In Loppiano, the 7th summer course aimed at strengthening relationships of married couples
Lack of communication and the incapacity to comprehend the other, see the positive side of the other person’s diversity, and establish the right distance with the families of origin, are often the causes of the crises, in an individualistic society that does not believe in marriage and the commitment for a long-lasting relationship.
The 7th edition of the course in Loppiano this year (20-27 June) was organized by the New Families and aimed to strengthen the unity of couples. The course allowed participants to demonstrate willingness to put themselves to the test, together with a deep sharing with the course guides and other families, and avail of the advice of experts that could help dead-end relationships to start anew. With these factors, also the greatest difficulties could be overcome, as was demonstrated by the moving testimonial of unconditional forgiveness by a couple that was reunited after nine years of separation.
However, the path towards “encounter” is complex. «Upon their arrival, the tense features and sad expressions of the couples conveyed their deep suffering, more than words,» recount Marina and Gianni Vegliach, course guides of the New Families. «Some spoke about the need to find a meaning, some spoke about an estranged partner, some doubted having a future together, while others referred to the impossibility of dialogue and some confided of “not being able to forgive themselves.».
«As we went deeper into the course programme entitled A course of light for the couple – continued Vegliach – the Focolare’s spirituality of unity, together with the psychological path, sharing of experiences, practical exercises, personal talks, and moments of recreation, helped to transform hearts and souls. And this showed through the changed expressions of their faces and eyes, which became more serene.»
«When we arrived we were empty, obsessed with the word “end” and now are going home with the words “start again,” a couple said. Among the course-guide families were two couples who had done the course in the past, and decided to put themselves at the service with commitment, seriousness and competence, and who managed to enter the tunnel with those who were in the dark, and encourage and support the couples with their own experiences.
The sharing of experiences with other couples helps one to view his own personal situation from various standpoints, find the courage needed to rebuild a quality relationship, and escape from that solitude which makes the crisis seem irreversible.
The daily appointment at the “Theotokos” shrine and the special atmosphere of Loppiano, the international town of the Focolare in Incisa Valdarno (Florence) – where the inhabitants learn spontaneously to put themselves in others’ shoes and live in fraternity – contributed positively to the success of the course, and opened new possibilities to “look to the future together, share the ups and downs, rediscover dialogue and hope, and start caring for one another.”
As someone said: «Now we have the means to leave the closed shell of our own selves and hope to continue using these tools at the right moment.»
To consolidate these results, a week-end verification and assessment event has been organised for the winter. Furthermore, a meeting has been set in Castelgandolfo from 24 to 27 September 2015, which will be open to not more than 60 course guides and experts to discuss the possibility of holding additional “enlightening” courses also locally.