couple

Couple Resources

Marriage Enrichment Groups

 

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive special invitations to participate in Virtual MEGs (see explanation below).

 

To listen to a replay of past Virtual Marriage Enrichment Groups (audio and slides), click here.

 

Introduction

When we first meet our partner and fall in love, we think we have everything in
common– no two people could be more alike and more suited to each other!
Over time, we may discover that we’re not nearly as alike as we thought. Opposites
may attract, but the longer we’re together, the more those differences can become
irritants. We may find that we don’t get along as well or understand each other as
much as we once did.
 

At Better Marriages, we find that couples who are part of a Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)
thrive. They experience a safe environment in which to explore and grow their relationship –
with each other and with other couples committed to growing their own relationships.
 

Couples that “dialogue” experience more fulfilling and enjoyable relationships, better understand
each other, and develop a way to communicate effectively even when dealing with difficult issues.
Dialogue skills are learned in the context of a MEG, but a couple can use those skills any time, any
place to more effectively discuss any topic.
 

What is a Marriage Enrichment Group?

A Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) is an ongoing small group that provides a safe place for couples
to explore their relationship among supportive peers. All couples are there for the same purpose – to
strengthen and grow their relationship.

Marriage Enrichment Groups (MEGs) are as unique as the couples involved, but all of them are designed
for couples, led by couples, and provide opportunities for couple dialogue and ongoing relational growth.

Many MEGs meet once a month in a face-to-face setting with up to eight couples.


What is Couple Dialogue?

Couple dialogue is intentional conversation between partners. Each partner takes turns expressing his or her
thoughts, feelings and wants. Each partner strives to truly hear and understand the other.

A couple faces each other, makes eye contact, and makes physical contact, such as holding hands. This is an
opportunity for couples to give each other the gift of undivided attention, free of distractions.

In the context of the Virtual Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG), couples use “private” couple dialogue. The lines
are muted and they simply talk privately with their partner. Often, in face-to-face MEGs, couples are invited to talk
with each other in front of the group. This is called “open” couple dialogue. The couples in the group provide a quiet,
reassuring presence as the dialoguing couple shares in one-on-one conversation with each other while the other
couples quietly listen. Open couple dialogue encourages couples to use their best talking and listening skills. During
their dialogue, other couples in the group ponder their own relationship. Over time, the couples in the MEG develop a
strong bond, having intimately shared their relationship within the group.


What is a Virtual MEG?

You might not have a MEG near you. Or perhaps your schedule won’t allow you to
commit to a monthly meeting. A Virtual MEG is for you!

A Virtual MEG meets once a month and can accommodate a limitless number of
couples from any place in the world. Couples can join by telephone or webcast. Though
the MEG will be held monthly, a couple may choose to attend or not, as desired.
Each month there will be new couples attending as well as those who have attended
previously. Feel free to “come and go” during the year as you want and are able. No
long-term commitment is expected or required.

The MEG is facilitated by a Leader Couple who has been trained by Better
Marriages in group process, working with couples. This couple will share their
relationship openly with the group while participating in their own relational growth.

The meeting will last for one hour. During the MEG, all participants’ phone lines will be
muted.

The Leader Couple will introduce a topic (a different topic each month). They will share
their perspective on the topic and then have an open couple dialogue about how their
relationship is impacted by the topic. They will share how they deal with the topic and
steps they might take to grow their relationship in the specific area addressed by the
topic.

Participants will be provided with a conversation starter - a set of topic-focused
questions - to facilitate their own dialogue. They will be given an opportunity to dialogue
privately for 15 minutes, using the conversation starter. All participants’ phone lines
will remain muted. At the end of 15 minutes, all participants’ lines will be unmuted for
15 minutes, allowing the opportunity for individuals and couples to share any insights
or comments related to the topic with others in the group. Sharing is always voluntary.
Couples can choose whether or not to share with the group and will never be put on the
spot.

A Virtual MEG is scheduled for the 1st Tuesday of each month at 8 pm Eastern.


Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive special invitations to participate in Virtual MEGs.


May I invite other couples to attend the Virtual MEG?

By all means! Please feel free to share invitations and information with your family,
friends and colleagues. Post on Twitter and Facebook. The Virtual MEG is a gift to
share!


Meeting Ground Rules/Guidelines

Whether a virtual MEG or a face-to-face MEG, these rules apply:

  1. Focus on your relationship.
    Topics such as in-laws, children and work are discussed only as they relate to
    your relationship. Otherwise, they simply become distractions and prevent you
    from focusing on your relationship. Share experiences, not opinions.
     
  2. Speak for self.
    You are encouraged to develop the use of “I statements”, stating your own
    thoughts, feelings, wants, and actions. An I statement follows this format:
    I feel _________________ (express your feeling)
    when you _____________ (describe the action that affects you or relates to the
    feeling)
    because _______________ (explain how the action affects you or relates to the
    feeling)
     
  3. Share only as you are comfortable.
    With your partner, you will decide the extent to which you will verbally share with
    the group during the final 15 minutes of the MEG. There is no pressure to share,
    and no one will be put on the spot – ever.
     
  4. Share only as you are comfortable.
    The MEG promotes growth of the individual and the relationship. You are
    encouraged to examine the difficult areas of your relationship, but also to be
    aware of your relational strengths. “Problems” are simply challenges to be
    solved. Sharing with your spouse statements such as “I appreciate...”, “I want to
    thank you for... “, “I accept you...” provide reassurance and encouragement to
    your mate.
     
  5. Commit to confidentiality.
    What is shared in the group stays in the group. This assurance creates a safe,
    trustworthy environment where couples can be open and honest about their
    relationship.
     
  6. Concerns come first.
    A concern is something that affects an individual’s full participation within the
    group. A concern might be a worry or preoccupation or a digression from the
    ground rules. Whenever a group member becomes aware of a concern, he or
    she should voice it. In a face-to-face MEG, the group will stop and allow the
    person to share his or her concern. In a Virtual MEG, the individual can share
    their concern online, directly with the moderator.
     
  7. Cause no confrontation.
    Maintain a supportive, non-judgmental attitude. Do not give advice and do not
    confront or question another couple’s sharing.


Couple Buzz

“The number 1 most important thing we do for our marriage is to attend a Marriage
Enrichment Group!”                                                                                  Gene and Ginger

“Couples in our Marriage Enrichment Group have gotten us through all kinds of things in
and beyond our relationship. There is power in getting together with other marriage-
minded couples.”                                                                                   Charlie and Debbie

“Our Marriage Enrichment Group has kept us talking and sharing. We’ve learned how to
express feelings and how to be nicer to each other. We’ve learned that we’re not mind
readers, not to assume, and to give each other the benefit of the doubt. We wouldn’t be
together today without the communication skills and dialogue we’ve learned through
Better Marriages.”                                                                                              Jim and Lana


What is the difference between marriage enrichment and marriage counseling?

Marriage enrichment, generally, is most effective for couples who are not in crisis,
couples who have basically healthy relationships but want to continue to learn, grow,
and develop relationship skills. Marriage counseling, generally, is for couples who are in
crisis or who have deeper, more significant chronic issues that they struggle to handle
themselves. These couples need a qualified counselor/therapist to help them deal with
these issues. Marriage enrichment is often helpful for these couples in connection with
counseling, but not as a stand-alone replacement for therapy.

The MEG is a place for marriage enrichment, not therapy.

Who is Better Marriages?

We are a group of couples with our own struggles, committed to helping couples build
better marriages that will stand the test of time.

As couples, we all want the same thing, whether our relationship has just begun or
we've been married for years: We want a healthy, mutually-satisfying relationship with
the one we love.

Unfortunately, many couples never get the results they desperately want. Divorce rates
continue to soar. The marriage highway is littered with casualties. Children pay the
greatest price.

We believe the pain of that reality can be avoided and replaced with the joy of a strong,
healthy marriage.

We don’t claim to have all the answers. But, after 39 years of helping couples build
better marriages, our track record speaks for itself. We have helped thousands build
enduring, healthy marriages.

Better Marriages exists to serve you as a couple, whatever the stage of your life and
relationship.

A non-sectarian nonprofit, Better Marriages provides:

  • articles, tips and resources to strengthen the connection between you and your
    spouse
  • regional, national and international events to stimulate your ongoing relational
    growth
  • marriage enrichment groups where couples gather for mutual support and
    encouragement
  • training for couples who want to have a positive impact on the lives of other
    couples through mentoring and leading retreats, classes and workshops.
     

How can we connect with Better Marriages?

www.BetterMarriages.org
www.Facebook.com/BetterMarriages
www.Twitter.com/BetterMarriages
www.YouTube.com/BetterMarriages

Subscribe to our free newsletter!

 

How can we become a member of Better Marriages?

Visit http://www.mcssl.com/store/bettermarriages/couple-membership

Benefits of membership include:

  • Access to our new members-only website (www.bettermarriages.org/couples)

  • A free consultation with professional members - counselors, relationship coaches,
    marriage educators (more being added every day)

  • Download free e-resources to support your relationship

  • Participate in members-only webinars and teleseminars featuring hot topics for
    real couples

  • Access to virtual Marriage Enrichment Groups (MEGs) - missed your group meeting?
    Don't have a MEG near you? Join us by phone or webcast!

  • Monthly MP3 on leading edge relationship topics from top experts

  • One Gift Membership per year to give to the couple of your choice

  • Members-only newsletters, articles, tips and inspiration - news you can use delivered
    straight to your inbox

  • Online member Forum to ask questions, connect, get and give support with other Better
    Marriages member couples

  • Members-only access to video programs, audio programs, relationship tips and exercises

  • And more!