The joke Vicki posted below brought back some memories . . . and, perhaps, some advice.
About 20 years ago my ex, Mary, and I, were having some problems in our marriage. So much so that we had taken out divorce papers and all that remained was for either one of us to sign the document(s) and file and it was over. Finished. Kaput.
Somehow, out of the blue, some guy called us and told us about a weekend Marriage Encounter program. Don’t know why he called us . . . but his call was timely. We, the eternal skeptic, asked a lot of question. Finally, we agreed.
Marriage counselors wanted $2500 to counsel us . . . nothing seemed to be working. We figured we didn’t have much to lose. There was no charge for the event; if we wished to donate, that was fine but there would be no pressure to do so.
So we attended a Marriage Encounter weekend in San Diego.
It was at a lovely hotel, near the ocean. Even that was paid for. A number of seminars were given over the weekend. We arrived Friday night and departed Sunday. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because, if you decide to go, I don’t want to spoil it for you by letting you know all of what happens there. Suffice to say, it’s an organized group of very, very nice people who are there to help you make your marriage better.
Marriage Encounter is not designed to save faltering marriages. It’s designed to make any marriage stronger.
I do remember at one breakout session, the husbands and wives were separated into private rooms and were told to write a letter to their spouse and tell them everything they admired about him/her . . . concerns they had about the marriage, anything that was on their minds.
I remember a fella sitting across the table from me who broke down and cried while writing this letter. It was a good, cathartic exercise for us all.
Marriage Encounter pointed out, among many other things, that we men are often taught to hide our emotions, that is wasn’t manly to cry. That, to use a scientific term, is pure bullshit. It may come as a surprise to some women but men often hurt emotionally every bit as much as women do . . . and sometimes more. Yet they are taught to hide that. Cover it up. Worst thing you can do.
Cutting to the chase . . . on our final night we had a group meeting and discussion. Each of us had the opportunity, but not the requirement, to share our feelings. Mary and I stood up, thanked the leaders and the group, and explained our circumstance of being on the verge of divorce. “Because of this weekend’s Marriage Encounter,” I said, “we’ve decided to do this.” And with that, Mary and I tore up our divorce papers.
We got a big round of applause . . . and we were quite pleased.
We stayed together for another 20 years.
Yes, we are divorced. But we remain good friends and Marriage Encounter is partially responsible for us remaining good friends as well.
The point of all this is, even at our advanced ages, you might consider taking in a weekend Marriage Encounter. They are great people. They do have a religious background, all Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths hold Encounter weekends. They never, however, do any prosletizing. There, technically, is no fee. You donate what you can and what you feel it was worth to you. Mary and I were very generous with our donation. There are those that simply can’t afford anything, and they don’t pay anything nor are they expected to.
Again, Marriage Encounter is NOT designed to save faltering marriages (but it certainly wouldn’t hurt) but to strengthen existing marriages.
Just a few thoughts on a Sunday morning, reflecting on the past . . . and all because of Vicki’s joke.
from Vicki Henderson Gehringer
What is Celibacy?
Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances.
While attending a Marriage Weekend, Frank and his wife Ann listened to the instructor declare 'It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.."
He then addressed the men, 'Can you name and describe your wife's favorite flower?'
Frank leaned over, touched Ann's arm gently, and whispered, 'Gold Medal-All-Purpose, isn't it?'
And thus began Frank's life of celibacy..........