Retrouvaille: A program for troubled marriages

Retrouvaille is a French word that means “rediscovery.” It is also the name of a Christian-based program, Catholic in origin, that helps married couples who are facing difficult challenges in their relationship. Though it is based on the Catholic faith, it is open to people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

The three-phase program offers couples the chance to rediscover themselves, their spouse, and a loving marital relationship. Couples who have faced similar challenges and have found healing and hope through Retrouvaille share their stories and insights with honesty and compassion, creating a safe and supportive environment for the participants. It is not marriage counseling, therapy, or a seminar, but rather a practical program that teaches couples how to communicate better, resolve conflicts, and rebuild trust and intimacy.

Retrouvaille begins with a weekend experience, followed by a series of post-weekend sessions, and then ongoing support from a community of couples who have completed the program. 

The weekend experience is an intensive and structured retreat where couples learn from presentations given by three married couples and a priest. The presenting couples share their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to overcome them. The participants are not required to share their problems with anyone else, but rather work privately with their spouse using written and verbal exercises.

JP and Severine Boutrand, local Retrouvaille coordinators in the Diocese of Raleigh, say they attended a Retrouvaille weekend on a recommendation from a priest.

“Retrouvaille is very much about rebuilding intimacy in married couples who suffer,” JP said. “Retrouvaille means coming back to that state that we all remember from the beginning where the relationship was so easy and full of positive emotions.”

He said by the first evening of the weekend they were already sure they were in the right place because they were understanding the depths of the tools and solutions proposed and were already beginning to feel some progress.

Severine said the presenter couples have been in the same situation as those attending the weekend. 

"They share about their own struggles, and they give you hope because you realize ... they have all been in the same situation as you, and they seem to have found a solution or to be in a better shape, and they really seem happy," Severine said.

The post-weekend sessions are held over a period of six to twelve weeks after the weekend. They are designed to help couples apply and practice the skills they learned during the weekend. They also cover topics such as forgiveness, intimacy, spirituality, and commitment. The ongoing support phase is optional but highly recommended for couples who want to continue their growth and healing. It consists of monthly meetings where couples can share their experiences, challenges, and successes with other Retrouvaille couples. It also provides opportunities for socializing, prayer, and enrichment.

Watch the video below to hear the Boutrands share more about the Retrouvaille experience.

Upcoming schedule

The next Retrouvaille weekend in the Diocese of Raleigh is:

For more information, visit, or contact the Boutrands at 567-225-6115 or