Bernadine Sammy-Fuentes shares her thoughts on the retreat
My husband and I have been happily married since April 2012.
In 2014, we lost my father to illness and complications with diabetes and earlier this year, my father-in-law passed away after heroically battling adult myeloid leukaemia for seven and a half months.
These losses, though they brought such sadness and unexpected change, still drew us closer to our family and we are blessed. But being so committed to the needs of everyone around us, we started to neglect our relationship and the simple things that are important for a married couple.
Now this is not a story of a love gone bad…it is rather one I think can be identified with by many couples who find that in trying to do right by the ones we love, we somehow manage to deprioritise ourselves in the process.
My husband and I attended ‘The Joy of Marriage’ marriage enrichment retreat and I can say so much about how this weekend retreat impacted us; how it caused us to look upon each other and reaffirm our love or how it brought tears to simple conversations that were so long overdue.
In the end, this retreat allowed us the time and opportunity to refocus on the sanctity of our union, the purpose for which our Heavenly Father brought us to this vocation and the reality that together we are so much stronger and equipped to handle the challenges that will inevitably come our way.
I am not naïve; spending two days at St Benet’s Hall, Mt St Benedict, will not magically change our life or our marriage. But it is a wonderful start.
Marriage is not a thing that we can put on auto pilot and carry on with life…marriage is life and it brings about life.
Something that serves such an important role in human existence cannot be expected to simply exist. We must continuously care for it, nurture it, and pray for the grace to honour this blessing that has been so lovingly bestowed on us.
I am eternally grateful to Fr Matthew Ragbir, the Spiritual Director and Theological Adviser of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC), who graciously gave of his time to help us continue this journey we began seven years ago. He is astoundingly insightful and so kind in his genuine desire to listen and offer advice.
Thanks to Couples for Christ, for creating this opportunity and your love and commitment to us and God’s plan for us as a married couple.
My love for my husband has grown every moment since our wedding day and after this retreat, I know that our love will never stop growing because that is how God designed it.
I pray that I can pay this forward and inspire other couples to deeply nurture their love and marriage and always know that our God ordained this for them so there is nothing they face that He will not bring them through.