We recently talked about Marriage Encounter on our program and got an email from a listener who didn’t find it too helpful:
I was listening to your topic on Marriage Encounter.
For my wife and I it was not so good experience
We were married in a Lutheran church in the 80’s. My wife was Catholic I was Lutheran
About 3 years ago after being married for 20 + years, I decided to explore becoming Catholic.
As part of this, the Pastor in our church said we needed to go to a Marriage Encounter weekend. He did allow me to skip the NFP classes however(in retrospect I would have rather attended a NFPM seminar than WWME).
The Encounter was in a not so nice part of town. All of the Counselors read from papers which seemed as though they were scripted. It was a pretty “cheesy” program to say the least.
My wife felt it caused more problems than it helped. She also felt it may have causes a couple separation for some of the attendees.
In the end we felt as though we were at a Timeshare Presentation and were being squeezed for money…
I finished RCIA and we were “married” at the Easter Vigil. I have become closer to God by becoming Catholic and I wished I would have done so long ago.
I have continued to educate myself in the Catholic faith by reading, prayer and listening to every Catholic podcast I can find.
I certainly would not recommend our local chapter of WWME to anyone in our area.
Have you ever attended Marriage Encounter? Did you have a similar experience or was it a good one for you?
We’ve heard incredibly good things about Retrouvaille, in case you or someone you know has been struggling in their marriage.
Personally, we’ve never attended either, but I always have high hopes for these kinds of things.
Kate and I have not been to a Marriage Encounter but we did go to an Engagement Encounter one week before we were married.
The questions that they gave us and the conversation we had was great. The talks were not.
The whole weekend was full of bad theology and Kate ended up giving the NFP talk because the couple that usually does couldn’t make it and the other couples leading the weekend all used contraception (and encouraged it on a couple occasions).
One of the couples also mentioned that when the husband is working on Sundays, the rest of the family goes to a non-Catholic church.
So, while we got something out of it, we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
I think that’s awesome that Kate ended up giving the NFP talk!
The comment from the attendee disturbs me a bit for a few reasons. My wife and I attended a weekend after being married for 10 years. No one should recommend a WWME weekend for a newly wed couple, even if in a previous relationship. It is too difficult to share on material not experienced between the couple. Secondly, the fact that presenters come prepared with presentations they read from only makes sense. No one could memorize a weekend’s worth of material and if they did the odds they would forget something would be guaranteed. The presenters were not paid professionals and the material was self generated. Lastly, no one can create love for another couple nor any other emotion. That skill resides within the couple itself. We worked at discovering our relationship again and found the weekend to be highly rewarding and the lifestyle recommendations to be a gift.