First, choose an area to dialogue about:
GOD AND OUR FAITH
USE OF TIME
Next, choose one of the following question formats to dialogue about your chosen area:
1. Why do I want to dialogue in this area? HDIFAT?
2. What do I hope to gain in this area? HDIFAT?
3. What do I like best about you in this area? HDIFAT?
4. What do I like least about you in this area? HDIFAT?
5. What do I like best about myself in this area? HDIFAT?
6. What do I like least about myself in this area? HDIFAT?
7. What do I like best about us in this area? HDIFAT?
8. What mask do I wear in this area? HDIFAT?
9. When am I least open to listen to you in this area? HDIFAT?
10. In this area, what feeling do I find most difficult to share with you? DIFALD
REFLECTIONS TO SHARE WITH ONE ANOTHER – use for loving discussion
I affirm another person when I recognize that he/she is good, worthwhile and lovable, precisely the way he/she is. . .period.
1. How am I presently recognizing (affirming) my husband/wife?
2. How would I like to be affirmed and recognized by my husband/wife?
3. To become more fully human and lovable and at the same time achieve a greater growth in my married life, how can I:
a. Be more myself?
b. Stop hiding my emotions?
c. Stop holding onto my fears, especially of hurting other people’s feelings?
d. Be more assertive?
e. Be gentler with myself?
4. How can I be more aware of the unique goodness and worth of my spouse?
5. How can I delight in my spouse’s goodness without trying to possess him/her?
Any family can try Family Dialogue with hope of success by using these suggestions and by avoiding the pitfalls described here. Most importantly, if you as a couple have a positive attitude toward the possibility of success in your own family with Family Dialogue, it will most probably work for you like it does for thousands of families.
WHEN & HOW OFTEN TO HAVE FAMILY DIALOGUE
From the experience of families from all over the country, we’ve discovered that once a week is most worthwhile for Family Dialogue. But each family has its own wants and needs and should adjust so that this time together offers relaxation and a positive experience for everyone. More frequently than once a week, though, can be burdensome to some families. However, dialoguing every day while you’re on a camping vacation, for example, can be a uniquely special experience for your entire family.
Family Dialogue less than once a week allows families to lose touch with each other between times, and any benefits that have been gained in the previous family dialogues may be lost, so choosing the optimal time each week for a family “date” will help your family members to plan and look forward to it.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
This Scripture passage tells us that the Word IS God. In our Bible, we have God present in a special way. We like to think of Scripture as God’s love letters… written to us and for us… to reveal Jesus and ourselves in relationship with Him. Scripture dialogue is a tool – a means of responding to the love letters of our Father.
Couples need not fear Scripture dialogue questions because of unfamiliarity with Scripture.
You will gain much from dialoguing on the Word of God to help your growth as a couple.
Experience the growth your heavenly Father desires for your relationship. God IS love. And being in relationship is His desire for us.
(If you don’t like your relationship after completing these 90 questions, we guarantee you get your old relationship back!)
These questions are to help make your dialogue deeper and richer. You won’t use more than a couple of them during any given dialogue.
1. Tell me more.
2. Is it like. . .and then describe how you think he wants you to feel. How you imagine it is to feel the way your spouse is feeling.
3. How does your feeling make you feel physically?
4. What helps you to describe it more fully?
5. What other feelings are there?
6. How does it feel to feel the way you feel?
7. Have I ever described a feeling like yours to you? Tell me about how you remember that feeling of mine. How does it compare with your present feeling?
8. Have you ever felt this way before? How does it compare with those other times?
9. What have I said or done in past dialogues that helped you get out your feelings more?
10. What intensifies your feeling—lessens it?
11. How do you feel about revealing this feeling? Is there a difference in your reaction in the reflection and the dialogue?
12. Let the spouse know where you are in reaching out to his/her feeling.
13. Tell what helps you to respond better, to comprehend more.
14. Tell whether you are prejudiced toward him/her at this moment and what helps you to become more prejudiced.
15. Tell whether you have any real desire to feel his/her feeling now and what helps you to want your spouse’s feeling.
16. Spouse should tell you how he/she feels about your questions or your responses.
- Everyone will have the opportunity to share; no one has to share.
- All that is shared in this room stays in this room, just like on the Weekend. Confidentiality and acceptance are what makes sharing so special and powerful in Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
- Share for yourself only, not you and your spouse, or about your spouse or about what someone else has shared.
- Share only what has been shared with your spouse first. Avoid big surprises. Avoid the temptation to use your sharing time to try to teach others in the group, or help them in any way.
- Listening is as great a gift of self as sharing.
- Giving advice is the opposite of accepting someone’s sharing of self.
- Don’t interrupt or comment on another’s sharing.
- Sharing is not a time to teach, to judge, or even to help anyone else. “Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way,” might be meant as a kindness, but this is rejection and can turn off someone else’s sharing.
- Husbands and wives do not necessarily share one after another unless they want to. Not sharing together can allow more careful listening.
- Your sharing is a gift to your spouse as well as to others.
- Let quiet pauses between sharing be a preparation time for the next speaker.
- Don’t be put off if someone else shares essentially what you wanted to say. A sharing has just as much meaning coming from more than one, and YOUR spouse may need to hear it from you.
The story of Marriage Encounter began in 1952, when a young Spanish Diocesan Laborer Priest, Father Gabriel Calvo, began developing a series of conferences for married couples. Their focus was on the development of an open and honest relationship within marriage and learning to live out a Sacramental relationship in the service of others. Each presentation ended with a question designed to encourage the couple to look at the concepts presented in terms of their own relationship. For approximately ten years “The Marriage Teams of Pope Pius XIII,” as the presenting teams were called, traveled throughout Spain with this series of conferences for married couples. They asked the participants for reflection upon themselves, their relationship with each other and with God.
In 1962, Father Calvo presented the conferences as a weekend retreat to 28 couples in his native Barcelona. The experience enjoyed immediate success and rapidly spread throughout Spain as the Encuentro Conjugal.