Retrouvaille


#1

My wife and I have been separated for 5 months. She has filed for divorce and is wanting to get it completed as soon as possible. I have asked her to go to Retrouvaille in the past and she has refused. We have had little communication in the past 5 months. I do not want the divorce and will do whatever. We have the option of going to court which will be later next fall, going to mediation sometime next year or settling on everything now and getting it over with. We don't have children and the cost of going to court does not make a difference to me it is only money. I am not sure that there is any one else involved she says that there is not. She said that she simply does not love me and that is it. We have had our issues but nothing that I don't think we can get past.

We never tried counseling or anything. I simply came home one day and she said she wanted a divorce this was about one month after we decided that we were going to have kids. Three weeks later she moved out.

I recently told her that if she would go to Retrouvaille with me one the weekend and she felt the same that we would go without lawyers and she could have her divorce. I have read tons on Retrouvaille and how it has helped many couples. But for the most part they have to be willing to work on their marriage. I still believe that she has some desire to want the marriage she just feels trapped and does not see a way that it can work.

So my question for those that have been to Retrouvaille. Is this something that may help us? I know that it is not a cure all. It feels like I am manipulating my wife into going to the program and am not sure it is the right thing to do. I love my wife and will do anything possible to save my marriage.

She has tenatively agreed to the weekend but have not signed up yet as she has not fully committed. Also if we go when she does not want to go will it be something that she will resent me for going?

I read where most of the couples that went one of the spouses did not want to be there.


#2

My wife and I are Retrouvaille alum. I will simply put it this way. It is all about communication. Two and a half days of it. If one of the parties is truly not interested in reconciling, Retro. is not the answer. It is a fabulous program for couples who have not definitively made their minds up to seperate. In my case it saved my marriage.


#3

Thanks for the reply onel.

At this point outside of Retrouvaille or some miracle we will divorced in the near future. I have faith in God that if we go to the program it will at least give us the chance to discuss things. From the day that divorce was brought up all she has wanted to talk about is how to split things up. No lets work on it no lets try. This only 1-2 months after we were planning a family. If she goes it will only be to push the divorce along faster I am praying though that it will teach both of us better ways to communicate and give us some sort of hope. What she puts into the program and how much she opens up when/if she goes will be up to God.

You said that you and your wife were both there to want to save your marriage. In the post sessions did you speak with couples or others that went but that did not want to be there and were only going to finalize the divorce or to get closure. I know that my wife is extremely confused and unsure what she wants. She doesn't say it but can tell everytime that we do talk and she cries about it.


#4

(Quick background: I divorced my husband and am now working to reconcile. I was in your wife’s shoes at the time of separation/divorce. Now I regret being so stupid. Fortunately, my husband still wants to be with me. We are doing a Retrouvaille weekend in January.)

Based on my own experience, my guess is that your wife is feeling trapped and sees divorce as the only means of escape. It sounds like she wants children, but she’s scared to have them in a marriage in which she’s not 100% confident because once you bring children into the mix, you truly are “trapped” in that relationship for a lifetime.

Some points you can make in trying to convince her to try Retrouvaille: Retrouvaille is about learning to communicate with each other. Divorce is excruciating, even for the person who takes the reigns. If she wants to move forward with the divorce, it will be a lot less painful for her if the two of you have had this crash course on communication. Also, perhaps learning more about what went wrong in this marriage will better prepare her for her next relationship.

I don’t know if those arguments will necessarily commit her to repairing the relationship, but it may commit her to putting her best efforts into the weekend.

I’m praying for you.


#5

Thanks Augusta I will be praying for you and your husband as well.

At the time you got divorced do you think that if you went to something like Retrouvaille would have helped you to not feel trapped. I realize you have not gone yet. I am worried that pushing her to going now maybe too much and that it may be in God’s timing later down the road such as you and your husband to reconcile. I am sure that my wife feels trapped and her expectations of an ideal marraige were not met. I don’t know what you tried for counseling or other methods to save your marriage.

I truly want my wife to be happy in our marriage and understand that I can not make her want to stay married. I also don’t want a marriage of convenience and truly want a good marriage. I let her know that if after the weekend she knows for sure that she still wants a divorce we will work everything out as smoothly as one can in a divorce. As of now I am dragging my feet.


#6

At the time you got divorced do you think that if you went to something like Retrouvaille would have helped you to not feel trapped.

Pure speculation: Yes, I believe that going to Retrouvaille would have made me feel less trapped. I think it would have helped me to articulate WHY I felt “trapped.” In turn, that would have helped my husband understand that feeling, and perhaps together we could have made steps to alleviate it. I did articulate to him how I felt as best I could, but we went in circles of “I’m not in love and I feel trapped” and “Well, I’m in love and super happy.” That would have been a good first step. Maybe it would have saved the marriage. Maybe it would have made the divorce less painful. Either way, it couldn’t have hurt.

I realize you have not gone yet. I am worried that pushing her to going now maybe too much and that it may be in God's timing later down the road such as you and your husband to reconcile.

Maybe the timing has helped us to reconcile, but I can’t call it God’s timing. The separation happened because I strayed from the vow I made to my husband and to God. That has cost us two years of precious time and reconciling has been (and will continue to be) much more work thanks to our two year hiatus. If I could travel back in time, I would punch my former self in the face and set her straight! :p

I don't know what you tried for counseling or other methods to save your marriage.

We went to a Catholic counselor who made me feel more trapped. If your wife will do counseling, find a counselor who will help her see the benefits of fulfilling the vow, rather than the punishment if she doesn’t.

I truly want my wife to be happy in our marriage and understand that I can not make her want to stay married.

If she’s like me, she’s feeling unhappy because she doesn’t feel love toward you. I wish I could reach through the internet and tell your wife what I have learned (and am learning) about love. That old cliché about “the more love you give, the more you get” is stupid. But convert it to “the more loving you act, the more love you feel,” and that’s spot-on.


#7

Retro. frowns on couples who have completed the program “giving too much away about the program.” My advise is to go if she agrees. At this point it can’t really hurt. The program is a great mix of private time and interaction with other couples. Perhaps she will be enlightened.


#8

Here's an article I found by doing some heavy searching:
smartmarriages.com/tiesthatbind.html


#9

Thanks both of you for your replies. I will try to get her to go and with God’s help we can learn from this and make our marriage better. We talked about it a couple of days ago and she said she would probably go but had to switch somethings around depending on the times of the program. It has been a few days and I recently left her a voicemail just checking to see if she got all the info I sent her on it. There is still space available for the January program in our area and hopefully she says yes before they fill up.

Retro. frowns on couples who have completed the program “giving too much away about the program.”

Don’t worry about not giving too much info on what happens I don’t want to know too much. In searching on the internet about Retrouvaille people post some of the questions that are dialogued. I have not and will not read them. 1. I don’t think it is fair for my wife is she does go for me to have read the things we will talk about before hand. 2. When we are there I want things to be genuine and from the heart not something that I have thought over for a month and try and make it sound better in hopes she will want to work on our marriage.

God bless you both.


#10

Dear Go Bison, When you and your wife said “I do” it was with the understanding that it would be “till death do us part.” Now it seems that your wife has changed her mind and no longer wants to “follow the rules” or live to the promise she made to you to your church community and to God. But here’s the thing: ask her to define “LOVE.” If in her definition she uses the word “feel,” then she’s missed the point. She didn’t “feel” like marrying you, she DECIDED to marry you. Now, God’s working definition based on scripture – and that of Retrouvaille, as well – is that Love is a Decision, not a feeling. We love our spouse every time we show patience, every time we… perform some act of kindness, when we treat our spouse with respect and honor, when we are “other centered” and not “self centered” in our words and deeds, when we forgive each other quickly and not hold grudges. There’s more to this definition and you can read it in 1 Corinthians 13, but the bottom line is that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” My husband and I suffered through 18 years in a very unhappy and abusive relationship, but now thanks to Retrouvaille we are proud to say that we have been happily married 19 years! It works. The choice is yours! And, just so you know, my husband went to the Weekend back in 1991 just to confirm to everyone that HE had done nothing wrong, that it was all MY fault and that if only I would set my priorities straight and do things HIS way, our marriage would be perfect!


#11

[quote="Happy_Again, post:10, topic:179205"]
And, just so you know, my husband went to the Weekend back in 1991 just to confirm to everyone that HE had done nothing wrong, that it was all MY fault and that if only I would set my priorities straight and do things HIS way, our marriage would be perfect!

[/quote]

Woohoo! :) I think we all agree that spouses who want out have forgotten what "I do" meant, don't know what real "love" is, and don't want to play by the rules. The hard part is convincing the spouse that she will be happy if she really gives it 100%. We think that the harder we work, the more we will resent our spouse. That **acting **lovingly when we don't **feel **love turns our marriage (and our lives) into a lie. We see our spouses and "the vow" as our captors and not as a reflection of our Savior. GoBison, I pray that your wife sees now what it took me two years, a divorce, and dating an abusive alcoholic (after the divorce) to discover!


#12

I agree with you both but my wife is a different story. And anything that I say now she will not listen too. That is why I believe that Retrouvaille will give us a chance. Her hearing it from someone else besides me will help her understand this more. Right now she just has her friends that are pushing her to get it over with and on with her life as soon as possible. I pray that she will go even if it is to prove that she is right and I am wrong. I can only pray that God will help to push her to go for whatever reason. Thanks for your thoughts.


#13

Go Bison,

We were at the deepest part of our misery when I first heard about Retrouvaille from a very dear friend, our Diocesan Family Life Director. She sent us a brochure and I showed it to my husband and said “I would like to go; I think we need to do this.” He refused, always insisting that I was the problem. For two years she sent us notes inviting us to each upcoming program and for two years he said No! I’d waited so long and wasn’t even sure I WANTED to invest any more energy in this “loveless” relationship, and was about to walk away a second time, when he agreed to go. Those two years were HELL on earth for me, but now I see that his “yes” came in GOD’S PERFECT TIME. Waiting on the Lord is almost humanly impossible, but God gifted me with grace…the gift he gave us on our wedding day…and his grace was “sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12).

We have be in this ministry for 19 years. We’ve known couples to go to Retrouvaille Weekends with divorce papers in hand and then tear them up on Sunday evening; others will share with us that they decided to cancel their upcoming appointment with the divorce attorney or reschedule it for after the Post Weekend sessions. And we are especially honored to know some couples who have decided to remarry or rededicate their marriage after their Retrouvaille experience!

The point is that ALL THINGS, even your wife’s decision to attend the program, will happen ONLY in God’s PERFECT time. (And honestly, I’ll take his schedule over mine any day!!)

All you can do is pray and wait, and begin looking at yourself. Are you the same person she married? Have your behaviors and attitudes changed…and if so, how? If you are like most of us, we can all use some self improvement. Remember you cannot – should not – change her nor tell her how she should or should not feel… Respect for her and her decisions (even those you do not like) will tell her that you value her; it says that what she thinks and feels matters to you, and it might even help her come to some greater level of understanding. Remember, you cannot change her, all you can do is change yourself.

Wishing you peace!


#14

GoBison,

Last night I failed to mention this, but you might consider accepting the Love Dare, as featured in the new movie Fireproof. The movie Fireproof was an exceptional piece of cinematogrophy depicting spouses in misery, but what makes it so memorable is that it offers hope…very much like Retrouvaille.

The Love Dare is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. “Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong, The Love Dare is a journey you need to take.” boasts the website, and we agree.

Check it out online … google “the Love Dare challenge” or go to any Christian book store to find an actual Love Dare book.

It’s all about YOU…what you can do for the sake of your relationship. Hang in there…God isn’t finished with you (and your wife, too) yet!


#15

Thanks Happy Again.

I have scene love dare before but can’t really do it when she will barely talk to me and I don’t want to push her farther away. I pray that God will lead her to retrouvaille. If not I pray that God will show me the way for my marriage and how to lead my wife back home. Thanks again


#16

I am at a loss for what to do. My wife said now that she will only consider going to retro if we have separate rooms, we fill out divorce papers before we go and I sign them. We have both been catholic our whole life and attend church weekly. She said tonight she doesn’t care about the church anymore and won’t even get an annulment once the divorce is final. She let me know how much I am making her life miserable by not just getting it over with. And it’s not a big deal because we don’t have kids.

Not even sure fighting for my marriage is the right thing to do anymore or even going to retro when I know she will just fight it the whole way. I contacted the retro people tonight and they said a second room is possible. She wants a second room because she does not feel comfortable staying in the same room with me. No abuse what so ever rarely even fought.


#17

Dear GoBison, Perhaps you can meet her request halfway…fill out the paperwork, go to the Weekend and THEN after the Weekend sign the paperwork. It sounds like a fair compromise. If she still wants the divorce after the Weekend experience, then you can honestly say that you have done everything you could to save the relationship.

After attending the program your wife most likely then would be absolutely certain that either divorce remains the only answer OR that there is a glimmer of hope for the relationship. Just one weekend of her time, that’s isn’t asking too much.

You have read that the program entails additional meetings after the Weekend; we have so many areas of relationships to address. All couples are expected to attend these Post Weekend sessions, and we strongly encourage you to do so. Attending the Weekend only is like buying a new car and not filling up the gas tank. Give your relationship one last chance. Retrouvaille was the final straw for us. After two years of misery I barely had the strength OR THE DESIRE to continue working on our relationship, but I am so very blessed and grateful that God gifted me with strength to turn the relationship around.

I am curious, when will the program be presented in your area? My husband and I will keep you both in our prayers. Miracles DO happen! If God can turn an 18 year old abusive marriage around to the point where we – with sincere gratitude – try to help others save their marriage (going on 19 years in the ministry!), then God can bless you both as well.

God is faithful! Peace and prayers!


#18

I did let her know that we can fill out the paperwork and then sign it after the weekend. As of right now she refuses to do that. She will only go if the paperwork is signed before hand. If I do sign it I don’t think that she will attend either that or she will leave right away.

The weekend is in January.

I don’t know anymore. I just want to give up and sign the papers and have her out of my life right now. I am exhausted from trying and praying. I normally say the rosary and go to adoration daily but the last few days I haven’t even had the strength to do that.


#19

Not to be overly rude or intrusive, but did you ever ask her point blank why she has changed so quickly? From wanting to start a family to divorce and cutting ties with the Church seems to be an extremely radical change that is likely brought on by something that happened in her life, or something she did.

It could be extreme stress, it could be something that had been building up inside and then exploded (that’s happened in my life to be sure) but then again it could be something more serious like her being unfaithful. After all, how are you “making life difficult” for her by not signing those papers when she could easily move out without the documents in hand?

Nevertheless, I hope and pray everything works out the way you want it. At the very least, gathering all the information possible on what happened and what her mindset was when you married may help in an annulment process which could allow you to get on with your life if this doesn’t work out.


#20

She has moved out that was 5 months ago. I am making her life miserable now because of the stress of not having it over with so she can move on with her life. There is nothing that I am doing that is making her life miserable. The only pressure that she has seen from me is asking her to go to Retro. She has already filed the papers and I did not go along with what she wanted and that did not make her happy.

She said that the only reason that she wanted to have kids is that she thought that by saying that I would get better. I don’t even know what that is as she still doesn’t say what that is and only will talk about splitting things up.

I don’t know if there is another person. She says that there is not. She is passive agressive and the only time she says that anything bothers her is when it builds up in her. I have talked to her in the past that if something is bothering her she needs to say something instead of letting it build up and making it a bigger deal than it is or something that could be talked about and we could work out together.

None of it makes sense to me. I have never done anything to my wife for her to do this. I am not perfect by any means but I was always a good caring husband and always put my wife first.


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