RETROUVAILLE, AN EYE-OPENER

 

 

Regina and I are from the St. Francis Xavier’s Parish, Bangalore. We have been married 25 years and are blessed with two children. We were part of a youth group and first met 3 years before we got married.

 

When we first met and during our courtship days, it was all LOVE and there was a great longing to be with each other. We recall the times when we would meet often and would enjoy the company of each other. We felt loved and it gave us a great sense of belonging. Knowing and having each other as our life partner was what we had dreamt of. We had great dreams and aspirations for our life together. However, as the years went by and with the arrival of our children, there were pressures that began to tell on our relationship. There were pressures at work and challenges with managing the home and children. Dreams of a successful career like most young couples contributed to time away from each other and this did not serve the purpose of unity in our marriage. Over a period of time, we began leading lives as married singles and drifting away from each other. The earlier happiness and joy of being together was diminishing.

 

From the early years of our marriage, we have been involved with various family ministries/movements. Having been associated with various couples’ groups, we realized that this is an area of great need. When couples face challenges in marriage, there was nowhere to go. The more daring ones would probably seek help with a priest or religious or seek out a good counsellor. In our experience with various couples, we found that it was more like…..just bear it……Sssshhh you don’t talk about it…..

 

Through our association with family movements, we were fortunate to be introduced to Retrouvaille in early 2010. We found in this ministry something very different. We attended our Retrouvaille Weekend in Singapore in October 2010. During this weekend we realized we were not alone in our struggles. We found that all married couples are faced with challenges on a regular basis. The intensity of the struggles could be different but there was no such thing as a ‘perfect marriage’. The manner in which we respond to daily challenges determines the health of our relationship.

 

Our experience at the Retrouvaille Weekend opened our eyes to the cold indifference that so often crept into our relationship. It challenged us to face issues and not brush them under the carpet or to fly off the handle with little or no provocation. This was a great learning experience to face the reality of two unique individuals coming together to live in unity in accordance with God’s plans. We realized that our marriage was a journey in which each of us is responsible. Moreover, we cannot succeed without the grace of our Lord.

 

We can say, truly, each day we are rediscovering the joy of being with each other. We feel encouraged by the difference that small changes make. The tools we have learnt through this program are helping us be more aware of our own feelings and needs. Our Retrouvaille experience has also re-emphasized the need for free and open communication and forgiveness in building our relationship.

 

Every moment we are faced with choices……to LOVE……to TRUST……to FORGIVE!!!

                                                                                                                       

Joe & Regina Boniface

Bangalore