The Engaged Encounter Weekend is an international, highly effective marriage preparation program. Engaged Encounter is offered by several faiths, including Catholic, Assemblies of God, Episcopal, United Methodist, and Lutheran. Although faith oriented, the weekends are open to all, including couples planning an interdenominational marriage.
When Does the Weekend Start?
The weekend usually begins on Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. Some locales may start the weekend earlier.
Men and women are housed in separate facilities. Depending on the retreat center, three meals are provided on Saturday and two meals on Sunday. Dress is casual throughout the weekend.
What Happens on an Engaged Encounter Weekend?
The Engaged Encounter Weekend is actually a series of presentations given by two married couples and a member of the clergy or a clergy couple. Through personal sharings, the members of an engaged encounter presenting team talk about what the Sacrament of Matrimony means to them personally and the impact that a great marriage can have upon the world. The presenting team does not tell couples how to live their lives. The presenters' stories are meant to encourage couples to explore more deeply their own expectations and feelings about married life.
Is the Engaged Encounter Weekend a Group Experience or a Private One?
Although the Engaged Encounter Weekend is presented to usually 20 to 40 couples in a group setting, the experience for the engaged couples is very private.
An Engaged Encounter weekend is not a social event. There may be some group activities and meal times to share with the other couples, but generally, the participants are asked to focus on their loved one throughout the weekend.
What Topics are Covered?
Some topics covered during the weekend include:
- Encounter with Me: Self-awareness
- Encounter with We: Stages of romance, disillusionment & joy
- Openness in Communication
- Unity: Called to be One
- Decision Making in Marriage
- Morality in a Christian Marriage
- Sexuality and Intimacy
- Becoming a Family
- Wedding: The Beginning of our Sacrament
- Two-by-Two: Marriage as a Vocation
- Forgiveness in Marriage
The presentations, which are usually around 20 minutes in length, are followed by a period of time where the engaged couples write on specific topics separately and then come together as a couple to share their reflections with their future spouse. Trust, honesty, and openness are encouraged.