Marriage Encounter Online - Marriage Mansion

Breezeway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage Encounter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Calvo Tells Us That When We As A Couple Allow Our Love To Spiral Out To Others, We Find The Nourishment For Our Love To Grow And Take On New Zest And Vitality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage Encounter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lose Yourself In Something Greater Than Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aspire
Achieve
Advance

Marriage Commitment

Marriage Encounter Online - Marriage MansionJANE

Hi!  Remember us?  We're Jane and Jack, your Host Couple.  To the right is a picture of us with Fr. Gabriel Calvo, Marriage Encounter's founder.  Now, come follow us– we’re going to give our presentation in the breezeway where we can sit in the big old rocking chairs. The Old Timers knew how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, didn’t they? If you think there is symbolism in our coming out here, you’re right. The breeze feels so cool and smells so sweet. The view from atop this hill is spectacular; seems almost endless. Our vision easily looks beyond ourselves, to the rest of the world. It’s such a liberating feeling and that’s what we hope for you, too.

JACK

This presentation, Marriage Commitment, is the logical conclusion to our journey. We will now pull all the steps together and point us in the right direction, so we can see what God’s plan is for us and our marriage. When we as a couple reach out to help others, we find the nourishment for our love to grow and take on new zest and vitality. If we allow our love to include only each other, and operate as a circle, it eventually smothers itself. The cure for the mundane, boring marriage is to allow our love to spiral out to wherever God calls us.

The questions we want to ask ourselves is: What is God’s plan for us in our marriage? How can we live our lives according to His plan?”

JANE

We truly believe that being a team couple for Marriage Encounter was part of God’s plan for us. We’d like to tell you why.

Before our Marriage Encounter I didn’t wanted to speak before a group. This fear came from a lack of self-confidence. Because of our M.E. experience, Jack helped me to gain self-confidence. He showed more interest in my activities. He respected my opinions and my feelings. He encouraged me when I was trying to do something new, and he never put me down if I failed.

Although this development of my self-confidence was an individual thing, it was an essential element in our living God’s plan as a couple. I needed to develop talents God had given me.

JACK

Changes didn’t just happen in Jane. I had been a selfish person. Marriage Encounter opened the door to opportunities for me to reach out to help others.

We were first asked to be a team couple in early 1976. After much dialogue and prayer, we agreed. I knew Jane could do a good job if I helped to build up her self-confidence. It would be a great way for us to help others.

So we agreed. We were asked to prepare 5 presentation talks. Boy, was that a lot. Our five children ranged from 7 -15. We were in business for ourselves. The ’73-’75 recession was ending and for us, that meant our business was beginning to pick up. Talk about busy! But with God’s help we were ready for the Marriage Encounter.

JANE

Friends of ours made the encounter, and on the Sat. night they had to leave when they got word that their son lost control of the car he was driving, and hit a tree, killing his passenger (the son of other good friends). It was so hard to go on, but we were encouraged that the Lead Couple kept the flow of the weekend going. We just concentrated on our talks, losing the valuable experience of how everything fit together.

JACK

Only a few weeks passed before we were asked – not just to serve on the team for another M.E. -- but to be the Lead Couple. No – No - No, we don’t know how to lead the program. The only couple helping us was a rookie couple, their first experience. We were told we would get written instructions. However, if we didn’t lead the weekend, it would have to be cancelled, and the newly formed M.E. group would probably dissolve.

We agreed. It turned out the written instruction were all on one legal sized piece of paper with penciled in notes and arrows pointing to newer notes. Wow!

Jane lost her voice the day the encounter started; The cause – extreme nervousness.

JANE

On the weekend the participants were so quiet, we had the strange feeling that nothing was happening. But, by the Closing we could tell that much had happened. God was with us. It was a very good encounter. Several of the couples became involved and M.E. in Greater Cinti. was able to continue.

A few days after the encounter, the rookie couple called and said they wanted to meet with us.

JACK

Turns out they were really mad and complained that we made them and ourselves look stupid before the group. They often did not know what was going on, and we had not picked music in advance. We told them we were sorry. We felt very inadequate and nervous, but we did our best. They said we wouldn’t have been nervous if we had been better prepared. We were devastated. I felt betrayed by a trusted friend.

JANE

Later, at home, we just sat together holding each other. We were too stunned to cry. I told Jack I felt like I had been run over by a truck. I never wanted to be a team couple again. We prayed together. Suddenly, Jack said, “Jane we didn’t do that Marriage Encounter to look good; we did it for God. We may have looked like fools, but I’m willing to be a Fool for Christ.

Fortunately, we never again had such a negative experience in all our years of volunteering for M.E. It’s a great group to be involved with. Several months after that weekend, we lead another M.E. Since then we have led—

JACK

WAIT – we’re getting ahead of our story. A lot was happening in our lives at this time, our business was draining us of our time and money. With much determination, in the summer of ‘78 we attended the National M.E. conference at Marquette University. I attended a workshop which introduced me to a form of prayer called “Dialogue with the Lord” and uses the M.E. dialogue process.

I wrote my personal reflection to the Lord in response to the question given. Then I read the scripture passage, and listened for the Lord’s response to me. There I was sitting on the floor of this packed class room, when I experienced the Lord talking to me. He said, “Trust me, trust me. I took care of you before, didn’t I? Trust me. Don’t ever neglect the children.”

JANE

When I saw Jack he was visibly shaken and had tears in his eyes. He eagerly shared with me what had happened. We later modified the process so we could do it as a couple. Such was the case on Sun. Dec. 16, 1979, the 3rd Sun. of Advent. The question we answered was “How concerned am I about the material things in my life?”

JACK

In my letter to God I said, “I’m tired of worrying about money, the business, making payroll, house payments. I feel helpless, like I’m being swept along out of control. I want to think that material things aren’t all that important, but I guess the facts speak otherwise. Lord, I sure need your help. Love, Jack”

JANE

In my letter to God I said in part, “I’d like to think I’m not too concerned about material things but I’m afraid you may see it differently.”

We then read scripture for God’s answer to the same question. In Matthew Chapter 6, we read “Which of you by worrying can add a moment to his life-span? As for clothes, why be concerned? Learn a lesson from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work; they do not spin. Yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was arrayed like one of these. If God can clothe in such splendor the grass of the field, will he not provide much more for you, O weak in faith! Stop worrying, then. You’re heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek first his way of holiness, and all these things will be given you besides.”

JACK

We both sat quietly thinking about His words, reflecting and listening. If we thought God spoke to us we wrote it down. Then, for the second time in my life, I heard the voice inside of me, “Trust me. Trust me. Don’t worry about these things. I have more important work for you to do. Spend yourself for me. I will care for you beyond your wildest dreams. Trust me.”

Tears were in my eyes, and as I turned to Jane. She also seemed moved by a deeply spiritual experience. In amazement I read the message she heard, “Don’t worry yourself about money. I have more important things for you to do. Spend yourself for me.”

JANE

When we realized what was happening we were speechless. We had essentially received the same message from the Lord. We hugged in silence. We both had an overwhelming sense of being called by God to do His work as a couple. Neither of us had ever before heard the phrase: “Spend yourself for me.” And yet we had both written it. What was His “more important work”? How would we know?

JACK

We were excited about the future, always on the alert for that “more important thing” God had in mind for us to do. We were relieved to think that our financial problems would soon be over. But they weren’t. Things go worse. I was essentially unemployed. I had NO income. Yet, I was busy trying to keep the business going. Finally, reluctantly, Jane went out to work. It was hard to leave the children while the youngest was still in grade school.

In retrospect, several years later, we could see how this was part of God’s plan because it led to Jane writing a book entitled “Respecting Life – An Activity Guide”. The book would never have been written if things had not been bad enough to force her to go out to work.

 

JANE

Then, in early 1981, while we were president couple for our local M.E. group, we received a request from the chaplain asking for help for his married couples who were inmates at a co-ed prison in Kentucky. We initially were frightened to think that this might be the more important work God had in mind for us.

Seven months later, after many major obstacles and three chaplain changes, we arrived at Lexington FCI with Joe & Sally Wasser, & Fr. Mark Schmieder to conducted the first M.E. in prison in the country. By the end, we had no doubt but that this was God’s more important work.

JACK

It had been years since we had a vacation, and the children were getting older. Since we didn’t have money for lodging, I came up with a bright idea. We cut the body off our van and built it into a camper. It became a wonderful family project for most of the summer. We only got to use it for a few days before school started. But I sold it for a profit.

In the conversion process I turned to several people for advice. One man offered me a job in sales. Many times as I traveled, I talked to God, reminding him of his message.

JANE

I continued to work. The children took turns preparing supper each night. Jack and I were very united in purpose. We somehow knew that God was in charge. Slowly things began to change. Jack started to get sales which brought commission checks. We learned first hand what it was like to be separated, and work to keep our marriage strong.

For 6 years Jack traveled and became top salesman for the company. I was able to quit working as his income rose dramatically. By 1986 our financial troubles were behind us. God took care of us “beyond our wildest dreams.”

JACK

Only God could have planned something so perfect. In my evenings I made long distant phone calls to arrange Marriage Encounter programs in prisons. My sales territory covered five states, and since my pay was commission only, we had the freedom to go together and take time to give Marriage Encounters in prisons along the way.

We formed National Marriage Encounter Prison Ministry and have guided the organization since, coordinating over 220 programs in 18 states, and have lead about 175 of them.

We also developed a website which averages about a half million hits a year. We praise God!

JANE

It wasn’t easy juggling family, Jack’s work and prison ministry. We had challenges, failures, frustrations, a FBI drug bust in Littleton CO federal prison, a fire alarm in ND State Penitentiary, a major earth quake in CA, a blizzard in CO, and 3 days of rain in HI. But God gave us another trip to HI, this time with glorious weather. Through these prison trips we have met many wonderful team couples, host couples, chaplains, and inmates and their spouses.

JACK

We have truly been blessed by God. We can honestly say it’s a wonderful feeling to arrive at this point in our lives and know we have run a good race. We are approaching the finish line knowing that we have tried to live out God’s plan for our lives.

Our goal is to live up to God’s vision of our married life together. To me this means that I have to be the person God made me to be and to call Jane forth to be all that God made her to be, to let her develop her talents and reach her highest potential in God’s eyes. And of course, I need to do the same. I have a strong bond of unity with Jane because the Lord is present in our unity.

JANE

When we make a commitment to each other, we are making a commitment to God.

We believe that because of the graces of our Sacrament of Marriage, God will honor our commitment and fill us with His love. Through prayer we open our minds and hearts so that our love can spiral out to wherever God sends us.

We sincerely hope you will do the same. May we all continue to use God’s blessings for His honor and glory.

JACK

We now have two handouts to help you plan how your relationship in the future can be significantly different than the past – not only for yourselves, but also for those you encounter in your world. The handouts are “My Individual Plan for the Future” and “Our Couple Plan for the Future”.

Allow 10 minute PR, and during that time fill out “My Individual Plan for the Future”. Then join together for 20 minutes of CD. Exchange, read and dialogue on your individual plans. With that as your base, then together fill out “Our Couple Plan for the Future”. This is your road map as you journey into a brighter future.

My Individual Plan for the Future
Our Couple Plan for the Future

 

JANE

Well, that’s it. We really have enjoyed having you. Now, we’re going back to where you began your Marriage Encounter Online – The Grand Wedding Foyer. Brad and Carly have a special treat in store for you.

Back to Top

Marriage Encounter Online | Contact Us