Allow me to briefly interrupt The Tale (Part 4 is one post down if you missed it) to tell you another love story… of sorts.
This past weekend my husband of seven years (no itch comments, please) and I drove over a mountain to gain a better marriage. We have a good marriage but we had been promised a great one. We had heard of this weekend from two different, very reliable sources. So we signed up, roped the parents into having the kids for two nights, and drove the two hours to Stowe, Vermont for our Marriage Encounter.
We had no idea what to expect other than a long-needed weekend alone together. When we walked in the conference room we were instantly put at ease by three couples who greeted us with warm hands and hot coffee (or tea or cocoa).
I can not begin to tell you every detail of the weekend; it was emotionally intense, jam-packed, and utterly and completely exhausting.
This is how it worked. We sat in a room with about 20 other couples with a fat notebook in our laps. We listened to one of the trained team couples as they gave a presentation of a Key Concept. They would then tell us their personal experience with that particular concept. There are 12 sections based on these concepts:
- Communicating Our Feelings
- Encounter with Self
- Marriage in Today’s World
- Reaching out to Each Other
- God’s Desire for Marriage
- Risking Trust in Dialogue
- Impact of Dialogue in our Daily Lives
- Marriage as Sacrament
- Keeping Our Relationship a Priority
- Sharing the Dream
- Continuing Our Journey
Over the three days the three couples told us of their love, their struggles, their disappointments, their triumphs, and their joys. We all listened intently to these soul-baring stories with limp, soggy tissues held to our eyes and noses. When we had mopped ourselves up off the floor, we separated – one stayed in the conference room while the other went off to his/her hotel room -to answer the question(s) for that section of the notebook. After 10 minutes we would reunite in the room to dialogue our answers and re-light our candles…. so to speak.
Over the course of the weekend, the couples became physically and emotionally closer. Chairs were pushed together and hands were held tighter as we gained a greater understanding of our spouses.
To offset the many hours and mental energy it took to get through this weekend, we were also fed copious amounts of food and kept highly caffeinated. At each meal we were seated with different couples and the conversations were lively (probably due the coffee and the sugar buzz from the enormous brownies). Most couples were from around Vermont but there was a fair representation of the other New England states also. We all looked forward to future reunions and other “Encountered Events.”
If anyone reading this is interested but afraid of that red cross in the logo up top, don’t worry. Yes, it is a Christian-based workshop, but it is not in-your-face. I am not religious (as opposed to spiritual) and for the most part I felt extremely comfortable and un-preached-to. So hop on over to the website to get more info: http://www.wwme.org/.