The Celebrate Marriage mission is to give couples opportunities for Christ-centered marriage enrichment through large group, small group, and individual couple events.
My husband, Tom, and I attended a Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) weekend in 2010. You don’t wake up one day and say “Hey, honey, let’s go on a marriage retreat! I think we need to work on our marriage.” Instead, you live your life day by day and wake up one day to hear about a good friend getting a divorce. We both had friends who had decided to end their marriages within the same year. We were not given warning nor did our friends reach out to us for support or help. We are not taught that it’s okay to admit weakness in our marriages, certainly not in our culture. We are not taught to seek help or admit that our marriage is not going the way we dreamed – you know, when Cinderella and Prince charming ride off into their “happily ever after.”
It was not just our friends who were getting divorced. More and more people around us were ending their marriages. That was when I started to do some research on marriage retreats. I ran across WWME and told Tom about it. I did not think there was anything wrong with our marriage. I also did not want to be surprised one day and think our marriage was over or doomed to failure. If we have friends who could divorce without warning, would that happen to us? Instead of waiting to find out, we decided to attend the next weekend retreat.
The weekend transformed our marriage. I had no idea what to expect, but I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable to Tom. I learned to accept Tom for who he is. He accepted me for who I am. No matter what Tom and I had gone through: the things we held inside and did not share before that weekend, the bottled emotions, the disappointments, the expectations… We began to see things in a different light. Tom chose to love me despite my imperfections. I chose to love Tom despite his. The decision to love each other as Christ loves the church has brought us to where we are today.
Once Tom and I experienced the difference between having a “filet mignon” marriage instead of settling for a “hamburger” marriage – we wanted others to experience the same. We felt God calling us to bring a marriage ministry to our parish. We wanted to give couples the opportunity to maintain a Christ-centered marriage with ongoing events.
We want to continue to have a proactive marriage ministry, not only reacting when a couple is in a crisis.
Celebrate Marriage began with us putting Christ at the center of our marriage. God has called us to marriage, to be a light for Christ in the world through marriage.