Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Post Reply
AmyJ
Posts: 884
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by AmyJ » 19 Mar 2019, 05:16

I was looking for an outside-the-box way to strengthen my marriage with my husband (Yes SD, we are looking into Marriage Builders too :lol: ).
I read about a "Worldwide Marriage Encounter" hosted by the Catholics and did some more research before signing up. We just came back from our weekend, so I figured that I would report...

http://www.wwme.org

BACKGROUND:
Everyone was sick this past week. Hubby had 30 hours of schooling and watching the girls while being sick himself (complete with migraines). I taught Achievement Days on Wednesday, prepped the household when I could, worked, and attended an intense appointment prior to the weekend commitment. My mom was generous enough to stay with the girls while we went. We ran late to everything (I am rarely late btw)...

WHAT TO EXPECT:
1) Draining of Emotional Reserves - we experienced emotions more intensely and for a longer duration than I thought possible. It wasn't a "gentle stroll through a golf course having fun" type of retreat. It was a "20 mile hike through steep terrain - rewarding, but oh are you tired afterwards" type of retreat.
2) People - My husband and I hit a point sooner than most couples where we were both "peopled out" (even though most of our interactions with people were only during meals) and "emotioned out" - but this was a good thing. They were super nice people - reminded me of some of the wonderful people in stake callings I have encountered before.
3) Leaders - The leaders are there to support you in strengthening your marriage. This comes out in their social comments and in how much time given to just talk.
3) Conversations about weighty subjects.
4) It's Low Key - there are no loud voices, no frenzied actions.
5) Mass - They have 2 Masses scheduled in. My husband and I went to 1 of them. No one cared that we stumbled through everything associated with the service.
6) Retreat Design Space - The design of our retreat space was more monastic - with simple lines, brickwork, basic clean showers and a serviceable full-sized bed.

PROS:
1) Experience Insights - Hearing about the experience of the blogger reassured me that I could be benefited by the program with my unqiue traits. It did not disappoint:)
2) Marriage Tradition - Catholics have a solid reputation regarding teaching and living the importance of marriage. We share common ground in this area.
3) Tailor-able Program - Set up so that couples tailor the program to themselves - from open-ended dialogue questions to deliberately setting it up so that you mostly ignored the other couples, this was paramount. We got as much from it as more traditional brain-wiring couples did.
4) Cost - There is an upfront registration fee, but then the rest of the fee is what you can pay and feel comfortable paying. Even if you can and do pay a more extravagant amount, it is still less expensive then long-term marriage therapy (which may be necessary in addition to this experience if you go that route). In terms of cost benefit analysis, I think that you get an impressive amount of boom for your buck here.
5) Religious Diversity - The website stated that they accept other faiths and mixed faith marriages. The few people (mostly other couples at meals) we disclosed we were LDS to were happy we were there and could participate with them. I did not feel like I was treated differently by the people running the program because of my faith. My faith transition did not interfere with the weekend (it actually didn't even come up with my husband or anyone else) CAVEAT: Sometimes the other couples comment on the people they have in common similarly to what we do when a bunch of LDS people get together and compare notes.
6) One on One - My husband and I had meaningful deep, intense conversations that reconnected us.
7) Snacks - Evidently there was memo to bring your favorite snack to share (that we did not get). There were soo many snacks of different (even healthy) types.
8) Structured Meal Break Conversations - There are structured questions for the meals which help keep the conversations light and meaningful with other couples.

CONS:
1) Food - the food is simple and pretty generic. CAVEAT: My family takes food very seriously and tends to not enjoy food that others enjoy. While the retreat has options for other diets, mostly the main meals are loaded with sodium. They tell you to bring snacks as well upfront though.
2) The leaders can get too syprupy. The leaders present the communication method they are teaching us, which can get more personal than I am comfortable with. But it isn't that the leaders are asking us questions (because they are not) - it's just heavy duty communication about weighty, emotionally charged subjects (but it doesn't lead to fights Promise!)
3) The weekend does not have a lot downtime scheduled. It went from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM Friday night, 9 AM to 10:30 PM Saturday (breaks for Mass, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an afternoon break). Sunday went from 8 AM to 2 PM with a lunch break (NOTE: I am guessing the end time based on what I heard because we ducked out early because of life).

RECOMMENDATION:
I recommend that you research it out and go if it looks like it will increase your mileage. My more orthodox LDS husband is glad that we took the time and the resources to do so. Do the research and see if it is a good fit:)

Roy
Posts: 5640
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by Roy » 19 Mar 2019, 08:52

Wonderful report Amy. Thank you.

I have seen a number of these retreats advertised and wondered about them.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7206
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by SilentDawning » 24 Mar 2019, 10:38

Thanks for the report on that. I am seeing a marriage counselor now and he follows Imago therapy. It has been helping, a lot. There are a few things that have been worth the expensive sessions..

1. He asked us to express appreciation for something the other person did every day. That made a difference in the beginning. I continue to do it everyday, although my wife doesn't anymore.
2. He asked us to send a text or phone message or call to the other person to let them know we are thinking of them every day. That helped a lot too. I do that most days, although my wife doesn't. It was nice in the beginning.
3. He focuses on solutions not problems. In the beginning, he wouldn't even entertain any of the problems -- it was all about teaching us communication structures and analysis of our backgrounds, and the impact on our marriage now.
4. We diverted into dealing with one issue -- disagreement over parenting -- and he's helping us make progress.

I'm not sold on the premise of Imago therapy that marital problems are due to open wounds from childhood, but it provides ways of communicating that are effective. Unlike one other marriage counselor we saw, this guy at least has training and a philosophy from which he works, designed by someone with practical experience and a theoretical basis.

I have seen a lot of different counselors over the years about different things -- personal, for my kids, and in my marriage -- and I find the people who, when asked what philosophy they work from, indicate "it's my own" or "its a synthesis of the best of other practices" or something. These people tend to shoot from the hip and haven't been worth the price of admission. Counselors who can say, with confidence, they follow a particular philosophy at least have structure that has undergone some rigor and scrutiny.

Not sure what the Catholics' philosophy is, but I'm glad you had a pretty good experience, from the sound of it.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

AmyJ
Posts: 884
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by AmyJ » 25 Mar 2019, 05:01

Hi SD,
Here is their philosophy as far as I can tell is as follows:
1. A marriage is sacred (blessed by God).
2. A lot of couples lose love over time due to the busyness of life and breakdown of communication.
3 Their program is designed to get couples focused on and talking to each other emotionally intimately and lovingly through written and verbal communication.

That's pretty much it.

User avatar
bridget_night
Posts: 872
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:15

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by bridget_night » 30 Mar 2019, 09:44

My husband and I have gone to several of them. First at a 7th Day Adventist church that we loved. And then at some Christian non denominational ones. The best part we learned was how to use analogies to express our feeling. It helped in dealing with our kids two. We wanted to become a part of these groups but not allowed because we were Mormon and did not believe in their concept of the trinity. It disappointed us. We did put one on in our ward once for Valentines day for couples and they love it. We did great skits with it. One of my favorite sayings we learned there was: "Honesty, without kindness is credulity." I used the analogies to write each of my kids love letters on how I felt about them and they cherish those letters. I also recall a post card my husband sent me while on a business trip and was missing me. It said, "Being without you is like walking around with one shoe on all day." I loved it. The marriage encounters were beneficial but very draining at times, especially the deeper encounters.

User avatar
bridget_night
Posts: 872
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:15

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by bridget_night » 30 Mar 2019, 09:48

I want to mention that when I told my young married visiting teaching companion about these marriage encounters she said she could never do those because it would cause a divorce. I asked her what she would like to tell her husband if she could. She said I would like to be able to tell him to bring me flowers at the hospital next time we have a baby. I was shocked and asked her why she felt she could not do that. She said that her husbands' father taught him that flowers were a waste of money. She felt she had to always obey her husband because he had the priesthood. So sad.

AmyJ
Posts: 884
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by AmyJ » 01 Apr 2019, 05:45

I was a little surprised that my husband was able to think outside our tradition enough for us to participate.

I know I kept bringing it up (with respect) and pointing out how it would help us solve our own problems. I also pointed out that this program has been around for a while, and that the Catholics as a people know a few things about marriage. If you look at it 1 way, it is unusual for a deist Mormon to petition to attend a Catholic retreat...

My husband and I are both analogy users (and wannabe writers sometimes), so that part wasn't necessarily helpful for us. What we really needed was the space to be transported out of our normal lives to focus just on this and to ask the questions (both of ourselves and of each other).

Roy
Posts: 5640
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend

Post by Roy » 01 Apr 2019, 10:28

bridget_night wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 09:44
I used the analogies to write each of my kids love letters on how I felt about them and they cherish those letters. I also recall a post card my husband sent me while on a business trip and was missing me. It said, "Being without you is like walking around with one shoe on all day." I loved it.
Hi Bridget! Can you provide more information about the love letters to your children and how the analogies fit in? I am intrigued and would like to do something similar. Thank you!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Post Reply