The ninth Energize Couples Retreat took place on June 28-July 1, on the 36th Anniversary of the 2075 Blessed Couples Blessing, at the Snow Mountain Ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The program was co-hosted by the Blessed Marriage Project and the Blessing & Family Ministry, with tremendous support from Pastors Mike and Adonia Hentrich and the Colorado Family Church.
The staff of the retreat included the BMP Co-directors and FFWPU-USA Director of Education, Mari and Richard Curry, BFM Director, Crescentia and Leighton DeGoede, a second-generation couple, Christof and Lena Yasutake, Marriage and Family Therapist, John Williams, and BFM staff, Jessica Sattinger.
The retreat welcomed 30 participants hailing mostly from Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. Couples participated from all stages of marriage. Some of the couples were celebrating their 36th Blessing anniversary that weekend, while other couples were newly Blessed in the last few years, and three of the couples had babies on the way!
One participant couple expressed that, “This kind of retreat is always intimidating at first. However, the presentations and the presenters’ attitude made it easy to be open and to learn. Being together as first and second generation couples added greatly to the experience.”
Each morning began with marriage-themed Hoon Dok Hae and exercise at 6:00 am. Participants enjoyed reading and discussing True Parents words on Blessed Marriage and cultivating true love in the husband-wife relationship. This was followed by fun, informative and interactive presentations on Marriage Over a Lifetime, Keys to a Healthy Marriage, Talking Safely, Dealing with Differences, and Sex, Health, and Happiness. Presentations were given by John Williams, Crescentia DeGoede, and Lena and Christoph Yasutake. All presentations included True Parents’ words and exercises that gave spouses a chance to discuss what they were learning with each other, and to practice using the new skills and techniques.
Reflecting on the retreat, one long-time married couple shared, ”Thank you so much for this weekend. I just wanted you to know that while two older people cannot change everything overnight, my wife and I are broaching topics and talking about things we were afraid to talk about before, and also looking for new and creative ways to manage our relationship.”
In addition to the presentations, there were several breakout sessions couples could choose from on: Talking about difficult topics, Love Currency, Improving your marriage by yourself, Rules and Roles, Romance, and the Art of Kissing. One husband participant expressed that, “I really enjoyed the breakout sessions, the men’s discussion group, and the listening and power dialogue activity. It was a nice place to spend time with my wife.”
On Saturday afternoon the couples had several hours to relax and enjoy each other’s company while taking advantage of the breath-taking views and on-site activities, such as swimming, hiking, bicycling, and mini-golf. In the evening couples got dressed up for a date night and enjoyed fine dining and entertainment of their choice. Couples were also able to connect with other couples over meals throughout the retreat.
On Sunday, the morning service was given by John Williams who spoke about the importance of giving and receiving unconditional love and addressing ways we feel hurt or let down by our spouse with compassion and forgiveness. Sunday service concluded with the couples expressing forgiveness to one another and committing to see each other from God’s perspective and live for the sake of each other. A number of the couples were in tears with a renewed sense of commitment.
One young couple shared that, “This has been a really great retreat and many unexpected things happened, from drawing pictures to topics of conversation that evoked tears and acknowledgment. John’s talk the last day was amazing and the exercise we did of forgiving each other was really powerful. I’m really grateful for the heart the staff carried to make this a total offering to the Blessed couples.”
This retreat provided an opportunity for vulnerability and for our couples to share their deep concerns with one another and help one another. It broke the barriers of feeling alone and allowed for Heavenly Parent’s love to flow in so that we could truly see one another as one family under God, where we are all in it together.
Founder and Director of the Blessed Teens Academy, Jerry Tamayo, lovingly expressed to the retreat staff that, “From the moment I arrived I felt embraced, acknowledged and thus valued. That in itself has been an incredible impact on my heart and soul. I just want to thank each one of you for your personal investment in this program you have created. Each activity, each talk showed your sensitivity and dedication to allow our couples to experience to the depth each chose to go to. I had fun, I was relaxed, I could be with my husband and not our necessities of daily life. I also could meet friends and young people I knew and cared for and see and recognize how each of us had grown and developed and I could make new relationships in a space of vulnerability. I’m in love with all of you! Thank you from my heart.”
The Retreat staff would like to thank all those who made this retreat possible and encourage participants to keep investing in their marriages and discover new joys every day. We look forward to meeting and loving up more couples at the next retreat, hopefully in the Fall! If you are interested in bringing the next retreat to your community, email BFM Community Liason Jessica Sattinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to check the BFM website for updates on the next retreat.