is important to find things out only by experiencing them personally. He gave his word that he won’t share the secrets, so I will never find out what he experienced on his retreat. I have no problem with him keeping his word and keeping his secrets. But, I do wonder what the future holds for us. With the lack of communication between us now, I can’t see it as good.
We’ve barely spoken at all during the time that he has been back partly because life is busy but also because I keep running into this “wall” relating to his “secret society.” I thought distractions and time would help me get past this, but now I am not so sure. I am hurt, angry and bewildered by the whole situation. I thought things would be fine as we got back to life post-retreat and keep up with our three children, but instead I keep getting reminded that maybe life post-retreat can’t exist since it seems the retreat will continue with follow-ups. I’ve been reminded constantly since his return that he is keeping secrets from me and that the wall remains and may be getting higher. He has received many e-mails from his new buddies and he went to a 3-hour meeting with them on Wednesday evening. Then he went to Mass with them on Saturday morning and had another meeting. Apparently, he is going to be meeting with these guys on a regular basis because meetings/Mass are again scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday. It is ironic to me that in my letter to him, I affirmed our wedding vows and my commitment to him, but now I feel so lost and he feels so removed from me. It seems that while I was affirming our marriage, he was committing to this group of guys and the “secret society” they formed on the retreat. I find it disturbing that he went off with a bunch of strangers for a couple of days. They asked him to keep secrets upon his return and he acquiesced quite readily, apparently.
Some of the other wives have acted like I should be thrilled that he went on this retreat, that this is an amazing thing, that this is good for our marriage, good for our family, good for our church community. Maybe it is good for THEM and they are sharing more with their husbands since most of them have also gone on an ACTS retreat, but that is not the case for US and I’m really having a difficult time seeing how that will ever be possible. How do I get past this? How can I see it as a good thing? If he has a better relationship with God, then that is a good thing, and I guess that may yet be the case. But, I hadn’t counted on the destructive effects on our marriage, though, and I am not liking what I’ve experienced so far. Communication is pretty much gone.
Can you help me or offer me advice? There is another ACTS retreat offered for the ladies again in September, but I really do not want to go. To be honest, I do not want anything to do with it, but even so, I am living with the effects daily now. Is my only recourse to go on an ACTS retreat myself in order to reestablish communication with my husband? Can something be a good thing if it puts a wedge between husband and wife and encourages (demands?) that someone keep secrets from their spouse? Am I overreacting and being too sensitive? Am I wrong to have this reaction and feel the way I do?