Frequently Asked Questions
Q: “Who does Better Marriages Serve?”
A: Better Marriages is for all couples who desire to grow and enrich their relationship.
We provide resources for pre-married couples, long-time married couples, and all couples in between.
Q: “What exactly is meant by marriage enrichment?”
A: It means making marriages better, happier and more satisfying. It means building on the strengths in the relationship and drawing out hidden, undeveloped potential.
Q: “My marriage is fine. I don’t want to rock the boat!”
A: Wherever your marriage is, it can be better. A positive growth focus means that if your relationship is struggling, it can be better. If your relationship is fantastic, it can be better. Better is a relative term – we can all have better marriages.
Q: “Is a lecture format used for Better Marriages programs and events?”
A: Not at all. All of our programs and events are very hands-on. Each couple is an active participant, with many opportunities for couples to turn knee-to-knee and share with each other. Couples use their own relationship experience for learning. The focus of any enrichment event is each couple’s own marriage. When information from outside sources is used in an event, couples are helped to take that information and apply it to their own experience.
Q: “Does Better Marriages use a particular curriculum?”
A: We draw on the best of all curricula in the field of marriage education and marriage enrichment. We train Leader Couples in the process leading a group so that they are empowered to lead any curriculum and lead it more effectively in the context of a group of couples.
Q: “What makes the group process effective?”
A: Couples can help couples. Within a small group, couples can find an environment of safety, trust, and community. Small group process is used as a powerful tool to help couples gain a sense of “we are not in this boat alone”; to gain encouragement and motivation from other couples; to learn alternatives for handling issues common to most couples; and to gain hope or inspiration from hearing other couples talk about things that are meaningful in their marriage. Within the group, there is no confrontation, analyzing, or prescribing; each person speaks for self, sharing his own experience and gives others support and encouragement.
Q: “What is couple dialogue?”
A: Couples talking to each other about their relationship is central to Better Marriages’ approach to marriage enrichment. Dialogue between couples may occur privately or publicly. In “open” couple dialogue within a small group, couples, one at a time, talk together aloud in the presence of the group. Other couples may respond by their own open dialogue on the same or similar issue and by statements of identification and encouragement. The experience of each couple contributes to the enrichment of other couples.
Q: “Who leads marriage enrichment events and programs?”
A: Leader couples, married to each other, who are willing to share from their own marriage experience provide models, establish the climate of safety, openness, support, and sharing within the group. Leader couples make themselves vulnerable and demonstrate openness within the group. They “work for better marriages, beginning with their own.” Leaders come as full participants in the experience of growing their relationship, rather than as experts with all the answers.
Q: “I’m afraid all of our weaknesses will be exposed and we’ll feel worse about our relationship.”
A: Enrichment is focused on positive growth. It is based on the assumption that each couple has strengths on which to build. Identifying these strengths and building on them is an essential element for an enrichment activity. Growth plans and agreements for specific action by each partner help couples make step-by-step progress toward the goals they set for their marriage.
Q: “Is Better Marriages a church-based organization?”
A: Better Marriages is not a faith-based organization. Better Marriages is not affiliated with or restricted to any particular religious group or denomination. We believe that all couples face similar issues; this is the common thread on which we build. We don’t allow religious boundaries to inhibit our ability to provide programs and resources for all couples to develop strong, healthy, satisfying relationships.
Q: “I go to church and want a program that is Biblical.”
A: Better Marriages is a non-profit, non-political, non-religiously affiliated organization. Many programs and events are sponsored by churches of different denominations and different faiths. These programs and events, of course, reflect the beliefs of the sponsoring organizations.
Q: “What is a Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)?”
A: Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) is a group of 4-8 couples who get together on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, to focus time and attention on their relationships. The focus of the group is on each couple’s own marriage experiences, not children, in-laws, books, work, or abstract ideas.
Q: “What’s a Virtual Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)?”
A: A Virtual MEG takes place on the phone and/or webcast. An unlimited number of couples can participate. A Virtual MEG is facilitated by a certified Leader Couple and follows the same groundrules as a live MEG.
Q: “What’s the difference in marriage enrichment and counseling?”
A: 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. Counseling, generally, is for couples who are in crisis or with deeper, more significant chronic issues that they are unable 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.