A couple of months ago, my fiancé and I went on a Catholic marriage preparation weekend called Engaged Encounter. This was a beautiful weekend for many reasons.
First of all, the location of our weekend was at a peaceful retreat center surrounded trees. It was lovely and so nice to get away from the city.
Format of the Weekend
There were two married couples and a Deacon who led the retreat. The weekend was set up such that there was a topic and one of the couples or Deacon would share their personal story with that topic. All of the leaders had written down what they wanted to say and then shared their story with us. We were then given a set of questions, and the men and women would split up and journal for a given period of time. All of the couples would then reunite in private and read what they had written to their partner.
As someone who processes things better through writing, this was immensely helpful for me to share my thoughts and feelings.
There were many different topics such as managing conflict, financial fidelity, and forgiveness in marriage. The reflection book that guided our weekend also included several resources and take-home questions to continue to reflect upon with your partner.
We also shared meals as a group, and that was a great time to talk with some of the other couples. There was also a little bit of time to go for walks around the retreat center. While you are with several other couples, for the most part, the weekend is about you and your fiancé having time together to flesh out important life happenings.
At the end of the weekend, we held our partner’s hands and the leaders guided us through a series of realizations, i.e. these will be the hands that… comfort you when you are sad, hold your newborn child, cheer you on in your dreams, etc. That was such a touching moment that I greatly appreciated.
I highly suggest looking into some sort of marriage preparation such as this, no matter what your faith background. It was so refreshing to get away from the wedding planning and focus on our future marriage. After all, as the slogan of Engaged Encounter states, “A wedding is a day… A marriage is a lifetime.”