Is your marriage hurting?


By Ann Lewis

The wedding was a big affair in the cathedral just nine years ago.

They had five bridesmaids, five best men and two priests. The reception was for 250 people and the honeymoon was at an exclusive resort in Aruba.

Tonight the screaming voices, harsh words and ugly names reverberate in the silence of their living room. The muffled sobs of the children can be heard coming from the bedroom.

An alarmingly high percentage of marriages end in divorce. The Canadian rate is about 40% which amounts to about 71,000 divorces per year. The province of Alberta runs in excess of 8,000 per year. Between 1961 and 2003, divorce rates increased by 357 percent in Alberta and the  rate peaked in 1986 at 51%, following amendments to the federal Divorce Act. The estimated cost of family breakdown in Alberta went from an estimated $21 million in 1961 to almost $149 million in 2003, an increase of over 600%. Both the estimates are based on 1998$.


Those are the financial costs of divorce but what about the children? The following information is taken from a research paper published by Stats Canada.


·         Odds that children will be at risk of falling into low income after separation and divorce increase by a factor of 11

·         Problems experienced by kids of divorced couples include more alcohol and marijuana use, more problems with peers and  authority figures

·         Children are less likely to marry and more likely to divorce.

·         Anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues are twice the rate of married family children

·         Dropout rate of kids from divorced couples re twice the rate of married family children.

·         Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent. This last statistic comes from a paper written by
Jean Beth Eshtain, “Family Matters: The Plight of America’s Children.”


Divorce, especially for couples with children, is not just a personal tragedy – it is a social crisis. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village,” says Diane Sollee, director of the Coalition For Marriage, Family and Couples Education. Retrouvaille (the French word for rediscovery) is creating villages.


It is a Christian program designed to help couples living in the pain of a marriage gone bad. It was started in Hull, Quebec, in 1977 and is offered in over 30 countries and 7 languages today. It is a peer ministry – married couples reaching out to other couples.


The development of a really good marriage is not a natural process. Marriage is hard work and must be nourished continually. Marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy. It’s your job to make your marriage happy. It is an achievement.  Our ministry is to help couples turn “I Do” into “We Can.” Retrouvaille is a Christ centered peer ministry, a ministry of hope. The team couples, sharing their own lives, give other couples hope.


Retrouvaille teaches couples how to communicate, how to trust, how to forgive, how to resolve conflict, even how to fight – yes, how to fight.

Couples want hope, they want to believe their marriage can survive. We offer them hope because we have been through it and we have survived.

For confidential information about or to register for the next program which begins on the 16th of March, call Elton and Ann Lewis at 587-598-4357 or email or visit the website at .


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