Unable to meet in person due to the Covid pandemic, our Married Couples’ team put together a one day retreat via ZOOM on Saturday, February 27th. We had a total of sixteen couples in attendance. The retreat began just before 9:00 am and ended at 5:30pm.
The talks for the retreat were based on chapters from the book, “Tips for a Happy Marriage.” Each of our team couples presented reflections from one of the topics that spoke to them. They shared their own stories as they related how they have grown together and how they continue to try to meet the challenges of growing in love together.
Ed and MaryAnne Caskin’s talk was entitled, “Check Your Expectations at the Door.” They asked the couples to discuss when they have had their expectations exceeded and when they may have had to adjust expectations. Rich and Rosemary Maikis gave a talk entitled, “Make a Decision to Love.” Questions Rich and Rosemary raised included, “What couple decision can we make to get closer to each other?” and “What form of selfishness keeps us from making the decision to love?” Rob and Liz Palumbo spoke about, “Recognizing that Winning is for Losers.” Some questions that Rob & Liz raised were: “What are some trivial issues we can let go of?” and “What changes can we make in our style of arguing so that the marriage is the winner?” All of the talks identified the need to keep God at the center of the marriage.
After each talk, couples were given 25 minutes to discuss the questions raised with their spouse. All the couples were then assigned to one of four Breakout Rooms where they discussed their reactions to the talk and questions with the other couples in that group.
There was a two hour break for lunch and time away from the computer screen! The afternoon also featured a fun game of “Name that Tune,” generously hosted by Theresa McHugh.
The closing ritual was centered on praying together as a couple. Darlene and I gave a brief talk on the importance of praying together as a couple and our experiences with couple prayer, as well as our renewed commitment to pray together each day. The ritual was very moving and involved husband and wife touching various parts of each other’s body while praying for their spouse—i.e. touching each other’s mouth while praying, “May you speak with love, proclaim the truth and make your needs known. May you laugh at the absurdities of life and taste life with joy and enthusiasm.”
The retreat closed with a big group share in which each participant had the chance to share on, “What happened between you, your spouse and God during this retreat?”
We are grateful to all the couples who braved a full day zoom together. We are so thankful to our team couples for their continued help and support in making the retreats meaningful. I personally get thanked far too often simply because I am part of “Darlene & Mike.”
I am grateful to my wife for all the time and effort she puts into making every Married Couples’ event a very productive and meaningful one. I am blessed by her love.
Here are some comments from some participants:
“Rich and I would like to thank Darlene and Mike and all the speakers for the wonderful job on the couples retreat. It was the first time we participated and hope it will not be the last. The talks reminded us to invite GOD to our marriage by praying together, to be patient and forgiving to our spouses. One of the exercises took us to the day we were married bringing back wonderful memories.
Hope to see you all in person soon! Until then thanks to ZOOM and to all the dedicated people running the meetings. De Colores!” – Rich and Norma Scally
“Each year at the married couples retreat, we are reminded of the day we married: the walk down the aisle, the vows, the honeymoon. It gives us a chance to remember how much we love each other and how far we have journeyed as husband and wife. And always it’s wonderful to be in retreat with other married couples who have invited God into their marriage.” – Liz and Rob Palombo