Family Matters feature from print.

There are many wonderful enrichment opportunities offered for Catholic married couples in our area, but I cannot convince my husband to go with me to any of them. He says he isn’t interested in that kind of “touchy-feely stuff.” How can I persuade him?

There are many good Catholic men who faithfully attend Mass, take care of their families, work hard and are all-around swell guys, but they draw the line when it comes to things with names like “marriage enrichment.”

Here are some strategies that we recommend:

1. Start small. Don’t ask your husband to give up his weekend right away for an overnight retreat. Just ask him to attend a talk or short program on a weeknight to begin with. If he likes that, he may be open to a retreat later.

2. Coordinate with his friend. Chances are, there is another couple that you are friends with who would be interested in attending a marriage program. Tell that couple about the program, then ask the husband to ask your husband to come along. He’ll likely feel much more comfortable going if he knows friends will be there and not just strangers.

3. The way to a man’s heart … Find a program that has fun as a component. He may not want to attend a “seminar,” but he may be willing to attend a more social event with good food and entertainment … and a spiritual talk, as well.

4. Coordinate with his friend, Part II. If a couples’ program scares him, maybe he would be more open to an event for men only. Find a talk for husbands, and ask a good friend of his to ask him to come along.

5. Make a “no sharing” guarantee. Verify that the event won’t require your husband to spill his guts; if he knows he doesn’t have to say a word to anyone, he may relent. Save the more intense programs for later.

6. Ask him to do it just because it is important to you. In reality, this should really be enough of a reason. While it would be ideal if he wanted to go, the fact is that he should be willing to go simply because it is important to you, his beloved.

If all else fails, make a deal with him. If he agrees to come with you, agree to go somewhere with him that you normally wouldn’t: maybe a ball game or a movie that he is excited about. Hopefully, though, you’ll have him by No. 6!

The McDonalds are family-life coordinators for the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.