Retrouvaille program helps struggling married couples

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Couples struggling in their marriage often suffer from a breakdown in communication. 

“You keep arguing but without making any progress, which will quickly build up a lot of bitterness and anger that will destroy the closeness of the couple,” said Virginia Schmidt, who with her husband Richard is the Registration Couple for the Retrouvaille Program in the Diocese of Nashville. 

“It hurts,” Schmidt said. “A lot of hurt will build up because you don’t feel you’re being heard by the person most important to you.” 

But couples can find a way out of their struggles through the Retrouvaille program.  

“Retrouvaille is about communication skills and relationship techniques that will improve the communication and relationship between the couples,” Schmidt said. “One of the most important skills you’re going to learn is conflict resolution.” 

The next Retrouvaille weekend in the Diocese of Nashville will be held Sept. 3-5 at a confidential location.  

During the weekend, three couples who serve as peer ministers will tell their stories about how the skills they learned in Retrouvaille helped them pull their marriage from the brink. The couples attending the weekend will be asked to keep a journal and practice the skills they are being taught, Schmidt said.  

“It gives them some new skills to save their marriage,” Schmidt said. “You don’t have to throw it away.” 

“It brings the couple much closer by the end of the weekend,” Schmidt added. “And It puts them on the road to forgiveness. It’s not a magic wand … but it gets them on the road to talking and communicating and problem solving together.” 

The peer minister couples and a priest are available through the weekend to answer questions and encourage the couples, Schmidt said. 

“No one feels alone and no one feels … ‘I’m totally unique, I’m the only one this has happened to,’” Schmidt said. 

After completing the initial weekend, couples will attend six follow-up sessions to practice their skills and continue to improve their relationship. Once the first two phases are complete, couples can attend monthly meetings to reinforce the lessons learned. 

To find out more information about the program, the cost of the weekend, and the availability of scholarships, visit or call 615-838-6724. 

“It’s one of the best things, I think, the Catholic Church has ever done,” Schmidt said. “It’s so easy in today’s culture to get a divorce. How wonderful it is that the Church has made this so available.” 

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