The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 29, 2000 Issue
Special Section:
Respect Life Month


Helping, respect and love walk hand in hand

Marriage Encounter helps couples grow


'Renewing for the 21st Century:
Loving the Feminine and Masculine'

By Sarah Malcore
Compass Correspondent

How well do you know and respect your spouse?

Most people would reply, "I know everything about this person, their thoughts, feelings, ideas ... ," and so on. It is easy for one to think he or she knows everything about his or her spouse. It is easy for a person to take his or her spouse for granted, and fail to respect and love them they way they should.

Respect and love walk hand in hand. Without one, the other cannot exist. Respect Life Month is a great opportunity for married couples to truly evaluate their relationship. One tool available to married couples is the Marriage Encounter program.

Marriage Encounter is not for couples in crisis; it is a program to make a good marriage better says Tom Rinkoski, family life director at the Green Bay Diocese works as a liaison with the Marriage Encounter program.

"Marriage Encounter provides couples with a weekend immersion experience that offers them quality time together, and opportunity to learn an effective communication strategy and an entry into the lively community of marriage encounter alumni," says Rinkoski.

Terry and Dave Wojcik of Green Bay enjoyed their experience with Marriage Encounter.

"Marriage Encounter changed our life in all areas," says Terry. "Not only has our marriage grown stronger, but our parenting and faith has become enhanced as well. We are growing as a couple in the right direction, and we would recommend Marriage Encounter to anyone."

Fr. Bob Rhyner of Green Bay is a member of the Executive Clergy for National Marriage Encounter. He says Marriage Encounter lets "couples to grow in their love of one another and God. The couples that stay involved are such positive people, continuing to work hard at their marriages, supporting one another. I personally receive great energy from being associated with them."

And the effect spreads to others. "The nice thing about Marriage Encounter," Fr. Rhyner adds, "is that is does not have to be just for married couples, but also for clergy and religious to grow in his or her own relationship with God and the people."

Part of Marriage Encounter is focusing on the male and female viewpoints of marriage, the priest added. Couples are encouraged to look at themselves, and who they are as individuals. The differences of the sexes and the need to recognize and respond to those differences is brought out. It stresses the equality of husband and wife. Marriage Encounter helps the couples to recognize their partner's needs, to realize that each is an individual and the needs of men and women are different.

Terry Wojcik has also noticed that couple communication increases. "Marriage Encounter can help men to share more emotions, open up more in the relationship," she says. "Both partners eyes are opened up to what is important in life."

October is Respect Life month, and the message Respect Life month carries a message similar to that of Marriage Encounter. Rinkoski drew a parallel, "one of the purposes of marriage is creation. In that, Respect Life is about celebrating procreation. The link in important."

He also sees ties to the current diocesan theme, "Summoned to Serve."

"Service, like all other things begins at home," Rinkoski says. "If you can not be in service to the one you care most deeply about, all other service is empty. Service to your marriage partner can be small or ultimate. It is the best training ground for service (to God)."

Upcoming Encounters

Dates of upcoming Marriage Encounter Weekends for the Lakeshore Area are Oct. 13-15, March 23-25, 2001, May 25-27, 2001, and Oct. 19-21, 2001.

Marriage Encounter Weekends for the Green Bay area are October 14-15, Nov. 17-19, 2000, Jan. 20-21, 2001, Feb. 9-11, 2001, March 10-11, 2001, March 31-April 1, 2001, April 20-22, 2001, and May 5-6, 2001.

For more information, or to request registration materials, call Mike and Chris Sherry at 920-733-1571.

Related articles:
 • 'Every human life is a sign of God's love, a trace of his glory'
 • St. Vincent de Paul: The quiet ministry
 • Human and earth health linked
 • Changing the face of one Green Bay neighborhood
 • 'Because someone has to say it'
 • In search of a good death


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