“Have you ever been on a Marriage Encounter Weekend?” our friend asked us out of the blue.
Our two families were sitting together enjoying a pancake breakfast after Mass one day and during a lull in our conversation, he asked us this question.
“No, we haven’t,” was our answer.
“Well, you should go,” was his simple statement. Then he told us about the experience he and his wife had on their Marriage Encounter Weekend and how great it had been for their relationship.
We were interested in going, but we had a nursing baby, so the time was not right. Then we had another nursing baby, then another, and some other events in between, so the time was still not right.
Every few years our friends would tell us again that we should go on a Weekend. They offered to watch our five children when we went (and at the time they had four children themselves). Finally, 10 years after that initial invitation, the time was right.
We had a great weekend. Now we, too, are asking other couples, “Have you ever been on a Marriage Encounter Weekend?”
Who is a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend for?
A World Wide Marriage Encounter (WWME) Weekend is for couples who have good marriages who want to make them even better. It is that simple.
WWME has its origins in the marriage workshops developed by Father Gabriel Calvo in Spain in 1952. After spreading throughout Spain and Latin America, a Weekend was presented in the United States in 1967. WWME has continued to spread throughout the world, and today WWME is in nearly 100 countries. It is a ministry run by thousands of volunteers worldwide.
And yes, you may go on another WWME Weekend even if you have been on one before. My husband likes to say that going on a Weekend is to your marriage what getting a tune-up is for your car. We tune up our cars every so often; we need tune-ups in our marriage as well.
You can read more details about the start of WWME at the website: Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
What a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend is not
A Marriage Encounter Weekend is not a weekend of group discussions or counseling sessions. It is not a Weekend where we share our personal life with the other couples.
It is not a Weekend for couples with seriously troubled and struggling marriages. Our Catholic Church has a program to help couples in this situation. It is called Retrouvaille. You can learn more about this program at Help Our Marriage.
What a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend is
A WWME Weekend is a time for you as a couple to get away from the day to day routine and focus on each other and your relationship. It is a chance for the two of you to learn more about each other and grow in love and intimacy together.
A Weekend is a chance for you two to rediscover each other and put your marriage relationship first on your to-do list. After all, we got married because we loved each other. We did not get married because we wanted to merely co-exist in the same home for the rest of our lives. Having a devoted, fun, and meaningful relationship sure sounds a lot better than just going through the motions on most days.
A Weekend is an occasion to evaluate the meaning of the Sacrament of Marriage and what that means to us as a couple, in our Church, and in the world.
What a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend does
For my husband Alex and I, we felt more like a team after our Weekend. We were united again rather than each working on our own things and focusing in different directions.
These positive changes in our relationship not only affect us as a couple, but impact our children and those around us. Our children are happy to see us having a good and loving relationship. It gives them security. Others notice us as a couple, rather than as two individuals. We make more of an impact when we are united together than when we are each alone.
We have friends whose relationships were completely transformed by their Weekend experience. The put in the effort on the Weekend to focus on each other and their marriages and are still reaping the benefits 10, 20, and 45 years later. They still work on their marriages each day to keep their marriages strong.
Is a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend really for us?
We like to say, “YES, it is for you!!” but it may not be.
Do you have a good marriage?
Are you both willing to spend a Weekend away to work to grow closer together in your marriage relationship?
It is okay to be nervous and unsure about what to expect (I was!), but as long as you are willing to give it a try, you will see the fruits of your efforts.
Some of our friends went on Weekends when one of them wanted to be there and the other wanted to be home, or out with friends, or anywhere else but on the Weekend. However, the reluctant spouse was willing to be there for the sake of their relationship and by the end of the Weekend was VERY happy that they went.
Give yourself and your spouse the gift of a Marriage Encounter Weekend
A WWME Weekend is a gift that you give to each other and your marriage. As two of our friends say, every WWME Weekend comes with a guarantee: if you are not happy with your new relationship after your Weekend, you can have your old relationship back, no questions asked!
To find out more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter and to find a Weekend near you, you can go to the Worldwide Marriage Encounter website to find out more and to sign up.
Now, it is my turn to ask you: “Have you ever been on a Marriage Encounter Weekend?”