Richard and Megan Burks’ marriage was good: They served as Eucharistic minsters at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Aurora, and while there was nothing necessarily wrong with their relationship, they knew God was calling them to more. This is why they chose to attend a “Love Your Marriage” retreat. With an enriched family life, they recommend the retreat to any couple of any age who wishes to love God and one another in a deeper way.
“We wanted to go and continue to invest in our marriage,” Richard said. “We wanted to figure out more ways to love each other.”
Among the practices they incorporated into their marriage and family was an intentional time for communication.
“[Now], we do a weekly recap of what were some good and not-so-good things during the week to help our communication and make sure we’re focusing on each other and making sure we’re keeping our relationship strong,” Megan said.
This also gives them accountability in praying together and passing on their faith to their two children, Richard added.
“It wasn’t just ideas, but specific examples. Being able to walk away with tangible things [from the retreat] was very helpful,” Megan said.
The “Love Your Marriage” retreats are part of an archdiocesan initiative to help couples accomplish their mission amid the strains of life.
“We need strong marriages. With the demands of our daily lives, it can be hard to fit in quality time with our spouses, but it is so important,” said Carrie Keating, NFP and Marriage Specialist for the Archdiocese of Denver. “The Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries wanted to create retreats around the archdiocese that would serve marriages, bringing them closer to each other as well as to God.”
One of the many things that make the “Love Your Marriage” retreats so great for couples is their structure, which is parent-friendly.
“We have six parish host sites for ‘Love Your Marriage’ retreats. They provide couples an easy way to invest in their marriage,” Keating explained. “We wanted it to be accessible on lots of levels: affordable, half-day time commitment, with food and childcare included. ‘Love Your Marriage’ retreats also have wonderful content developed by trusted experts in the relationship field — St. Raphael Counseling and Marriage Missionaries.”
“The format is wonderful!” Megan said. “It’s so easy to attend and not too overwhelming like a whole weekend. Also, you meet other couples who try to live out their faith, and to hear what they have implemented in their own families and what they are doing is very helpful.”
“[These retreats] are good whether your marriage is good or not, no matter where your marriage is at, no matter where you are at in your faith journey,” Richard said. “People get the impression that you should go only if you’re in trouble, but it’s good even if you’re not, like it was for us.”