February 2, 2015

Engaged Encounter Weekend

A few weeks back, Justin and I attended a Louisville Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend at Mt. Saint Francis. If you’re keeping up, we are both Catholic and we’re getting married in the Catholic Church. My dad’s cousin (Father Matthew) is a priest and he is going to marry us which makes our day extra special.

The Catholic Church has some requirements for couples getting married and both Father Matthew and the priest at my parent’s church recommended the Engaged Encounter Weekend to us. We had heard mixed reviews about the weekend and with our busy schedules we debated whether or not we wanted to attend. {Obviously} we decided to attend the retreat.

We had to arrive at the retreat center by 7:30am on a Saturday morning. We checked into our (separate) rooms and the retreat started at 8:00. I was expecting just a few other couples to be there so I was a tad overwhelmed when I learned there were 24 other couples on the retreat with us. Almost everyone was around our age and most of them had the same look of anticipation /intrigue/tiredness on their face that we did. The first thing we did is turn off our phones so unfortunately I don’t have lots of low quality iphone glamourous pictures to share with you.

There were two couples (married 17 years and 9 years) and a priest leading our retreat. I was worried that the retreat might get a little “churchy,” but it never really did (except for 1 discussion and mass to wrap up the weekend). We were given a booklet upon arrival that had an outline of subjects and some questions/thought starters for each topic.

The theme of the retreat is, “A wedding is a day…a marriage is a lifetime” and everything revolved around how to build a deep, meaningful marriage. The flow was pretty much the same for the entire weekend. A talk given by one of the couples, we had a bit of alone time to write in our notebooks, and couple time to discuss our answers.

We covered 17 different topics over the course of the weekend. 16 of those topics were incredibly relevant and I was so impressed at how the retreat leaders opened up and shared their stories with us. We got SO. MUCH. out of the weekend and I’m so glad we both went in with open minds. A piece of advice we got was, you’ll get out of the weekend what you put in. We talked a lot about prayer and spirituality and how to incorporate those in our marriage which is not something we talk about on the regular. There were topics on romance and kids, finances and in-laws, and everything in-between. We were both completely open and usually ran out of time to finish our conversations! I’m not gonna lie – we both cried at one point. It was really cool to be able to write down all of our answers and share them with each other. I’m really glad we had to write stuff down so that we can go back and read it later.

So to wrap it up (before I get too mushy and weepy), if you’re engaged, ATTEND THE ENGAGED ENCOUNTER WEEKEND. It is a jam packed, emotional, exciting 31 hours and I would happily go back next weekend if they would let me. Even if you think you’ve already “talked about everything,” I promise that you will leave the retreat feeling even closer to your significant other than you ever thought possible.

I could write another 600 words and STILL not be finished talking about our weekend and how fantastic it was. If you want additional info/details, send me a note and I’d be happy to share.

Engaged/Married people: What type of pre-martial prep did you participate in?
What is your advice for a long & happy marriage?

For more info and to find a retreat near you, CLICK HERE.

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