Group Ice Breakers

Do you work with a Marriage Enrichment Group or other small group? Consider using ice breakers at the beginning of your group time.

Ice Breakers serve the purpose of promoting a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere in which couples grow increasingly comfortable sharing with the group. Before using these ideas, remind each person that sharing is voluntary – they are asked to share only what they and their partner are comfortable sharing.

In each couple introduction exercise, the purpose is to reduce group anxiety, build a climate of trust, enable couples to begin to reflect on their relationship as well as introduce themselves to the group. The group facilitator selects one means of introduction, explains the process, and gives couples time to prepare their response. The facilitator then models the introduction for the group.

Allow couples a few minutes to discuss privately their responses to the ice breaker statements or questions, selecting one or more to share with the group. Each couple should agree together on which responses they are comfortable sharing. This is an opportunity for you, as a facilitator, to reinforce the idea that before talking in front of the group, a couple should decide privately about what boundaries they will honor. This is not a time to throw each other under the bus, embarrass each other, or put each other on the spot.

Ice Breaker #1

This exercise introduces couples while letting them tell something of the history of their relationship. Ask each couple to write three statements about their relationship: two true and one fictional. Couples introduce themselves by reading the statements and asking the group to guess which statement is fictional. Leaders may encourage participants to select unusual or humorous facts (truths) that might easily be mistaken as imaginary.

Ice Breaker #2

  • Special Experience: As a couple, think about a special experience in your relationship. Draw an illustration of it and share it with the group.
  • Relationship Picture: As a couple, draw a picture of your relationship journey, using key events and themes to describe your life together. Afterwards, share it with the group.
  • Symbols: As a couple, select some item (possession, object, etc.) that you have with you that symbolizes your relationship. Share it with the group.
  • Joyful Events: Individually list several joyful events that have occurred since you first met. Share them privately and then agree on one to share with the group.

Ice Breaker #3

Give each person a question sheet. Using the questions to guide their remarks, let each person in the group introduce himself. Or, let each couple go over the questions together. Based on the number of couples and the time allotted for this exercise, ask the individuals or couples to select 3-4 questions from the list. Then, couple by couple, let them introduce themselves. Indicate the time limit has been reached by placing a hat on your head, launching a paper airplane or some other lighthearted way. Or, let each member of the couple introduce the other one.

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What is one of the most exciting things that has happened to you since you’ve been with your partner?
  • What is your occupation?
  • What would you like the group to know about you?
  • How did you meet each other?
  • Share with us a memory from your early days together.
  • Share with group three things you do well.
  • Share with group three things your partner does well.
  • Share one way you and your partner are alike.
  • Share one way you and your partner are different.
  • Share something about yourself or your relationship that is not known by many people.
  • What special interests do you have?
  • How did you meet?
  • How long have you been together?
  • What is one of the best things that has happened to you since you have been together?

Ice Breaker #4

Responses may be unique, funny, surprising, serious, challenging, memorable. Each couple will take turns introducing themselves and sharing their information.

  • Select 3-5 single words that describe yourself.
  • Select 3-5 single words that describe your partner.
  • Tell about a goal you have — something you hope to accomplish.
  • Tell about a goal you perceive your partner has — something you think your partner wants to accomplish.
  • Describe three values you hold dear.
  • Describe three values you consider your partner holds dear.