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  • The Four Stages of Marriage and Retrouvaille, a Lifeline for Married Couples

    For couples who are considering separation or who are already separated, there is a program called Retrouvaille which may be their last resort.
    by SmartParenting Staff . Published Apr 6, 2010
  • Do you know the four stages of marriage? Read more about it below and see why Retrouvaille, a lifeline for married couples, might be something you might want to consider.
    First Stage:  Romance.  Most people are familiar with the first stage of marriage, which is Romance. Life is so wonderful; you couldn't stand to live without the other. Your thoughts often turn to the other when you are not with them.  You have fallen in love and you know that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  Little differences between the two of you are cute and endearing.
    Second Stage:  Disillusionment.  At some point those little differences start to annoy you. You feel bothered by some of the things that may have been cute a short time earlier. At the back of your mind you start wondering why your spouse couldn't be more like you. This is when you enter the second stage of marriage, the Disillusionment stage where you begin to realize that your spouse is not the person you had envisioned him or her to be. You realize that the expectations you had of the perfect marriage are not going to happen.  For some, this realization is too heart-wrenching.  They give up on their marriage, and they separate during this second stage of Disillusionment.
    Third Stage:  Misery.  Many married couples stick with each other and try to work through their problems during the Disillusionment stage. They seek the counsel of family, friends, clergy and marriage family counselors, and some find the key they are looking for. Many others continue to struggle, and their troubles worsen.  Often the marriage deteriorates more deeply due to drug, alcohol or other addictions. Sometimes a third party relationship occurs, in the form of an extramarital affair. As the couple finds themselves in this third stage of marriage they know they have entered the Misery stage.  When there are children, this third stage of Misery is particularly difficult on them.  Regardless of whether the couple stays together in misery or they separate, the children often believe it is their fault regardless of assurances to the contrary.  The effects of separation on a child cannot be over emphasized.  The pain is so intense during the Misery stage that it is common to only want it to stop.  Much like the pain of a toothache that consumes your whole being, you cannot seem to think of anything else besides stopping the pain.
    Fourth Stage:  Awakening.  Most people whose marriages end in separation are not bad people.  Rather, they are often people who never learned the proper tools for a happy marriage. This is where Retrouvaille (pronounced re-tro-vÄ«) can help.  Teams of couples who have experienced all 4 stages of marriage present the Retrouvaille program.  Instead of having given up, they found solutions.  In Retrouvaille they learned the tools they needed to live a happy marriage.  They learned that marriage does not follow the Romance and Happily Ever After formula portrayed in literature and media.  Rather, they learn that there are certain learnable skills, attitudes and tools they can use to deal with the inevitable problems of the real world.  These skills, attitudes and tools gave them what they needed to move from the third stage of Misery into the fourth stage of Awakening.

    Whether you are in the Disillusionment stage, grieving the loss of that magical Romance or if you have moved into the Misery Stage, the Retrouvaille program can give you the marriage help you need to rebuild your marriage.  Many tens of thousands of couples have turned their marriages around by giving the Retrouvaile Program a try.
    All About Retrouvaille
    The word Retrouvaille™ is a French word meaning rediscovery.  The Retrouvaille Program offers tools needed to rediscover a loving marriage relationship.  Thousands of couples headed for cold, unloving relationships or separation have successfully overcome their marriage problems by attending the program. You can read about the history of Retrouvaille in http://www.retrouvaille.org/pages.php?page=9

    In the Philippines, Retrouvaile was introduced in 1991 out of the desire to address the common observation that there are many deeply hurting couples whose situations could not be met by marriage encounter programs. Today, two communities are actively involved in administering the program: one community in Archdiocese of Manila and another one in the Diocese of Antipolo.
    Goals.  The primary goal of Retrouvaille is to provide help for couples who live in the disappointment and pain of marriage problems.  The weekend provides a safe setting that encourages couples to learn communication in marriage in a respectful manner. The post-weekend phase of the Retrouvaille program is as critical to a couple experiencing marital problems as the initial weekend experience. The degree of disappointment, deterioration and despair in hurting marriages cannot be healed in one weekend. Restoration takes time.  The post-weekend sessions provide support as couples discuss concepts of the importance of communication in marriage, intimacy, and many other topics. 


    The Retrouvaille Program
    The Retrouvaille Program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of six to twelve post-weekend sessions over two to three months. The program provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again.  The main emphasis of the program is on communication in marriage between husband and wife.  It will give you the opportunity to rediscover each other and examine your lives together in a new and positive way.  The program is not a retreat, marriage counseling or a sensitivity group.  There are neither group dynamics nor group discussions on the weekend.  It is not a time for hurting; it is a time for healing.
    The Retrouvaille Program is for couples with marital problems including those who are considering separation, and those who are already separated.  Some couples come to Retrouvaille during the initial signs of a marriage problem.  Other couples are in a state of despair and hopelessness when they attend the program.  These latter couples often consider the Retrouvaille program as their final option.  The Retrouvaille program is not designed nor intended for couples in a co-habitating relationship.
    Retrouvaille Program SchedulesRetrouvaille Program Schedules this year start with Weekends on the following dates:April 23 - 25, 2010             SAIDI Formation Center, Taktak Drive, Antipolo City June 11-13, 2010              Mother of Mercy Spiritual Center, SVD Road, Tagaytay City July30-Aug. 1, 2010          SAIDI Formation Center, Taktak Drive, Antipolo CityAug. 13-14, 2010              Mother of Mercy Spiritual Center, SVD Road, Tagaytay CityOct. 15-17, 2010               Mother of Mercy Spiritual Center, SVD Road, Tagaytay CityNov. 5-7, 2010                  SAIDI Formation Center, Taktak Drive, Antipolo City
    The Weekends start on Fridays at 7pm and conclude on Sunday afternoons.  The Post Weekends are scheduled usually on Saturdays after the Weekend is completed.
    For more information on the forthcoming Retrouvaille Program that will start with a Weekend on April 23-25, 2010, you can contact Mar and Armi 02-825-2605, husband Mar 0927-315-3765, wife Armi 0918-383-3247, Rev. Fr. Dave Clay 0918-902-0511, email retrouvaille.antipolo2010@gmail.com, or visit www.retrouvaille.org.  Rev. Fr. Dave Clay of the Missionary Society of St. Columban is the Assistant Executive Secretary of The CBCP Episcopal Commission for Family and Life.
    The material above was put together by the Retrouvaille Antipolo Community from information available in the Retrouvaille International website www.retrouvaille.org.

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