Testimonials | About | Better Marriages | Educating Couples - Building Relationships


“We would absolutely not be together today if it hadn’t been for Better Marriages. They saved our marriage!” ~D&J, OK

“Every day we find new, creative ways to express our love to each other. Thank you, Better Marriages!”~B&J, MO

“Every time we attend a conference, we learn great relationship skills. We grow so much closer and come away more in love with each other.”~J&D, MO

“When we take time out of our busy schedules to focus on our relationship, we never regret it! Better Marriages understands our need to get away, set aside the noise of our daily lives and get back in touch with each other.”~R&K, KS

“Thank you for granting me Emeritus membership. I’m delighted to continue to support marriages and Better Marriages. Years ago Ivan and I went to one of Better Marriages workshops for training leader couples and learned so much. Subsequently we led numerous marriage retreats through our church. Most of all, I appreciated how Better Marriages strengthened our own relationship. Blessings as you continue to serve!”~J&F, IL

“We have been married for 28 years and members of Better Marriages for at least 16 of them. It has kept our marriage intact and thriving. We have learned that life throws things at you that can break any relationship. It helps enormously to have “strength” from the Better Marriages skills to fend off these times. It is also very rewarding to know how to fully appreciate the positive times as well. Being in an ongoing Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) reinforces our commitment to stay together and happy. Attending Better Marriages events and meeting couples dedicated to the same process of skill building and commitment has helped us form wonderful loving friendships with others who want the same things we all do. . . a happy, committed, loving relationship.”~C&D, FL

“When we married, we had a lot in common. We came from Methodist families, were the youngest of three children with older parents, and shared many common experiences, values and interests. However, early in our marriage we made troublesome discoveries. Our families were more different than we realized, and we had opposite personality types. Enjoying strong bonds of love and loyalty, we realized that we wanted the most satisfaction possible from our relationship. Using resources that Better Marriages provided, we began a marital growth journey that has provided lasting benefits. We continue to explore how to use conflict creatively. We try to view conflict as “a friend in disguise” that helps us be aware of the “growing edges” of our relationship”. For almost three decades, Better Marriages has been a nurturing influence in our lives, encouraging us along a path of continual marital growth and happiness.”~G&P, TN

“Participation in a local Marriage Enrichment Group sponsored by the Association of Couples in Marriage Enrichment has prompted us to take the time to think about what is really important in our relationship as a couple. As a result some very significant life changing decisions have been made. Our lives truly have been enriched from our almost twenty years of involvement in Better Marriages. We are most grateful for those who have provided the leadership for this organization to give us these opportunities for working on enriching our marriage.”~H&R, FL

” As with many things in life, it’s easier to do them in the company of like-minded individuals than to do them alone. Participating in our Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) and leading it when it’s our turn challenges us to THINK about where and how we need to work, and to share that with others, as they in turn share their marriages with us. It seems that we are comrades in arms, doing important work for ourselves and our world. A real boost!”~A&N, MD

“We thought we had a good marriage, but every now and then some tension would surface, resulting in angry outbursts (by me) and withdrawing (by him). These episodes blew over in time, but left an underlying uneasiness. When we first participated in a marriage enrichment event, some 30 years ago, the communication exercises and the opportunity to dialogue together brought us to significant “Ah Ha”s about our relationship. We saw how the patterns of blaming and placating, learned in our families of origin, kept us from truly communicating and truly understanding each other. We discovered that we both wanted the same thing — a closer, deeper relationship — and we learned and practiced strategies for achieving that through our continued involvement in Better Marriages. Now we have reached retirement age, and I am so grateful that we are free of the underlying resentments that would surely have festered and spoiled these golden years. We have lots of adjustments to make in this new life stage, but trust that whatever comes, we can work it out.”~C&J, ME

“There is no way to measure how much Better Marriages has meant to our marriage. We were fortunate enough to have been charter members, and to have been in several retreats that the Maces led. Probably the major learning that made a difference with us, was in learning to recognize, own, and share our feelings. For both of us, having been taught to stifle “bad” feelings, this was truly liberating. It was difficult at first, awkward, and often painful, but we kept at it until it came more naturally to be completely honest. I am eternally grateful for the way this made our last months, after Bill’s cancer was discovered, a time when we were able to say the things that we wanted to say to each other, tying us loose end of things we wanted each other to know about how much we had meant to each other, leaving no regrets about things unsaid.”~V&J, NC

“Better Marriages has given us hope to beat the odds. When I saw a flyer for a Couples Communication Class at Kaiser Permanente hospital, we’d been dating for six months. In telling Alan I wanted us to sign up for the class, my reasoning was that both us coming from divorced families and Alan being divorced himself, we had about a 5% chance of making it if we got married. Better Marriages has allowed me to feel empowered to achieve my goal of staying married for life. Besides that it just feels good to have my husband say sweet Thank Yous and acknowledge the work I do in everyday menial tasks. We have reached some personal goals through the problem solving and discussion exercises in our quarterly Better Marriages meetings. We might have reached our goals without Better Marriages but it was faster, easier, and relaxing with Better Marriages. We are in Better Marriages for life and Better Marriages is listed in our living trust.”~C&A, CA

“We were always very committed and we were already married about a decade and a half when we finally were able to get to a marriage enrichment event. Along with a few other couples in New Mexico, we were so impressed with how useful the skills were, we decided to train to be leaders. We have always loved the times we have had with other Better Marriages couples. This is an optimistic and dedicated group of people who believe in the possibilities of marriage, and the joy is infectious. When other men used to tease my husband for going off to “another of those marriage events,” he found he could tweak their curiosity (and envy) by saying, “It’s great for our sex life.””~L&D, NM

“My husband and I have been so fortunate to be involved with Better Marriages for the past 15 years. We have been in several Marriage Enrichment Groups (Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)s) that have all provided wonderful assistance in helping us to keep our marriage balanced. We appreciate the rules of Better Marriages that call for “knee-to-knee” dialogue between couples, either privately or in the group, feedback when requested but no advice-giving, use of the “I message” and confidentiality. In the last four years, we have had serious health issues that have caused tension in our marriage. Each time we face a problem, we step back and agree to use our Better Marriages principles to resolve it, e.g., deal only with the issue at hand rather than bringing in past history, try to listen to each other and feedback what he/she has said, avoid labeling our actions such as “you always….” Perhaps, the most important strategy is to call a timeout when things get intense and agree to talk at a later time when we cool down. What a difference that makes! We are, by no means, perfect at this but we do keep working at these sound principles that make the Better Marriages program so valuable. We are grateful for this wonderful program that has added so much to our relationship”~K&S, NC

“It is a busy 21st century and what we like about Better Marriages is that we intentionally sit down face to face and speak to each other. We have known each other 30 years, but through Better Marriages, we learn more about each other’s needs, expectations, hopes, and dreams. We always have a good laugh. During the optional sharing time, we realize that we are not alone in the marriage journey and that some of the issues and foibles are common to others in the group. It is the similar experiences we share that are often laughable. It is a healthy non-threatening atmosphere. We have been participating in Better Marriages for six years.”~J&C, FL

“I will jot a few lines to express what marriage enrichment and Better Marriages have done for Anna and myself in our marriage journey of nearly 35 years. We learned from our mentors and friends, David and Vera Mace, important interpersonal competence skills especially as it related to conflict management and anger. We have learned from hundreds of other Better Marriages couples that we have met over the years and consider treasured friends the value of married couple friends who are mutually committed to working on their/our marriages together. We learned the power of the marriage enrichment group in nurturing and modeling through the countless couple dialogues we have experienced and witnessed in marriage enrichment groups. And finally we learned to enjoy and appreciate each other in rich and deeper ways through our continued marital journey. This has helped us through the tough times of poor health and crises to look for the small joys as well as the big moments of discovery of how strong we are and how much we love each other in the day to day hugs and cuddles and moments of silently holding each other as we comfort one another during a trying time. It has been moments of caring and embracing that left spaces in our togetherness for each of us to grow as individuals and discover new energies, interests, and directions that ultimately have enriched our partnership by constantly being open to growth and change that not only permits each other to move in new directions, but even revels and supports the courage of our partner to attempt new things and develop new talents that compliments what either of us alone could do on our own. We have learned it is okay to be different and to respectfully appreciate our uniqueness. Anna and I are far more than husband and wife, we are lovers, best friends, creative partners in mutual professional interests, playful companions enjoying walks and talks to see nature and enjoy the moment of a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We can talk about anything together and relish times of sharing with each other the new adventures of our day when we are apart even for a small time. And finally we are soul mates who fit together like a finely crafted glove made for our hand by a loving God who brought us together to share the joys of marriage together.”~C&A, LA

“After thirteen years together, our “perfect” marriage was tested when a new career, new child and new home all came at once. We found ourselves saying and doing things that went against everything we believed in as individuals and as a couple. When professional counseling seemed unavoidable, a local Better Marriages couple showed us that our marriage didn’t need to be repaired, just enriched. A little skill building, a few surprisingly minor changes in our routine and LOTS more communication have shown us that our marriage is good. We want to make it great and Better Marriages and marriage enrichment have given us the tools to continue to work to make it so.”~D&B, LA

“I remember after our first Better Marriages weekend, 1992, when we were about to go shopping at Home Depot. I can’t recall the project, but we had differing view points, unity was lacking, interrupting was rampant. One of us grabbed an object in the car, waved it around and said, “I have the floor”!” Thus we began to put into practice the technique we had learned, talk, listen, re-peat until the other partner is clear. Way opened.”~B&S, CA

“Better Marriages has helped us in many ways. . . mostly, it has taught us to truly listen to each other, thereby exposing the differences between us (men & women), and teaching us not only to understand those differences, but to respect them as well. True listening requires, and teaches, patience and respect.”~J&J, TX

“My husband Tom and I have been married 20 years and involved in Better Marriages for 15 years. We are currently the President couple of the Winston-Salem chapter because we are grateful for the nurture of Better Marriages in our lives. Better Marriages has given us a supportive community of couples alongside of us who affirm that marriage is a good thing. So many people in our culture are giving up on marriage and we are glad not to be the only ones saying, “Marriage is for life. It is wonderful and requires work and commitment.” At Better Marriages chapter meetings Tom and I get to talk directly with each other and focus on our relationship. We are challenged and enriched.to consider many different issues and topics in our marriage. I especially appreciate the justice that Better Marriages supports for wives and husbands. We always leave the meetings feeling closer to each other than when we arrived. Better Marriages enhances the joy and richness of our relationship as well as gives us some tools and support for the weak areas. We have gotten some great ideas for family trips and resolved some conflict through the love of Better Marriages. The annual state conference is a great way for us to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement, which took place on Valentine’s day. It is a fun night away from our four children that we look forward to and enjoy each year. We have some dear friends involved with Better Marriages and we appreciate them!”~L&S,  NC

“The initial Marriage Enrichment program provides the knowledge and tools for a stronger, more meaningful marriage. It does not overwhelm you with obligatory, and often disagreeable, mechanics that I experienced in another very popular marriage strengthening program. The concept and initial program provide very good tools. However, unless a couple is provided with reinforcement and encouragement after that initial program, those valuable tools are probably going to fall by the wayside. That is why I believe that every Marriage Enrichment event should stress the importance of joining an ongoing Marriage Enrichment Group (Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)) and provide the means for all attendees to get involved in a Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG). Even the best of us get in a rut once in a while or backslide in performing the simple techniques that make Marriage Enrichment so successful. A Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) gets you back on track. It provides valuable marriage enrichment information and is a regular reminder to get back to basics of the knee-to-knee and other simple techniques that keep a couple close and in touch with each other’s inner being. My wife and I have been a member of an excellent Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) in Tampa, Florida for several years. We often hear comments during our Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) meetings that, for one reason or another, one or more couples have neglected to do regular knee-to-knees or perform many of the other simple marriage enhancement techniques. They are thankful they have the Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) and support of the other members to get them back on course. Marriage Enrichment and the Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)s provide my wife and me with a heightened awareness of the importance of a meaningful relationship and the tools to make it possible. We can see and experience the fruits of these gifts every day of our lives.”
~D&B, FL

“Married now for 39 years, we discovered Better Marriages after 16 years of marriage. Our marriage, while reasonably stable, certainly had its thorny edges. Professional counseling had been sought after eight years of marriage, and while helpful, it did not provide the resources, tools, or practical knowledge we needed to improve and build our marriage – Better Marriages did. Among many subjects related to marriage, communication and its different styles was enlightening. The healthy management of anger was direly needed. A distinguishing factor, however, in the Better Marriages method (for us) is their teaching the couple how to have healthy dialogue – it revolutionized our relationship. We, along with others, lead retreats for our church denomination because Better Marriages can make a significant difference. We want other couples to experience the breaking light this distinctive method brings to marriage.”~D&C, GA.

“Every meeting and every workshop gives us more reasons and ways to listen and share our innermost thoughts and feelings for a stronger bond of love every day.”~T&R, NC

“Our lives changed the day we were introduced to Marriage Enrichment during a retreat in 1979. Within two months, we took leadership training because we believed that this was a program to SHARE! Better Marriages offers support, skills and hope to committed couples who want to improve their relationships in significant ways. Better Marriages has given us practical tools for communicating better, increasing our intimacy and creating a legacy for our children. Although we approached Marriage Enrichment with the attitude that we didn’t need it, we now realize that we deserved it! We have never wavered in our conviction that Better Marriages offers one of the most constructive solutions to building a more peaceful world – one couple at a time. Doesn’t every couple deserve that?”~A&C, KS

“We have been involved in Better Marriages as a facilitator couple for more than 25 years. Three very important things occur whenever we “lead” groups and retreats: 1) we get to see couples get excited about the possibilities for change and growth in their relationships; 2) we have a lot of fun in this positive process; and 3) we grow and change ourselves. Because this style of marriage enrichment requires the facilitator couple to participate in the couple dialog and exercises, we work on our own relationship every time we lead others. It’s a win-win situation in the best sense of the word!”~B&L, TX

“In 1972, we were introduced to Better Marriages. It was soon thereafter, that we attended a Retreat with Better Marriages founders, David and Vera Mace. My Husband was a Chaplain in the Air Force so he decided that we would invite a few Chaplains to attend a Retreat and encourage them to bring Better Marriages to Air Force Base Chapels. It was because of our commitment to our own Marriage that we decided to take the leadership training so that we could visit AF Bases and offer retreats. Our experience while leading groups enriched our relationship as we enhanced the skills of good communication and conflict resolution. I am grateful that we made the decision to go into leadership, serve on the Board and, above all, had the Maces as our Mentors. We led many Retreats before and following retirement. Dick died in 2002 and I have continued to be a part of the Marriage council at our Church and lead couples in preparation for marriage classes. I am alone now and smile as I reflect on those wonderful years with Dick and our achievement in being fully known and deeply loved.”~J&C, VA

“Kay and I attended our first Better Marriages conference the first year of our marriage and we were hooked. After attending conferences, we held various positions on the state leadership team (Georgia), became certified as a leader couple, led workshops, and facilitated Marriage Enrichment Groups (MEGs).”~J&C, VA

“In twenty years of marriage, Better Marriages has been our mentor, consultant, partner, and guide. Learning new skills and incorporating new rituals has kept our relationship growing. Being committed to a community that cares about marriage and its potential has been empowering. The Better Marriages journey has been for us a path well-worth traveling.”~M&K, GA

“Better Marriages came into our lives just as dreams gave full way to disillusionment, though we were not prepared to admit it even to ourselves. As a Christian couple in ministry, we were confronting relational issues every day in the lives of our members and in the church. Our first marriage enrichment experience was not for us—you understand—but to help us help them. We felt near panic when the leader couple suggested we might want to put aside our note taking and enter into this experience as husband and wife. Married now for 39 years, we discovered Better Marriages after 16 years of marriage. Our marriage, while reasonably stable, certainly had its thorny edges. Professional counseling had been sought after eight years of marriage, and while helpful, it did not provide the resources, tools, or practical knowledge we needed to improve and build our marriage – Better Marriages did. Among many subjects related to marriage, communication and its different styles was enlightening. The healthy management of anger was direly needed. A distinguishing factor, however, in the Better Marriages method (for us) is their teaching the couple how to have healthy dialogue – it revolutionized our relationship. We, along with others, lead retreats for our church denomination because Better Marriages can make a significant difference. We want other couples to experience the breaking light this distinctive method brings to marriage.”~K&R, MD

“After 30 years of marriage, we’re amazed at how much we’re still learning about each other and our relationship! Every time we attend an Better Marriages conference or seminar on marriage, we come away strengthened and enlightened. There’s always new, fresh information for us to discuss and put into action. We attended a marriage enrichment retreat during our first year of marriage. We didn’t become Better Marriages members at that time, but we often used the communication skills we learned at that retreat. “I messages” are probably the reason we’re still happily married! When we’d been married for about twenty years, we joined a Marriage Enrichment Group (Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG)), attended a Leadership Training Workshop (LTW) and an Advanced Training Workshop (ATW). Great decision! Our relationship has never been stronger or more fulfilling. As a leader couple, what a joy it is to encourage other couples and to share with them the magic of “I messages”!”~G&P, LA

“We came to Better Marriages as we were ending a course of marital therapy. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate way to learn more about and practice our new found relationship skills. We are very different in personality. That was part of our initial attraction, but eventually our differences kept us apart. We separated for 3 months before we were able to reconcile and begin marital therapy. As we worked through our negative feelings, we found once again the love that we had misplaced. Just as we finished therapy, a local couple offered an Better Marriages Marriage Enrichment Weekend and we signed up right away. We learned crucial communications and conflict resolution skills and came to appreciate and even delight in our differences. A Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) grew out of the weekend and we had found a way to learn more about living together happily with the loving support of six other couples.”~B&L, VA

From the wife:
“I thought the first 20 years of our marriage were good ones. However, I think the next 29 years of our marriage have been GREAT as we have been involved with Better Marriages. We both made the commitment to grow in our relationship. I became more aware of myself and able to reveal this. I have also focused on becoming more aware of my partner. We spend more time talking and listening to one another – giving to each our “total presence”. I am not as shy! Instead of covering up our conflicts we reveal them and resolve them in loving ways. Each day we express our love for one another and also ask forgiveness for hurts we may have caused. We are more open in expressing care, appreciation, affection, intimacy, and sexuality. We are continuing our journey to become more “Fully Known” and “Deeply Loved”. ~E, VA

From the husband:
“I thought Better Marriages changed our own marriage relationship from average to way above average through the use of skills we were taught in communication and conflict management! Marriage Enrichment has been an ongoing means of renewal and growth as we near the “GOLDEN 50s”. It remains relative and refreshing as we interact with younger and older couples. Better Marriages enabled us to meet and form friendships with multiple couples and persons through leadership and training opportunities, locally, nationally, and recently in Nigeria, West Africa!”~G, VA

“We have been active in Better Marriages — for a time as leader couples — since 1980. We celebrated our 54th anniversary on July 14, 2005. Our 50th anniversary happened to fall during the Better Marriages international meeting held in Charlotte in 2001.”~D&D, SC

“Though my husband and I lived in remarkable harmony for the first 27 years of our marriage — a fortunate thing in our child-rearing years — our relationship has taken on greater depth, and weathered more storms, since we became involved in Better Marriages about the time our three children were leaving our nest. Now together a lot in our senior years, we believe many older couples would benefit from the skills we have learned in Better Marriages because old age brings serious but different stresses from those we experienced earlier. We very much value our friendships with several “empty nest” Better Marriages couples in our area and remember fondly the many Better Marriages events we have shared over the past 25 years.”~C&F, VA

“It is no exaggeration to say that I “married into” marriage enrichment (Better Marriages), and I say that with appreciation. That marriage has been evolving during 21 years of growth and change, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes agonizing, always challenging, to become now a treasured relationship. We have reflected on what there was about our Better Marriages experience that could have so influenced us to succeed against overwhelming odds. In addition to the discouraging (or permissive?) statistics placed on us by the era of divorce, we brought our individual histories, much of which worked against us. We were both in our fifties and each of us liked our current lifestyles, which were polar opposites. My husband had previously been successfully married for many years during which they were active in Better Marriages groups (positive) but was still actively grieving the death of that spouse (negative). He dearly loved his three grown children who were still grieving for their mother I had been previously unsuccessfully married for a number of years (negative), had never closely observed even one “good” marriage (negative), and had most recently spent seven single years characterized by social and financial independence (maybe a positive) as well as responsibility for and devotion to my college-bound son and to another son and his family. We both had high-energy, time-intensive jobs, which, surprisingly, was a positive. About three months after our wedding we were sitting in a leaders training group at Black Mountain. My husband was within his comfort zone. I was in a foreign zone except that I had experience with participating in and leading intentional growth groups for individuals. The training experience was my first opportunity to bond with marriage enrichment. Our leaders were unusually qualified and very insightful; they were genuine facilitators in a bonding that has lasted. To greatly simplify what was a many faceted and very rich experience, their leadership and our interaction with other members of our group helped me understand the value of deliberate, educated commitment to my marriage. Commitment that lasts is more than words, more than good intentions, more than “in sickness and in health,” more than appearances, more than “good times and bad,” more than money, more than can be defined by words. The only place I know to learn about commitment-to-marriage-that-lasts is through marriage enrichment and marriage itself. It is a gift I wish for every couple.”
~A &R,  GA

“It was probably the year 1975, when we were living in Winston-Salem and my husband was in hospital chaplaincy training, that I felt such a need for some better communication and sharing in our marriage. I was home with two little girls and though involved in our church/book club/craft group etc., so needed more time with my hubby. He was definitely the “dragee” when I first broached the subject, but finally was convinced it would be good to take part in this marriage enrichment training as leader couples. What a thrill to be with Better Marriages founders, David & Vera Mace, in training, and to experience that training and special time together at their Black Mountain, N.C. home! Our time in Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) groups there was wonderful and so enriched our marriage. Then we moved to Tulsa, OK and immediately became active in the group there, leading a number of retreats, being a part of a significant and dynamic Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG), and even getting involved in state-wide leadership. What a thrill to have David & Vera visit us there in our home, and lead a large event. Now we look forward to helping form a group here in Oregon and we know that once again our marriage is the one that will reap the benefits and draw us closer to other couples and to one other.”~J&F, OR