This past weekend was our Catholic Engaged Encounter couples retreat. As mentioned in my previous post, it was a requirement for engaged couples by my parish St. Thomas in Anaheim. (I’m sure it’s the same for other catholic churches) My dad also thought it would be beneficial to attend, and so did we. After all, it’s us that have to deal with each other 😆 Overall, it was a fun and LONG experience covering some of the pretty intense stuff couples don’t usually like talking about. The subjects touch over the areas of self-knowledge, communication, sexuality, decision making, marriage as a sacrament, finances, morality, family and betrothal.
There are two facilities in Orange County and we chose the St. Jeanne de Lestonnac in Tustin because the date best fit our schedule. They offer 2~3 retreats per month per county so couples have a lot of dates to choose from. It is available nationwide for Catholics AND non-Catholics and also in several different countries! I had no idea of their popularity and was amazed at their size. We arrived at 7:00PM on a Friday night and the next day started at 7:30AM until 10PM on Saturday. On Sunday, it was suppose to end around 4PM, but they said we were a good group and let us out early around 12PM. 🙂 I honestly couldn’t sleep there because it was so dorm-like and I know we weren’t suppose to, but we snuck out after the day was over and came back early in the morning.
This is the cute name tag we get once we arrive^^ (in addition to a notebook/pen):
During the weekend, three married Catholic couples gave us presentations of each topic by giving us examples of their marriage. The schedule: after a presentation on a specific topic, the couples are separated for 15~20 minutes to reflect and write down their thoughts based on the questions written in the notebook. Then, we get another 15~20 minutes to share and discuss our thoughts with each other on what we’ve written during our reflection time.
I think the questions really helped us better understand our views/thoughts on some of the most personal subjects. Also, some answers I’ve heard from my fiance were so touching. 🙂 One of the questions asked what we would do if we found out our spouse cannot conceive a baby. My fiance answered that although he would love having a child that look like us, this wouldn’t matter at all. He’s marrying me for me, and in some ways we would have even better marriage because we would have all the time to ourselves! I was so aww’d because I know that he really wants children. 🙂 This is truly the reason why couples should come here.. unless directly confronted, there are many situations that you don’t really think about until it actually happens later in marriage; and usually by that time, it can easily lead to a fight and hurt feelings.
Upon our graduation, we received this certificate and a candle yayy.
My fiance told me his coworker who also went to this retreat joked that he made three copies of this so he would have to never go to one again lol. One time was enough, but it’s totally worth the time. I highly recommend all couples to attend one of these retreats before tying the knot so you know what you’re getting yourself into.