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Marriage Encounter

Today, Marriage Encounter is a worldwide movement, but it had its origins in 1952 in Spain. A priest, Father Gabriel Calvo, had couple after couple coming to him with problems, tensions and frictions in their marriages. As he was searching for ways to assist these troubled marriages, he came across a group of young couples who had vastly different experiences– happy, trust-filled relationships based on a strong religious and sacramental understanding of marriage.


This second group deeply impressed the priest, for they gave evidence of what a good marriage could be. He sought their help. Together they created the program now known as Marriage Encounter. In 1966 Father Calvo and a group of Spanish couples brought the program to the United States. It has since spread across the United States and to many countries throughout the world.


The Purpose of Marriage Encounter

The purpose of Marriage Encounter is to give couples the opportunity to take time away from their daily routines and spend time examining their lives as a couple -- their weaknesses and strengths, their attitudes towards each other and toward their families, their hurts, desires, ambitions, disappointments, joys and frustrations. They are enabled to do so openly and honestly in a Christ-like, face-to-face, heart-to-heart encounter with the one person on this earth who means more than any other. Together, with God as the center of their relationship, they are guided to find ways to make their marriages better.


The Marriage Encounter Weekend

The Marriage Encounter experience takes place on a weekend, which usually begins on a Friday around 7:30 PM and ends on Sunday evening. The weekends are usually held monthly (or more often) at hotels or retreat centers, and meals are provided. The Encounter weekend is led by a priest and a team of three trained couples. Each talk gives husband and wife the opportunity to look at themselves as individuals, and then look at their relationship with each other. They are helped to build, expand and deepen the relationships they already have.


Although there are a number of couples making the Marriage Encounter weekend at the same time, focus is on husband and wife concentrating on each other. Research shows the good communication is a key to good marriages, and so the focus is on teaching effective communication techniques. After presentations are given to the group as a whole, husbands and wives are encouraged to go to the privacy of their rooms for their own personal sharing, using the communication techniques they have learned. There are no group discussions, and the privacy of each couple is respected.


Who Can Make a Marriage Encounter Weekend?

Marriage Encounter is for couples wanting to enrich their marriages. Although the presentations are Catholic in the theology of marriage as a sacrament of the Church, couples of all faiths and those of no religious affiliation are encouraged to share in this experience and to become an integral part of this ministry.


If you and your spouse are interested in learning more about Marriage Encounter, call one of our parish contact couples. Jacob and Sarah Flores at (562) 923-7335