Spouses need to unmask and be open, honest with each other - Catholic Courier
Two children and two adults, all in Halloween costumes, stand together.

Jordan, Ed, Leonor and Sean Rivera. (Photo by the Rivera family)

Spouses need to unmask and be open, honest with each other

Our family enjoyed Halloween. Dressing up in fun costumes, trick or treating, and pretending to be dinosaurs, skeletons, and more.

We looked forward to special spooky evenings with our neighbors sitting around a fire pit with bowls of candy beneath our lawn chairs giving out treats.

Even though wearing costumes and pretending was fun on Halloween, Ed and I learned on our Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend that pretending and not telling the one you love the truth about your thoughts and feelings could cause problems.

Sometimes, in our marriage, I pretended that everything was OK when it wasn’t. I kept things bottled up inside me. Small things, like being annoyed that Ed’s socks were on the floor. Bigger things, like not saying I was upset when he worked late. And even bigger things, like when I didn’t say how worried I was about paying for a large purchase, such as a car.

Jordan and Sean Rivera (Photo by Ed Rivera)

I was afraid that if I complained, Ed would not love me anymore. I hoped that if I didn’t say anything, the problems would go away, but they didn’t. They built up in a pressure cooker and arguments exploded.

On our WWME weekend, we were taught how to bring up and talk about not only uncomfortable but also joyful things that happen in our marriage. We learned how to take off costumes and be real and honest with each other.

I’m embarrassed to say that even though we learned what to do, we didn’t always do it, but when we did share our unmasked selves, we grew closer and more in love.

Now that Ed is with God and in God, there are no more disguises or pretending. God and Ed see me as I really am and love me with a never-ending love.

—-

Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.

The next Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend will take place Nov. 11-13, 2022. The 2023 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are April 14-16, 2023; Sept. 15-17, 2023; and Nov. 10-12, 2023. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.

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