Retrouvaille is an international community of disciples committed to the continued healing of their marriages and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sharing their stories, talents and gifts to promote and spread the healing ministry of Retrouvaille. Below, Jason and Dielle Robb share how the program impacted their marriage and their family.
What attracted you to Retrouvaille? How did you hear about it?
The Retrouvaille program was a light in the darkest time of our marriage. We had passed through the stages of romance and disillusionment and were deep in misery. We had heard about Retrouvaille from our then parish priest, Father Paul Dobson, after we had approached him to help save our crumbling marriage.
How did participation impact your marriage? Any surprises?
We had no idea what lay before us when attending the weekend. The part that impacted us the most deeply was hearing from the presenters. They were couples who made it through very tough times and had managed to stop hurting each other and work on bettering their marriage. They shared their own experiences, they spoke from the heart with raw emotion and recounted the pain they had suffered. We could hear parts of our own story in theirs and hear our pain reflected in their voices. The amount of work expected of us was significant and it took a long time to heal. But when we were told we would never be alone, that we would forever be a part of a community that supports and cares for its members and they were rooting for our marriage to succeed, it was overwhelming. It allowed us to see beyond our feelings of pain and isolation and know that we didn't have to struggle alone.
Our involvement in Retrouvaille has also strengthened our relationship with God, as we have come to know that God wants us to love each other as He loves us. We can never match the perfect love that God has for us, but He asks that we try. We have come to know that God is part of our marriage and when things seem overwhelming, God is there to give us strength and grace to help us to continue to grow in love.
What is the benefit of journeying with other couples? What have you learned from them?
The Retrouvaille ministry is one of peers. Whether you have just started on the path to rebuilding your marriage or have been journeying for years, we come together to share our experiences so that we can gain an insight into ourselves and how we are called to grow. We make this journey together, encouraging one another to stay on this path. We are supported by the honesty and desire of the other couples to make their marriage a living sacrament. It is so wonderful to have a group of people who come together in one united purpose, to give support and encouragement so that each of our marriages can succeed and be strengthened.
What made you decide to move from participants to leaders in your ministry?
We decided to share our story as weekend presenters so that we could take all the pain we had lived through and share those experiences in the hopes it could help others. It gave extra meaning to the suffering we had endured. Those couples who shared their stories when we attended our weekend gave so much of themselves to help us, how could we not do the same? The healing we gain from sharing our story with other hurting couples through Retrouvaille is tremendous. Allowing them in to experience where we were and how far we've come is an amazing gift of healing for ourselves and we hope it demonstrates to those hurting couples that they can rebuild with God's help.
Any tips or advice for married couples as we celebrate Marriage Sunday?
Don't give up! No matter how long you've suffered or what you've suffered, there is hope. You can heal those hurts with time, effort and a commitment to prioritize your marriage. We cannot promise an easy ride, but we can tell you from our own experience that it is possible to rebuild this most precious and beautiful sacrament, if you decide to do so. It won't just improve your lives, but it will make a tremendous difference in the lives of your children, your extended family and your community.
The Archdiocese of Toronto celebrates Marriage Sunday the weekend of February11/12, 2017. For more information and resources, visit www.archtoronto.org/marriage.