My fiancée and I just came from the Discovery Weekend and we're still high with the experience. :)
The Discovery Weekend is a weekend retreat for engaged couples and couples who want to become more serious in their relationship. The retreat is organized by the Ateneo-affiliated Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), in partnership with the Discovery Weekend Foundation. The retreats started over 30 years ago and, by my estimate, around 9,000 couples have undergone this retreat together. Retreats are held monthly and is based in the Oblate Missionary Center (OMI Retreat Center) in Quezon City.
Like what our chaplain said, the retreat is a time of discernment-- meaning the retreat could show you that your significant other could be the "next big thing" in your life, or someone you are better off without (ouch!). Yes, we heard stories of couples breaking up after the Discovery Weekend experience, I've also heard stories where the weekend became the magic bullet that cured the ills of a dysfunctional relationship.
If there's anything scary about the Discovery Weekend, its the prospects of reliving old problems & sins and facing problems you as a couple may encounter in the future. If you ask me, I think folks in a relationship who aren't open to each other may be in for a rude awakening.
As far as our experience is concerned, it was hugely positive. The accommodation and food were modest, but adequate. The venue was arranged to facilitate couples spending time together, like chairs placed in pairs all over the retreat center. Over-all, the retreat center was peaceful and conducive for shared reflection.
The activities in the retreat are meant to cover the little nooks and crannies in a couple's relationship that the couple may have otherwise been sweeping under the rug. Thanks to a very solid dialogue and communication framework, the relationship may be put through the wringer, but couple will be able to sort it out and end up closer in the process. :)
We followed the guidelines as much as we can, like making the weekend about your partner and not letting ourselves be distracted with other things like time and practically everything else outside the confines of the retreat center. To be honest, I don't want to go into the specifics of the activities, because I don't want to spoil it for future particiapants. But there are other blog posts about the Discovery Weekend from couples who attended it in the past:
BTW, the retreat is also a good way to meet nice folks and talk to couples who may be undergoing the same experiences as you and your significant other. We met a lot of friendly couples and the organizers make sure you get in touch with your new-found friends with a nice little batch directory.
One more thing: attendance to the Discovery Weekend can be used as a compliance to the required pre-marital seminar in certain Catholic parishes. Isn't that great? Check with your parish of the Discovery Weekend is an accredited pre-marital seminar.
The Discovery Weekend experience was huge one for my fiancée and I-- it strengthened our resolve to move forward in our relationship and I feel it made me a better communicator of my feelings. Here's my advice to the guys who are apprehensive about these mushy retreats: From one guy to another, I highly recommend the Discovery Weekend to you. It will help you express yourself better than just the cop-out line "Fine. I'm sorry, let's just stop this already." :P
Here are some pics of the Discovery Weekend we took:
Here's a pic of me and Liza:
Here's one with another couple we made friends with, Ian Ardiente and Michelle Robles:
Tags: Discovery Weekend