Monday, November 29, 2010

Saving Marriages with the Retrouvaille Movement

Like all countries Korea has its share of divorced families. The daily papers tell us stories of married couples that live in the same house but are living with masks-- they are no longer couples. Some time ago a  TV program dealt with couples living together and not talking to  each other for years. This has been  sufficient reason for divorce in the court of law. They stay together for the sake of the children.

Of the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD), Korea has one of the highest rates for divorce. It has been reported that the divorces by agreement  have declined, but those submitted to the court of law have increased.

One article  mentions alienation in the marriage  begins with criticism of the other, defending oneself, contempt for the other and finally the walls go up-- communication stops. The Church in Korea has made the break up of the family  an important issue in their pastoral programs.

The Peace Weekly introduces us to the Retrouvaille  movement, an attempt to save these unions from  the complete breakdown. On average in Korea,  according to the article, 342 couples divorce daily, and 49%  have irreconcilable differences in personality. On the outside many seem to be without problems but  are on the verge of divorce. This movement tries to return them to a normal married life. The two keywords for the movement are trust and forgiveness.

The weekend that  starts the process is similar to the Marriage Encounter Movement which is for harmonious couples that want to deepen their relationship. The Retrouvaille Movement is for couples that are in crisis. To get a good idea of the movement which a Columban Missionary was instrumental  in starting in  Korea go to his article

The weekend is time spend  sharing their experience, and to encourage one another to seek change in their lives. After the  initial program, there are others to help them to apply what they have learnt to the marriage. Here in Korea they have been able to save 40 marriages.
The  program requires a great deal of those who conduct it, but it also is very satisfying to have done something that enabled the couples to stay together. Hopefully, it will spread throughout the country.

The  program requires a great deal of those who conduct it, but it also is very satisfying to have done something that enabled the couples to stay together. Hopefully, it will spread throughout the country.


1 comment:

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