Frequently Asked Questions about Our Program

What is the Retrouvaille Program?
The Retrouvaille (Ret-ro-vi) Program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of six post-weekend sessions over six weeks. It provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again. The main emphasis of the program is on communication in marriage between husband and wife. It will give you the opportunity to rediscover each other and examine your lives together in a new and positive way.

Is the Retrouvaille Program expensive?  
No. You will be asked to make an anonymous, tax-deductible donation to help us to continue to offer these weekends. This suggested donation of $550 covers both the expenses of the weekend and all the follow- up sessions. 

A registration fee is requested when you register for the program to confirm your meals and accommodations. The registration fee is $250 per couple and is non-refundable. If you need to cancel your weekend, you can apply the fee to a future weekend.

No couple is ever denied the chance to heal and renew their marriage because they lack money. This concern should not influence your decision to come to Retrouvaille. If you are concerned about any costs, talk with our registration couple via this e-mail or call 703-351-7211. No couple is ever turned away due to lack of funds.

Do we have to be Catholic?  

No. Retrouvaille accepts and appreciates all denominations.  We want to help keep your marriage and family together.  We are a program of the Office for Family Life in the Diocese of Arlington, VA.

Are the post-sessions required?
Yes. The weekend is only the first part of the program, not a miracle cure. Attendance at the post sessions is required after you and your spouse participate in a weekend. These post sessions are meant to continue to strengthen your marriage and enhance the skills you learned on the weekend. We strongly recommend you to plan to attend as many post sessions as possible after your weekend. It is very important for you and your spouse to attend together and be around other couples who are working hard on their marriage commitment. We cover two topics during each weekly session for six weeks. You can make up any sessions you miss during future programs.

Do you offer child-care services during the Retrouvaille weekend or post sessions?  
We are not equipped to offer child care services.  We ask you make child-care arrangements and not bring children or babies to the weekend or post sessions. It is important for you to focus on each other during the weekend and post sessions. In fact, the church where we hold our post sessions forbids us from having children on the premises during sessions.

Will I ever be required to discuss my marriage or personal problems in front of other people?  

Absolutely not!  The focus is to get you and your spouse communicating again.  

When and where are weekends held? 

We hold weekends three times per year at a local hotel in Herndon, VA. These are followed by six weeks of post sessions on Saturday evenings at a church in Annandale, VA. 

Do we have to stay at the hotel for the weekend? Can we commute?

All attending and presenting team couples stay at the hotel. You will need to use your room for private communication with your spouse in between presentations. Also, you will be up early in the morning until late in the evening. You will appreciate having your bed close. Lastly, staying at a hotel will limit the distractions of the outside world so you can focus on each other and your marriage for the weekend. 

How can we register for the program?
To begin to register on-line, visit this web page to search for programs in Virginia, selecting the one most convenient for you.

How long is the weekend?

The first session starts at 7:45 pm on Friday evening and ends at 5 pm on Sunday evening. We encourage you to check-in starting at 6:30 pm on Friday at the Retrouvaille table, not the hotel front desk. If you need to check-in earlier, please ask when you complete your registration. At the end of the weekend, we have a late check-out scheduled for Sunday at 5pm.

What will we do on the weekend? 
The Retrouvaille program is designed to help you heal and renew your marriage. On the weekend you and your spouse will listen to presentations given by our volunteer team, three couples who have been through the program and a Catholic priest. The team will guide you through the content of the weekend. We don't publish a schedule or syllabus so that you can be fully absorbed in the material as it happens. We will keep track of the time and the schedule. 

In addition to listening to presentations, you will also spend time in your room communicating, in a new way, with your spouse. You will not be required to share with the group.

This will be a busy working weekend. There will be a few short breaks in addition meal breaks. We will make sure have time to sleep each night. However, we will be asking you to "unplug" from outside distractions so you can focus on each other and your marriage for 48 hours. Please plan to keep your cell phones in your rooms and limit outside calls and texts. This will be a rare chance to focus on the very important relationship with your spouse. 

In between presentations and in the evening, the team will be available to answer questions about the content they are covering. We ask you to approach the team as a couple if you have questions outside of the presentation. No one on the team is a professional counselor. Therefore, we are not able to provide individual or couples counseling. 

What should I wear to the weekend and post sessions?
Please dress comfortably.  We have lots of folks show up in T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops.  We want you to feel comfortable so you can focus on saving your marriage.  Just keep in mind the rooms may get a little chilly, so you may want to bring a sweater, pullover, or light jacket.

What should we bring to the weekend and post sessions?

Please bring snacks to share with other couples. Usually, 20 to 30 couples attend each weekend. We ask you to bring a snack to feed 8 to 12 people. The snacks are used throughout the weekend by all who attend. Popular snacks include: fruit, snack bars, cookies, brownies, pretzels, chips. Please don't bring items that require refrigeration. 

Coffee and tea will be provided by the hotel and refreshed after each meal. If you want to bring other beverages, you have can put them in the refrigerator in your room. Feel free to bring a water bottle. 

You will also be asked to bring a snack to share at the weekly post sessions.

What are the sleeping arrangements for the weekend?

The Retrouvaille Program makes room reservations and pays the hotel costs for all the couples attending the program. You will be assigned a two-room suite that includes a living room, bathroom and bedroom. You can chose a king bed or two full size beds. The hotel will do it's best to accommodate your request. There is also a pull-out couch in the living room. If you feel you need two separate rooms, please let the registration couple know when you register. You will be charged an additional fee for the second room. The hotel is often full. Therefore, please make arrangements for an extra room early.

Where can I park at the hotel?

There is free lot parking at the hotel during the weekend. 

What meals are provided?

Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings will be a buffet and typically consist of scrambled eggs, shredded potatoes, sausage, toast/bagels, cold cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea.

Lunch on Saturday and Sunday will be a buffet and typically consist of lettuce salad, sandwiches (ham, turkey, and tuna), fresh fruit, chips and dessert (cake). Iced tea and water will be available.

Dinner on Saturday evening will be a buffet and typically consist of lettuce salad, chicken Marsala, rice, vegetables, and dessert (cake or pie). Iced tea and water will be available.

I have a special diet and/or food allergies. What will be provided?

We are unable to accommodate special meal requests, beyond a vegetarian option, on the weekends. We have a tight contract with the hotel that limits our food choices.

If you desire a vegetarian option, please indicate you are vegetarian during the following question when you register: "Do you have any dietary restrictions?". Or, mention your need during your phone call with our registration couple. The hotel provides a veggie/hummus wrap for lunch on Saturday and Sunday and a vegetable primavera option for dinner on Saturday.

If you have a need for any other special diet, please bring food with you. You will have a microwave and refrigerator in your room and can bring your own food to all meals.

I want to attend the Retrouvaille Weekend, but my spouse doesn't.  What should I do?  
You should do your best to convince your spouse the value in attending.  If able, print out some information from this website, or get them to read it online.  You may also want to contact our registration couple here.

Sometimes it's helpful to watch a video that can help you and your spouse talk more about the program. You can view some videos here.

I still can’t convince my spouse to attend the Retrouvaille Weekend.  May I attend alone?  

We’re sorry, but the answer is “no.”  You will receive little value in attending alone.  And remember: It takes two people to save a marriage!  We offer this program three times each year. Perhaps, with time, your spouse's heart with soften to this opportunity.

My English is not very good.  Will that be a problem during the Retrouvaille Weekend?   

If you can read an English newspaper or watch a news show on TV, and understand most of it, you should be OK.   Don’t worry about your speaking ability; if your spouse can understand what you are saying, you will be fine.  

Will there be any religious services available during the Retrouvaille Weekend?  

Yes, there will be a short Catholic Mass available on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon during the weekend.  Attendance is voluntary, of course.  

How do we give our donation during the weekend?
You will be asked for your donation on the Sunday of the weekend. This one donation covers both the expenses of the weekend and all the follow- up sessions. Our expenses are typically $800 per couple, including the $250 deposit you pay to register. We appreciate whatever you can give to help us continue this important ministry that has renewed so many marriages. We receive no other funding for this program and volunteer our time to provide for it.

You can make your donation by personal check, cash or credit card. If you would like us to cash checks for varying amounts just after the weekend and in the future, you can post-date checks. You might consider asking family members who are invested in seeing your marriage succeed contribute toward your donation. We ask you to consider your donation as a priceless investment in your marriage. 

For tax purposes, we will provide you a letter verifying your donation early in the new calendar year.

Why should we choose the Retrouvaille program?  
Because it works, and is run by volunteers who have achieved success.  A happy marriage will help make you happy.  And it’s much cheaper than court costs, divorce lawyers, alimony, child support, and marriage counselors.    

Are there any guarantees Retrouvaille will save our marriage?  

No, there are no guarantees.  But we ask that you show up with the mindset that you want to work on your relationship.  And you’ll need to put forth the effort.  A research report done by the University of Chicago showed an 86% success rate after five years, as compared to a 20% success rate for couples who used a therapist.

And, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Retrouvaille International, 76 percent of couples who attended a weekend are still married to the same spouse at the five year anniversary of their attending a Retrouvaille weekend. More data can be found here

We've only been married a year. Or, we've been married 35 years. Is Retrouvaille for us? Is it too early or too late for us to benefit from this program?
We have couples come to our program who have been married a year or less as well as couples who have been married for over 40 years. It is never too early or too late to reap the benefits of this program.


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