Luisa and Camilo Villamizar have been married for almost a decade, and have two sons. In light of Marriage Sunday on February 13, the couple reflects on their involvement in Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) – an enrichment program for married couples – the blessing of children and tips for managing the ups and downs of pandemic life.
Why did you decide to join WWME and become a witness to the vocation of marriage through your talks?
When I (Luisa) was little, I remember my sisters and I used to attend my parents’ WWME community meetings. I particularly remember the joy they radiated after attending a retreat. With time, I had the opportunity to witness the growth of their relationship as they worked on WWME talks together and recruited other couples to do the marriage encounter. I was inspired to see how many people were grateful that my parents invited them to experience the retreat. So, in a way, I was curious to learn what WWME was about and to obtain the tips and knowledge from other members who had been married for many years. I was intrigued to learn from their experience, wisdom and gain the tools, so I could also have a strong and loving marriage.
WWME has been a blessing to us, our marriage and our family. Throughout our journey, we have learned a lot about each other through other couples’ shared experiences. We have also learned though working on our own WWME talks, which have encouraged us to discuss sensitive topics, helped us set and agree on common goals and share our personal expectations for our marriage.
How did the gift of children affect the bond you share?
Our first son was born three years after we got married. It was a major change for us, as we were used to having our full attention on each other, not to mention our active social life, restful weekends and being able to attend all WWME community meetings. We had the help of both our families for the first few months after our son was born. But after that, we were on our own for most of the time. During the first year, our conversations were mostly about our son, how tired and sleep deprived we were and how we wished we could go on a trip to rest and share time together.
Our energy levels and free time were affected drastically and we grew apart, as our lives were heavily centred on our son and careers. During this time, WWME meetings helped us take some time from our daily routines to nourish our relationship.
What advice do you have for young couples navigating the ups and downs of marriage during a global pandemic?
For details on Marriage Sunday, including the Celebration of Marriage Mass, please visit: www.archtoronto.org/marriage.