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Retrouvaille: Saving marriages in crisis

2014-10-14

Is it possible to save a marriage in crisis? Stephen and Sandra Conway say they are proof that it is. This South African couple coordinate the work of  Retrouvaille in Africa, helping couples who are at the brink of divorce. 

STEPHEN & SANDRA CONWAY
Coordinators of Retrouvaille Africa
"It's run by the Catholic Church, but we've had Muslim, Hindus... We've had atheists We've had Methodist coming up to our program. So it's for any couple who feel they're in trouble.”

The Conways are the among the couples that addressed the Synod. They explained that married life has four stages: romance, disillusionment, misery and joy. In their 27 years together, they have experienced all of them. 

STEPHEN & SANDRA CONWAY
Coordinators of Retrouvailles Africa
"I knew he was having and affair, and I just didn't know what to do. You don't want to lose your husband. I mean, we were married for 21 years and in the beginning I went through my own emotions: Should I just give up?”

After consulting with experts and relatives, Stephen and Sandra spent a weekend together at a Retrouvaille retreat and continued a program for three months.

In this program, couples spend time together and learn basic but necessary skills, like communication. 

STEPHEN & SANDRA CONWAY
Coordinators of Retrouvaille Africa
"I came to realize that he was not the only one causing all the troubles in the marriage. But Retrouvaille gave us our life back, gave us our family back, gave me my husband back. And now I have such a patience to save every marriage I possibly can.”

The key to Retrouvaille, which started in Canada in 1977, is teaching couples how to communicate directly. An estimated 10,000 couples attend the program internationally every year, with 90 percent of them turning away from divorce


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