Twelve years ago the walls finally crumbled in a marriage that for many years left myself and my wife Frances feeling unloved, unheard, alone and unwanted.
The final devastating blow came when I admitted to my wife that I had been unfaithful to her years before. Following my disclosure I fell into a depression which lasted for almost four years.
It was hard to imagine that our lives could get any worst than it had been for the 17 years I carried the secret of my infidelity, but it did. It was an extremely painful time for Frances and our daughters and at one point I seriously contemplated suicide.
We were in the darkest coldest of places, and hardly spoke a word to each other. We tried counselling, we read self-help books, we saw a psychologist. Things improved a little but we spent our time walking on eggshells. There was no intimacy or depth in our conversation or in our lives – physically or emotionally. We became convinced that for us separation was the only option. It was at this point our prayers were answered.
I saw an article for an organisation called Retrouvaille. The advert read: “Does Your Marriage Bring You Joy?” We both knew the answer.
I showed Frances the advert and following a phone call we were registered and attended the programme two weeks later. The programme consisted of one full weekend beginning on Friday evening and finishing on Sunday evening, followed by four, one day, post-programme days.
Presentations were delivered by three couples and a priest. The focus of the weekend sessions was on teaching couples new means of communication. Attendees are taught effective ways to listen and how to share their pain with their spouse respectfully.
Back in February 2007 we couldn’t believe the effect the Retrouvaille programme had on us. During that weekend we began to rediscover the love for each other that for so many years was lost.
Today we are happier than we ever thought possible. Our relationship goes from strength to strength.
If you’re reading this article and you’re a couple in pain, please don’t give up, help is out there! Frances and I are now the co-ordinators for Retrouvaille England and Wales. We, along with thousands of other couples are proof that the Retrouvaille programme works.
Our next weekend programme takes place in Hatfield Herts from the March 11 – 13. Visit our website for more information about the weekend.