As Cameron and I settle into our new life together as husband and wife we feel truly blessed to have found the parish of St. Martha and as a result, the Witness to Love program and Deacon Bill. On top of the warm and welcoming clergy at St. Martha, we feel so fortunate to have connected with our mentor couple, Jim and Agnes Rutushni. Our meeting was serendipitous and we knew right away that Jim and Agnes would be a huge part of our lives moving forward.
As a newly engaged couple it is so easy to get distracted by all of the details of wedding planning – the dress, the cake, the venue, the flowers, etc. – and forget to set aside time to actually prepare yourselves spiritually and emotionally for marriage. Whether you were with your partner for years or months before your engagement, it is always advisable to invest in the future of your relationship and really ask yourselves the tough questions. There is always something new to learn about one another. The Witness to Love program, guided by our mentor couple, allowed Cameron and I to reflect on our relationship, our values, our hopes and dreams for the future, and how to blend our two lives together as one.
The Witness to Love program is time consuming – we spent 8 months going through materials and meeting with our mentor couple – but we do not regret the time we spent completing Witness to Love readings, assignments, or meeting with Jim and Agnes. Anything worthwhile doesn’t come easy or fast and we were happy to invest in our marriage. In fact, our Witness to Love assignments often served as welcome touch points throughout the hustle and bustle of the week. Each chapter prompted discussion about different aspects of our relationship and future married life – communication, familial backgrounds, vulnerability, division of household labor, finances, work-home balance, etc. It was so helpful to have these conversations and be able to work through any challenges we faced with our mentor couple. Our double dates with Jim and Agnes were just time spent with good friends and we have come to trust and value their advice. It really is a valuable tool to have a non-biased, third party couple to talk things through with when the going gets tough.
Outside of our relationship with Jim and Agnes and the tools we gathered through completing the Witness to Love program, Cameron and I also gained an entire network of other couples at St. Martha. Having other couple friends who share similar beliefs and values as we do has made us feel part of the family at St. Martha and we have no doubt that we will continue to foster our relationships with other Witness to Love alumni and participants in the years ahead.
I have no doubt that we will continue to use the lessons we learned in the Witness to Love program throughout our marriage, as well as rely on the friendship and advice of our loving mentor couple. We are so fortunate that St. Martha parish and it’s clergy and volunteers have provided this wonderful experience to us. We are no doubt a stronger couple because of it and hope to someday pass along all that we have learned and will continue to learn to the next generation of soon-to-be married couples.
Cam & Olivia
The Witness to Love Program was an integral part of the preparation leading up to our marriage. We loved working with Jim and Agnes and really enjoyed their life and marriage advice. We really found ourselves getting a lot out of the different videos and readings that were part of each chapter. They raised tough questions that we may not have thought of and really got us to dig deep into ourselves and our relationship. We know that our marriage is going to be so much stronger thanks to this program and the wisdom it imparted on us!
Cody and Hanna Veitkus
“Cynthia and I had a wonderful wedding and thank you so much for your wishes and for your selflessness in helping us and everyone in this program. We are leaving for our honeymoon today and will be returning October 18th so unfortunately we will not be able to make the WTL event October 12th but we wish you and everyone the best of time.
As far as the WTL attachment and comments, we would say that the most helpful item of the program was spending time with our WTL mentor couple. The website, book, and videos all helped us to discuss and learn things we will face in our marriage; however we can say without a doubt that without the help of our mentor couple, we would have difficulty putting these future situations into perspective as we have yet to face many of those challenges yet in our relationship. Hearing advice from people like you and our mentor couple help us remember that times will not always be sunshine and rainbows, but communication and dedication to one another through the tough times will always prevail. Nothing is better than to have living, breathing, successful couples next to you to talk to you in the flesh. So that would be our “2 cents.”
We feel truly blessed to have people like you guys and all the kind parishioners of St. Martha’s in our lives. It has made an impact. So thank you once again and we wish you all nothing but the best and happiness.”
-Jay and Cynthia Comas
“Now that all the wedding planning & celebrations are over and we get to settle in as husband and wife, words cannot express how big of an impact you two, Deacon Bill, the whole Witness to Love program and St. Martha had on our lives!
Our Witness to Love experience made us feel like we belong to something bigger that it can change lives. It sure has enhanced and changed ours! I would love to share our experience and encourage other couples to take a step forward into the light of the Witness to Love Program and have the confidence that it will impact their relationships in positive ways.
It can be eye opening, helpful, fun and you will never know what you will learn about yourself or your partner. It will make you stronger and it will require some critical thinking, vulnerability, FEELING, transparency, faith and provide you with many tools that will serve you well in your marriage to come. You will learn how to communicate more effectively and hopefully you two will utilize all these new habits and skills in your every day life as you grow.
While going through the chapters and meetings with our mentor couple, I was in awe watching my “now” husband’s commitment to THIS, to US, it made me fall in love with him even more and I knew that our relationship and marriage is protected and blessed by God. My husband compromised his hobbies and other responsibilities to put us first by participating fully 100%, as have I. Now isn’t that a beautiful commitment prior to the BIG DAY?!
As someone who has a background in counseling, I am a huge fan of the materials shared and questions asked that are imperative for a successful partnership and marriage. Just have faith and trust the process and your mentor couple.
Besides completing our witness to love program, we have received an even bigger gift: the gift of friendship, family, support, belonging and that’s all thanks to Jim and Agnes Rutushni! Their bright light and positivity have been a blessing to my husband and I. They have become our family and we are also proud to be a part of the St. Martha’s Parish.
A special thanks to Deacon Bill, The Rutushni’s and St Martha!
As Jim would say: God is good, ALL the time!”
Many Blessings to all,
“Things are going really well! Our wedding is less than 5 weeks away! Wedding plans are going pretty well I think, however at times the to do list does seem never ending. We are getting so excited for the big day and to have all our friends and family together to celebrate and share in our wedding ceremony!
Witness to Love is going really well. We have gained a lot from the workbook chapters and the videos and meetings have opened up some great conversations with Patty and Chris. We have built a wonderful relationship with our mentor couple and look forward to having them as resources throughout all the future chapters of our life. Coordinating the schedules of four people working full time, especially with my unconventional hours, has been a challenge so we are cutting it a little closer than I would have liked with the deadline for getting you out WTL paperwork. Definitely rewarding lessons and conversations though.
We actually have our Chapter 6 meeting scheduled with them for tomorrow night. So I will have the completed scavenger hunt papers for you after that. Where do I bring them? Do they go to Sarah with the rest of our documents? I have looked over the website links you sent and they do seem more user friendly than I remember when we started the planning process back in January. The recipe page is great! Hopefully we can take those lessons and one day add our own marriage recipe to the page!
Thank you so much for all your guidance and encouragement throughout this process. Taking on molding this new format of marriage prep was not a simple task to take on and your passion for this program is very apparent! We are sorry we were not able to attend the mass and wine and cheese night you hosted a few months ago, but please keep us in the loop of the date for the next one.”
Jen and Matt
For More information about Witness to love program:
Please contact Witness to Love, St. Martha’s Church Coordinators
Jim and Agnes Rutushni .. JARutushni@stmartha.org
or call them 941-960-5128
Check out the Witness to Love web site: https://witnesstolove.org/