By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
[SASKATOON, September 2018] – A presentation at a diocesan Administration Day about the work of Retrouvaille to save marriages in difficulty began with a litany of video testimony from couples describing how their lives changed for the better “because of Retrouvaille.”
“Retrouvaille can really make a difference for struggling couples. It can change lives,” said Fr. Colin Roy, pastor at Cudworth, St. Benedict and Middle Lake, who has assisted at Retrouvaille weekends for the past three and a half years.
Married for 14 years, Anastasia Winterhalt and Anthony McCarthy shared how Retrouvaille was a lifeline for their marriage.
“A few years ago our marriage was at a breaking point. I didn’t think that we could possibly fix what was broken. We had no communication and I was ready to divorce my husband. I believed that all was lost, and that is when we discovered Retrouvaille,” said Winterhalt.
“Lack of communication, resentment, fighting, and living separate lives while married are just some of the common factors responsible for the break-down of many marriages,” listed McCarthy.
“The main emphasis of the program is on communication and building relationships. Retrouvaille gave me a new language. I was never much of a talker, especially when it came to the hard stuff. The program was intense, but it got to the root of things. It has given me the confidence to express my emotions with my wife, and the rest of my family.”
Winterhalt also described the huge impact saving their marriage has had on their family, in particular on the happiness and security of their two young sons.
“The word Retrouvaille is a French word that means to rediscover. And the first time I helped to present on the Retrouvaille weekend, I realized why the program was given this name,” said Roy. “I really saw a transformation in some of the couples who attended the weekend.… from despair and hopelessness to renewed hope.”
McCarthy described the program, which consists of a full weekend followed by six weeks of follow-up sessions. “You are not asked to share your problem, but simply to take the time to explore yourselves as individuals and to learn how to communicate and move past the hurt.”
No one is ever turned away because of finances, stressed Winterhalt.
There is a huge need to let people know about the program, the couple added.
Roy encouraged pastors and parishes to continue to advertise Retrouvaille, and to pass along information to any couple that might benefit from it.
Winterhalt shared a list of questions on the Retrouvaille brochure that might help someone identify whether the program could help their marriage, including an inability to find solutions for problems, having the same fights over and over again, or dealing with infidelity.
“A marriage doesn’t need to be where we were to see the benefits. Goodness knows had we seen or known about Retrouvaille earlier on, we could have saved a lot of grief,” she said. “The gifts that Retrouvaille offer are so profound…. Who else do you know that deserves the chance to say “because of Retrouvaille”?”