It is difficult to translate the Slovenian name of this group of couples Najina pot. But as soon as you get to know the people who participate, you understand that they have a source of life. The group was formed thanks to the intuition and experience of the Jesuit Fr. Vital Vider. The latter, ordained in 1958, worked in various pastoral commitments with seminarians, in grassroots missions, and in parishes. Then from 1968 onwards, he dedicated himself to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and thought of using this privileged tool to help couples prepare for marriage.
In 1972, a first group began to meet monthly advised by Fr. Vider. In addition, a real “School for Marriage” was set up in 1975. Little by little, the spirit spread because the couples who were preparing for marriage saw the interest in maintaining the momentum of their love. There are now 61 groups of between 6 and 10 couples each for a total of 440 couples. Their 1,470 children also benefit from their parents’ quality of married life; they are sometimes invited to meetings or retreats.
We met a couple who has experienced “the path to both of us” for some 20 years. Alenka Kepic and Sebastian Mohar testify to the quality of their married life; let them do the talking.
Alenka: In fact, we are from the same village. I studied comparative literature and now I work in the main Slovenian publishing house.
Sebastian: We used to play volleyball together as kids. I studied mechanical engineering and now I work for a French company here in Slovenia.
In our group, our focus is not only to protect the relationships but also to develop it so that we become better and better as time goes by. We consciously work toward that goal. We achieve that by trying to discover who we really are from within. The idea is to become one in marriage life, not two individual trying to find each one’s own way.
A: The initiator, Father Vider, wasn’t the kind of person who would tell you to pray all the time, but he told us to find God in our daily lives, to love each other and to invite God in our relationship. What he said was always very profound because he took the time to go deep within himself.
As we started to help Fr Vital in this project, we had to accompany young couples, and you could see how happy they were to realize that good marriage is possible.
S: We started to be part of the group very early in our relationship and we can say that for many people we speak to, they see us as a lucky couple. And of course, we tell our friends and colleagues what we do. They know where we stand, In fact, I see us as missionaries of good relationships in this world.
A: During our monthly meeting, we deal with a variety of topics that gave us the opportunity to speak about our relationship as a couple. The focus here is really the relationship, but you know that once you can establish a good relationship between husband and wife, the children will benefit from it. In some circumstances, they are offered some activities appropriate for them while their parents are discussing. It is also good for the children to witness how couples come together; they can feel the good vibes in the environment.
S: Again, all we we do and talk about is helping us to discover how to be one and how to find God in our everyday life: this is essential in our group. The Spiritual Exercises that we do every year are at the core of our group dynamic. It is part of the Jesuit spirituality.
A: There’s also intellectual depth in our movement. It is not superficial and we are invited to go deep in ourselves to discover who we are. For me, it is clearly a Jesuit process.