By Rev Malcom & Lynn Joab
Canadian/Caribbean Ecclesial Team Couple, Worldwide Marriage Encounter
The August 28–30 weekend marked an inflection point in the history of the rebranded Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) in Trinidad and Tobago, as it was the first virtual weekend experience conducted in the Canada/Caribbean region.
Given the virtual platform, we could have accommodated a total of 20 couples and four priests from throughout Trinidad, Toronto, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming seamlessly.
It is certainly with sincerely grateful hearts that we thank God for His powerful presence during the weekend and pray for His continued inspiration moving as we accompany each other as couples and priests. Here are some impressions of the experience.
Pat & Cyril
The Virtual WWME Weekend was a treasured experience for my husband and me. From the comfort of our own home, yet away from distractions, we had the opportunity to engage in truly raw discussions. These types of discussions allowed us to explore deeper levels of understanding for one another, as well as new ways of communicating our feelings.
Overall, we would say that this weekend has served as a very meaningful reminder of how much my husband and I mean to one another, and care for one another, as we ensure to keep God centered in our lives and continue on our remarkable journey. We would highly recommend this experience, and we are very thankful for the opportunity.
Hayden & Cheryl
The WWME weekend was a time of encountering each other as we had never done before. For us it occurred at a time when we really needed it. We have been married for 28 years and had come to a place where we were looking for something more, where we found that our expectations were not being fulfilled. We registered for the weekend not really knowing what to expect but hoping for an enriching experience. The weekend blessed us with much more than that, but in a most unthreatening way.
While issues were not specifically dealt with, it afforded us the opportunity to come to a place where we felt that we could. We were moved to where we felt comfortable to have ourselves uncovered and bare before each other. This allowed us to become united on a much deeper level as we came to see each other with new eyes.
This can help our marriage as we go forward having had a mountain top experience of two becoming one as designed by God. As we recognised the gifts that we are to each other, we came to realise that the relationship we longed for was available to us all along. We just did not know how to access it before.
The ‘wow’ moment was like what we think the disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus. They had Jesus with them all the while, but only recognised Him at the breaking of bread. The Marriage Encounter Weekend was our bread-breaking experience.
Krista & Luane
We went to WWME because we are always open to ways to improve our relationship. This weekend gave us an opportunity to put our busy lives on pause and delve into the ‘us’ we used to be when we first met.
We already had good communication as a couple, but as time went on and children came into the picture, a lot of communication is about them and what is going on in the world.
This weekend allowed us to reconnect and gave us comfort to discuss some difficult topics that we may have only skirted in the past. The techniques ensure each person can get their thoughts and feelings out without being interrupted and give the other person time to internalise what is being said. It also enlightens you on how to get your spouse to feel how you feel.
Our WWME weekend showed us that we are still on the same page and gave us the tools to continue that way. We can also see how it could help couples with strained communication or on different pages align, open-up and rekindle what might be lost or dwindling.
I accepted eagerly the invitation to participate in this novel virtual WWME experience. It would be my first encounter ever and as a priest approaching his first year of priesthood, which has been marked by COVID, I was hopeful that it would be helpful in my continued development of skills necessary to accompany couples in the joys and challenges of marriage.
I was not let down in that expectation at all, but what surprised me was the way in which the shape of the weekend naturally moved me to not just look on and observe, but to make the journey with the couples as well. I was invited to be vulnerable, to explore my feelings on similar questions as the couples and to share openly with priests who have been 49+ years in ministry.
For me, it was a most enriching experience. I come out of it renewed. The honesty and willingness to share sincerely from the brokenness and beauty of their stories of both the couples and priest presenting, encouraged me to delve into my story and to allow God to meet me there.
I have appreciated anew the power of dialogue to open-up new spaces in our hearts and relationships. I trust that I’ll continue the path of growth and help others along the same.
Our next scheduled virtual weekend experience is carded for October 16–18 which is already almost 50 per cent full. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 868-712-5681.