Marriage is the heart of the family. All areas of married life – rearing children, caring for elderly relatives etc – are based on a harmonious relationship between husband and wife. Therefore, it is essential for spouses to review the state of their marriage once in a while, as well as to renew their relationship regularly through honest, deep sharing.
The Original Marriage Encounter provides a unique opportunity for couples to renew their marriage through honest, open communication. Participants are invited to listen to talks by team couples, who share how they have faced different situations in their married life. Presentations are followed by periods of quiet reflection and couple sharing about handout questions. The two-day program also includes Holy Mass and prayers led by a Catholic priest. Started and conducted within the Catholic Church, the program is open to everyone who wants to sincerely encounter self, others and God.
Marriage Encounter, created by Fr. Gabriel Calvo, has spread in numerous variations in many countries of the world. The most widely known version is Worldwide Marriage Encounter, associated with the name of Chuck Gallagher SJ.
In some countries, however, the Original Marriage Encounter is also available. In El Salvador, Hungary, Japan, Slovakia, Venezuela, etc. many years’ experience has shown that the Original Marriage Encounter and the FIRES programs by Fr. Gabriel Calvo are extremely effective in strengthening marriages and evangelizing among Christians and non-Christians as well.
from couples who attended the Original Marriage Encounter:
„Breaking free from the monotony of everyday life, the Original Marriage Encounter was a tremendous experience of looking at each other in new wonder… The dim feelings indicating that in some ways our marriage had not been working exactly as it should, mostly passed away. Whatever was left, we were able to express and share it with one another. We saw in wonder, just as if we had never been able to experience it before, how obviously the Lord Jesus is with us in our marriage. We were deeply touched by the freshness of the Holy Spirit shaking up our marriage as you give your pillow a good shake-up in the morning.”
„The first OME stirred us up totally. I did feel it at that time, but now as I look back I know exactly what a great danger our marriage was in. But the Encounter was the turning point. Afterwards, though slowly, everything began to settle within me and between the two of us. The second OME, then the Self Encounter we made were already absolutely positive experiences for both of us. We were able to look one another in the eye, to share and to handle our conflicts (which have become less and less frequent since). We have come closer to each other, to our daughter, to God. We have become better parents. I hope this will remain and, with the help of the Lord, we may develop even further.”
„Since the last Original Marriage Encounter the quality of my/our relationship with God has changed radically. It is now easier to trust Him and accept His love. Since the OME, is has become our inner need that we pray as a couple in the evenings, that we read the Scripture together, that we pray the Daily Couple Prayer every morning. The first Encounter we made stirred us up, but the flare resulted in just a short „renewal”. The second experience was more quiet and deep. But real spiritual healing touched us during the third Encounter we made.”
See also: Testimonies on Graces from FIRES