I would like to put forth another plug for the value of attending Retrouvaille. We went this past weekend, and I had been concerned that we were too far out and not in crisis enough for it to be useful – that maybe we had missed the moment. There were definitely plenty of couples clearly in active crisis, and I think we would have found this a huge help a few months ago, but even so we found it highly valuable even where we are today.
Two things stand out to me: first, the practice of slowing down to identify and focus on feelings, and to make sure our partner gets what we’re saying, and we get what they’re saying. We already understood the idea of active listening and have been employing it, but this is even deeper, slower, more deliberate and more intentional. It’s not about problem-solving, it’s about finding and being in touch with feelings and being skilled and sharing and hearing them. I’m not very good at it yet, but we are both ready to keep practicing.
Second, the incredible solidarity of spending a weekend with twenty couples who know EXACTLY how we are feeling and what we are struggling with. Not necessarily infidelity (because no one tells their stories except the presenting, trained couples), but hurt, pain, anguish, crisis, and risk of ending one’s relationship. The presenting couples have BEEN THERE DONE THAT and here they are giving back, paying it forward. It felt so good to be cared for by them and to have all the other couples around us. Even though I am not a religious person, I appreciated how nurturing it felt that there were couples all over the world praying for us last weekend.
I most definitely recommend this weekend for anyone considering it. I’m not sure I could have handled it before Aboutdamntime came out of the fog, but almost any time since then I think it would have been valuable. And for some couples maybe it can help their WS move out of the fog.