Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Elizabeth Ann Wells

5/5/2008 (6 years ago)

The Catholic Voice (

RALSTON, Neb. (The Catholic Voice) - Todd and Deb Banchor say they are nothing special, but their marriage is.

KEEPING IT TOGETHER - Todd and Deb Banchor enjoy conversation at a local Scooters coffee shop. The Banchors, married 25 years, say peer marriage ministries, such as Worldwide Marriage Encounter, have helped them stay connected to each other and have renewed their commitment to marriage. (Elizabeth Ann Wells)

KEEPING IT TOGETHER - Todd and Deb Banchor enjoy conversation at a local Scooters coffee shop. The Banchors, married 25 years, say peer marriage ministries, such as Worldwide Marriage Encounter, have helped them stay connected to each other and have renewed their commitment to marriage. (Elizabeth Ann Wells)


By Elizabeth Ann Wells

The Catholic Voice (

5/5/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Don’t misunderstand. The Banchors, members of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, are not saying their own marriage is perfect. They have had ups and downs like almost every other couple. But, as far as they are concerned, the sacrament of marriage is perfect because God is part of that union.

They say they are enjoying the benefits of a healthy marriage and have worked to help others reap the blessings of a strong marriage with God at the center. One of their best tools is peer marriage ministry.

Married in 1983, they participated in two Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends in 1985 and 1989 in the Archdiocese of Denver. They said it renewed their marriage and solidified their desire to shine the light on the sanctity of marriage. Honoring that sanctity comes from a firm commitment to stay focused on each other.

“There is a saying that love is a decision,” Todd said, adding that they were challenged at their encounters to renew their decision every day.

“When you have been given something really great, you want to share that with other people,” said Deb. It led them to help first in Engaged Encounter and then Worldwide Marriage Encounter in Denver, Lincoln and now Omaha. Over the past 20-plus years, they have served in many roles in both movements. Each encounter has left the Banchors further committed.

Todd appreciates how Engaged Encounter reassures couples that their journey together can be wonderful with faith in God and their love for each other. He likens it to the mountain climber standing at the foot of a majestic mountain.

“Looking up, you know it’s going to be a beautiful journey, but you’re not sure what the paths and pitfalls are along the way,” he said.

As presenters at Marriage Encounter weekends, he said they regularly saw miraculous changes in people’s lives. Couples learn a communication technique called “dialoging.” It’s intended for daily use and helps couples to keep focusing on what is important - each other.

“We could see tensions between couples dissolve by the end. It’s for all ages. Every relationship can use a tune up or retreat,” he says. “When we would see other couples get re-energized, we wanted that for ourselves.”

Renew Church through renewal of marriage

Making their marriage the best it can be is the greatest thing the Banchors say they can do for their family. They also have made many friendships with people of like minds and similar values along the way. The constant reminder through their marriage encounter experiences reinforces their commitment to good marriages.

“Like all couples, our marriage has had its ups and downs,” Deb said. “It’s a human journey, but through it all you still know that this is the person that God gave me, and through the ups and downs, this person goes with me.”

This knowledge creates peace and offers comfort, the Banchors said. Home is the primary haven and within that home is the spouse. That promise of stability and support invigorates their own relationship and keeps them connected to their work in Worldwide Marriage Encounter because it’s the mission of the movement in action.

“That mission is to renew the church through the renewal of the sacrament of marriage. By renewing the church you’re changing the world. You must consider the ripple effect of loving relationships at home,” Todd said.

“That really does change the world.”


This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Voice (, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.


More Marriage & Family

Remember the Alamo - Texas' abortion law now challenged in court Watch

Image of Abortion rights activists protest on August 4, 2014, outside a U.S. federal court in Austin, Texas, where a hearing started for a case by the Center for Reproductive Rights against a new set of restrictions on abortion clinics in the state that go into effect in September

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Abortion rights groups challenged Texas' sweeping anti-abortion law in federal court on Monday, as a federal judge in Alabama ruled that the state's similar restrictions on abortion were unconstitutional. NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In its second challenge ... continue reading

Indian toddler with severe water on the brain survives surgery Watch

Image of Surgeons carried out a series of operations to reduce the size of Roona's head. Sent home after surgery, her parents were warned she had little chance of survival.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With a freakish head 37 inches in circumference, a three-year-old Indian girl has underwent surgery to reduce her deformity. Arduous hours of surgery later, she's smiling for the first time with a more normal-sized head. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

European Court of Human Rights: Europe CAN NOT be forced to recognize same-sex 'marriages'

Image of Marriage IS between a Man and a Woman ONLY.

By Adelaide Mena

Is the disordered homosexual lifestyle destroying our great American culture? Strasbourg, France, (CNA/EWTN News) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the refusal to recognize same-sex "marriages" does not violate the European Convention on Human ... continue reading

Are You a Ready or an Unready Catholic?

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

There are many Catholics who are "unready" Catholics, that is, operating under ill advice or bad counsel.  They have adopted the counsel of sophists, satanists, or doubt-sowers, and have departed as a result from the teachings of the Church.  Their ... continue reading

Andrew M. Greenwell on Same-Sex 'Marriage': Framing the Issue Right Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

The first step for a Catholic to recognize his obligation to oppose same-sex "marriage," if he does not see it or comprehend it, is to rid himself of the flawed moral heuristic (a moral rule of thumb or short cut) some ideologue has chosen and which may be blinding him ... continue reading

Pacing a New Online Relationship

Image of Pacing an online relationship is different for each couple.

By Catholic Match

Every couple that meets on CatholicMatch moves at their own pace. For some, it's important to move from online connection to a face-to-face date as soon as realistically possible. For others, it's important to let things grow gradually. Matt and Katie fell into the ... continue reading

The example of the Holy Family: Do you follow it?

Image of The Holy Family is the ultimate example for us to follow in our daily lives. We need a daily reminder of this.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is no community as sacred as the family. When we reflect on the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, we see modeled for us how to be as a member of our own family. Whether we're a father, a mother, or a child, the Holy Family shows us how to be. It is ... continue reading

Michael Proposed With A Video

Image of Michael and Laura.

By Catholic Match

Laura was tired of the dating scene or at the very least the relationship scene. By the time the 24-year-old from Maryland got to CatholicMatch, all she wanted was to go on some dates with nice guys, but to keep it casual, just have dinner, and maybe hear that she was ... continue reading

Children: The Crowning Glory of Marriage Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The American cultural lens of late has warped the way in which children are viewed to the point that they are seen not as gifts but as burdens. Many people no longer recognize children for who they are: precious jewels of indescribable beauty and worth whose growth, ... continue reading

How One Couple Met, Fell in Love, and Met the Pope

Image of Deanna and Michael with Pope Francis.

By Catholic Match

Deanna, 24, and Michael, 28, had never dated before they meet each other on CatholicMatch. Michael had been discerning the priesthood for four years, and it seems God had placed a bubble around lovely Deann a saving her just for Michael. They were married on October 5, ... continue reading

All Marriage & Family News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 36:23-28
23 I am going to display the holiness of my great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 21st, 2014 Image

St. Pius X
August 21: On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter