Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Marriage Encounter = Dialogue

Marriage Encounter, a popular movement within the Korean Church, was covered recently by the Peace Weekly, as it profiled three couples who attended the weekend program in the Seoul diocese. They said they learned a lot about the value of dialoguing during the weekend.

One couple, ethnic Koreans from  China, took a four-hour  plane ride to attend the weekend. The wife said she was a tourist guide working in China and had met a Korean on a visit to China, who looked exceptionally peaceful. When she asked her for the reason, she said she had a good relationship with her husband because of attending a Marriage Encounter weekend.  She gave the care of their seven-year-old child to others, after overcoming the initial opposition of her husband, and they traveled to Korea for the ME weekend. Her relationship with her husband, she said, was neither good nor bad, just so-so.

During the weekend, however, by participating in loving dialog with her husband, she shed many tears. She realized she did not know the basics of how to communicate: looking into the heart of the other to understand the other--that is what she learned, and that, she said, is what it's all about. The husband thought that money was the answer to everything, but learned that you don't buy love with money. They are not in the least sorry for the money spent for the trip and the weekend. They received more than they imagined: the key to living a happy life.

Another couple came for the weekend from Australia. They lived with the wife's mother and when the mother died recently, the pain of the loss was unbearable for the wife. But instead of getting closer to her husband, she spent a great deal of time at the church, which upset her husband, causing a great deal of bickering between them. Her older sister recommended the ME weekend. At the beginning of the weekend, she said she resisted whatever was suggested.  She did not follow the instructions given and wrote letters to her husband that brought tears to her eyes, realizing that she hadn't lived as she should have. In the privacy of their room, she said she embraced her husband and cried profusely.

The husband said that for 45 years he had not been able to rid himself of his impetuous temperament. He said he had no reason to dislike his wife but things of no  importance would often be the reason for fighting. He had no idea of what dialogue was about, but could only resort to bullying his way in the home. He  said he learned the meaning and the importance of dialogue during the weekend.

The third couple, married for 50 years, was considered a well-matched pair, with no serious problems. The wife mentioned she wished she knew about the ME weekend earlier in life.

They were not used to expressing their love for each other, she said, but kept it inside.  Expressing affection in words and actions seemed awkward and embarrassing. In the home, talking about the children was considered enough dialogue. Now, by talking to each other to understand the other, she said, they were able to find an opening to a new way of life. At their age, however, she said the decision to attend the weekend did not come easy, fearing it would be awkward for the others, much younger, to have a much older couple in the group. But a lot was learned, she said. We now exchange loving words, often. 

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