Hurting couples invited to Retrouvaille weekend

Karl and Teresa Moser are the coordinators of Retrouvaille of Louisville, a ministry that helps couples who are struggling in their marriages. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Retrouvaille — an international ministry for couples experiencing pain in their marriage — is a gift that helps them face the inevitable challenges of married life, said Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre.

“The sacrament of marriage is a vocation to which people are called. There are many graces that flow through this sacrament,” but that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenging times, said Archbishop Fabre during a recent interview. “The gift of Retrouvaille invites people to honestly face those challenges when outside help is needed.

“I’ve seen the benefit of Retrouvaille and the healing and strengthening of marriage that Retrouvaille can bring,” he said.

Retrouvaille is a French word for “rediscovery” or “to find again.” The ministry began in 1977 in Quebec and has since spread to more than a dozen countries. Locally, Retrouvaille of Louisville helps those in the Archdiocese of Louisville and surrounding areas.

Karl and Teresa Moser, coordinators of Retrouvaille of Louisville, needed help in their marriage and found it in Retrouvaille 12 years ago, when their marriage was what they called “broken.”

Karl Moser learned about the marriage ministry in a church bulletin and the couple, who had separated, attended a weekend event. That’s the first phase of the program. The weekend is followed by 12 meetings that take place over the course of six weeks. Then there are monthly small-group support meetings.

The Mosers invite couples who are “hurting” to attend a confidential weekend event Feb. 17-19.

“We went into it because we wanted to be married, we wanted each other, we just didn’t know how” to make things work, said Karl Moser.

Teresa Moser, speaking to her husband during a recent interview in The Record’s office, said, “I didn’t want a broken marriage. I wanted a marriage that was going to work.”

That’s what Retrouvaille Louisville offers couples, they said.

The confidential weekend brings together couples of all backgrounds and faith traditions. The couples are never asked to talk openly about the problems in their marriage. They examine what has gone wrong in the marriage and learn the tools needed to repair it, the Mosers said. Participants are taught listening and communication skills and how to “fight fair,” they said. The couples are asked to consider how they individually contribute to the difficulties in the marriage.

Couples are also invited to look at the role God has in their marriage and to ask for his help in healing. The weekend begins and ends with the celebration of Mass and a priest is available all weekend to talk with couples (if they choose) and for confession. The schedule also includes presentations from others who have been through the program.

“We talk about Jesus coming into our lives and helping us to see where we are wrong,” said Karl Moser. “We always want to blame our spouse” but the weekend is an opportunity to look “deeply at ourselves.”

Teresa Moser said Retrouvaille helped her look at herself. “I learned all my faults because I dug deeper,” she said.

During the weekend, the couples also have time together to talk privately and practice the listening and communication skills they’ve learned, said the Mosers.

Teresa Moser said she’s seen couples come with “pain in their eyes” and by the end of the weekend, they are laughing together. Karl Moser said this transformation is “inspiring, it makes it fulfilling. To see that growth is why we do it,” he said.

The cost of the program is $260. To confidentially learn more about it or to register (by Feb. 10), call 479-3329, email 3012@helpourmarriage.org or visit helpourmarriage.org.

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