Are you sure you know your spouse?

I like to talk about marriage. I like to see couples living happily.

How well or how deeply do you know your spouse? You may think you know your spouse when your knowledge is only superficial. Your knowledge of your spouse is like scratching at the surface as fowls do to search the ground for worms. They don’t dig deep.i

To make a comparison with fishing, I can say perhaps you have not dipped your net deep like the fishermen in the Bible to know and understand your spouse. Will it be surprising if at the end of the day, your net is empty?

There are tools that couples use to know themselves better, understand each other better, and relate better, thus succeeding in marriage.

Anyone who follows my writings on marriage closely will recall that once I posted something on a Marriage Encounter Week End.

Many people do not know about Marriage Encounter Week ends; and when they hear about it for the first time, one question which usually comes to their minds: who or what does one encounter at the week end?

That was the same question I asked before I became encountered.

This question was answered during the weekend. I got to understand the encounter concept and found it so beautiful.

Let me answer this question for you. Who or what do you encounter when you go for a Marriage Encounter Week End?

At a Marriage Encounter Week end, the first person you encounter is yourself.

If you have never done a week end, then most probably you have never really encountered yourself.

If you have never encountered yourself, it means you do not really know yourself. In other words, you have never really gotten in touch with your feelings.

And if you are not in touch with your feelings, it means you are living superficially without knowing your own self; without knowing why you feel the way you feel about certain situations, and act the way you act.

We, humans need to know ourselves and accept who we are. This starts with knowing who we are.

We are a whole bunch of things determined by our physical constitution, our sex, education, background, which we also call filters, our environment etc.

During a Marriage Encounter Week End, we are helped to know who we are. This includes knowing our strengths and weaknesses, our doubts, fears, worries etc.

When we know all these, that knowledge helps us in our dealings with others.

Hence, the first person you encounter during an Original Week End is yourself.

The next person you encounter is your spouse.

As husband and wife, you know yourselves better when you encounter each other. You know your spouse’s likes and dislikes, personality style, and what makes your spouse react in a certain way to certain situations.

When you know all this, you understand your spouse better. You understand that your spouse’s reaction may be the result of your spouse’s filters or personality style.

This is very precious knowledge that you will hardly get from marriage doctrine.

You can see that the word encounter should not scare anybody. It is not a violent encounter as a physical confrontation in a fight or in a football match where physical force is required. It is a gradual, loving, pleasurable discovery of who we are, and who our spouse is.

The third person you encounter at a week end is Jesus Christ. You come face to face with Jesus Christ, and understand the role that he has to play in your life firstly as and individual, and secondly as a couple.

You also encounter the sacrament of matrimony. You understand the real meaning of the sacrament of Matrimony.

What does it mean when you get married in Church? It means Christ is in that relationship. It means Christ is available at all times to help you in your relationship. It means Christ is journeying with you as a couple. You are not just husband and wife but husband, wife and Christ. You are three in one. This is so good. If there is a problem, you don’t have to try to handle it with your spouse alone. All three of you have to sit down together and look at it. You have to run to Christ every now and then, in fact, permanently.

During the week end you are taught a technique to get Christ ever present in your relationship so that even the children you give birth to are rooted in Christ.

From this you can draw a conclusion about why some children are wayward. Sometimes, it starts right at conception. The parents do not put Christ at the center at the time they are looking for a baby.

We are supposed to decide with Christ through prayer that we want a baby; that it is time to have a baby. Then we go looking for the baby with him through prayer. We do not go on our own.

If we bring Christ in at the very beginning, the child we get will grow up to know Christ and bear the light of Christ.

If some children go on to become priests, or religious, it is because their parents got Christ fully involved in the decision to bring them into the world, and continued to journey with Christ to bring them up. It is usually not by accident. Of course, some do encounter Christ late but most are people whose parents encountered Christ and helped their children early enough to encounter Christ as well.

Another level of encounter during the week end is for priests and religious who attend the weekend.

A lot of people often wonder what this category of people go to a week end for. Let us not forget that Priests and religious are also married to the greatest spouse, Jesus Christ. During the weekend, they first Encounter their self and then encounter Jesus Christ, their own spouse. If there are two priests at the weekend, they Encounter each other. This means they try to understand each other. Priests and religious live in communities and it is not an easy thing. If you Encounter yourself and know what motivates your behaviour and other priests’ behavior, it will be easier to live together.

The priesthood can also be very lonely. But encountered priests are not lonely because they have encountered couples to journey with. They understand what motivates certain behaviours and share the same values like encountered couples and have the tools to maintain healthy relationships with couples. This does not say that there is perfection. Not at all! There is room for human weakness. The bottom line is encountered priests and religious do very well with encountered couples.

In Marriage Encounter, you Encounter yourself, your spouse and Jesus Christ. Priests encounter themselves, fellow Priests and their spouse Jesus Christ; and the Christians they are called upon to serve.

Religious Encounter themselves, their fellow religious, (male/male; female/female).

The goal of a M.E. Week End is to make you know yourself, know your spouse and know Jesus Christ. This enhances love, understanding, tolerance, and working together for success in marriage and in their lives.

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