Matt and Brooke Coston’s near train wreck of a marriage headed for divorce last year took a 180-degree turn.
The couple, who attend the nondenominational Timberline Church in Fort Collins, left the Catholic-run Retrouvaille weekend program with a real sense of hope that they could recover their marriage.
More than a year later, they have a new home and a 4-month-old daughter.
“I love our marriage now,” said Brooke, 32. “I feel like if our marriage stayed like this the rest of our lives, I would just be elated. I feel like it’s just going to grow from here.”
The decision to attend Retrouvaille (pronounced Re-tro-vī) in July 2013 was made out of despair. The live-in weekend program held across the country emphasizes communication and is often the last attempt by couples, Catholic and non-Catholic, to salvage a loving relationship.
After a separation in February 2013 and sessions with a series of marriage counselors, the Costons decided to attend a weekend at a friend’s suggestion.
“We were desperate for help,” said Matt, 37.
Brooke added: “For me it was the last thing I could handle. If this doesn’t work, I thought, forget it—it’s over.”
The couple didn’t know what to expect as they drove separate cars from Colorado to Wichita, Kan. for the next nearby Retrouvaille scheduled.
All couples were given rules and guidelines, time for dialogue, testimonies from other couples and received tools needed to improve their communication.
“It’s probably one of the safest environments I felt I’ve ever been in,” she said. “They want to protect you and your marriage. They talked about God being the center of marriage. And we prayed.”
Led by a priest and other couples, the Costons were reminded marriage is a commitment.
“I had made Matt my focus instead of making God my center,” Brooke said. “You just can’t have a marriage like that.”
They left with hope. Matt and Brooke continued with the program’s eight to 10 follow-up sessions in Colorado and joined a group for couples who meet for support and comradery.
“What we’ve noticed is we always had something to come back to which was really the basis of the whole weekend,” Matt said. “It’s feelings and looking beyond surface issues and having compassion for each other.”
Soon after the weekend they conceived their first child, Cozette, whom they call their “Retrouvaille baby.”
They also bought a home and moved back in together in December 2013 before having their girl in April.
While they don’t have a perfect marriage, they solve issues more quickly and continue to make the choice to stay committed to each other.
“That weekend started us off and gave both of us hope,” Brooke said. “God changed our lives. He really did.”
Retrouvaille of Denver
Completely confidential weekend program run by Catholics for all couples with marriages on the brink of failure.
When: Sept. 19-21
Where: contact for information
Register: by calling 303-317-5111 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit: www.helpourmarriage.com for details.