It's a common complaint among many married couples. A few years after the I-do's wedded bliss turns to boredom and couples drift apart. In Part Five of our series on divorce, News 12's Virginia Huie talks with a couple who re-ignited the passion and commitment of their relationship through a marriage enrichment project called Marriage Encounter.
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A five part series produced by News12 aired March 4-8, 2001.
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For Better For Worse Part 5
After twelve years of marriage, Bob and Josette Singer still act like a pair of newlyweds. They love being together and sharing life's daily chores. Bob says "I take care of the garlic. She does the onions." But the Singers weren't always the portrait of happiness.

Five years into their marriage the glow of their wedding vows faded. Josettes says "I definitely wore rose-colored glasses going into marriage.

Bob says "reality smacked us in the face. All of the sudden a couple of years later, you have kids, you have a mortgage, running kids all over the place, the job, things are tough." Bob says "Josette and I were coming from two different places. I wasn't prepared to listen to her. "

But three years ago the Singers faced their problems by getting involved with the Marriage Encounter experience and attending monthly group gatherings. It's a time for couples to revitalize their relationship time to focus on each other.

Josette says " We learned a lot of tools on our marriage encounter that helped us make our marriage better." Communication tools like speaking with an open mind and listening with the heart.

Father Peter from Marriage Encounter says " The main focus is your relationship is the number one priority. Once you have that focus, everything else will come in it's place."

Josette says "They will just teach you how to get back to where you were when you met get back to what it was like when we were dating."

Rich and Madeline Louis got involved with Marriage Encounter 8 years ago. They say they've learned to pull together, instead of pulling apart.

Rich says the difference now is how we fight for us. We don't fight against each other. We fight for each other.

A common thread running through each couple's marriage encounter experience is the realization that loving someone is a consciously developed skill that requires a great deal of continual hard effort. That effort is expressed not only in spoken words but also in written words.

Members say Marriage Encounter can potentially cut Long Island's 51 percent divorce rate. Bob says "couples that have made a marriage encounter weekend, the divorce rate is under 2 percent."

The Singers realize their marriage will not always be wine and roses but they believe Marriage Encounter taught them how to work through the tough times. Now, there are more for better than for worse days. Bob says "We got our marriage back. We found each other again." Virginia Huie, News 12 Long Island.

For more information, call Marriage Encounter at 1-866-4-WWMELI. (New number is 1-866-NYS-WWME)

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