Who Should You Encourage To Attend?
Married husbands and wives who are in love “deserve” to attend Marriage Encounter! Good relationships don’t come easy. Maintaining a good relationship requires a conscious and/or subconscious commitment and effort. Marriage Encounter will help ease a couple’s efforts by learning a communication technique that will keep them in touch with each other.
Within the groups of “in love couples” are sub-groups:
- Couples with a strong commitment to constantly improve their relationship. These couples already have an excellent or superb relationship. They developed this level of relationship because they regularly do “something” each year specifically to improve their “coupleness.” They may regularly read books or attend seminars on relationship building. Marriage Encounter is one of those “things” they choose to do for themselves!
- Couples who know they have a good or very good relationship but who decide together that there is something that is not as good as it could be. Marriage Encounter may be the first event they choose to do together to specifically improve their relationship.
- Couples who are in a temporary “difficult” period. They know there were better times, and they yearn to find what is missing. A “good marriage” just is not good enough. Some are experiencing a temporary crisis – the death of a loved one, a lost job, or a move. Others have been married 7-12 years and are coping with jobs, kids, money, and “is there more than this to life?” Still others are “empty nesters” asking “Now that the kids are gone and it is just the two of us, what are we going to do now?” Some are approaching or are in retirement and are wondering “Where do we go from here?” In all these cases, couples have had a better relationship in the past, and they just want to get back there!
- Couples who know they are experiencing trouble, and they are concerned that they need a little help pulling themselves up from this downward spiral. The important point is that they can still hold hands, look into each other’s eyes, and say, “I love you, and I want to love you more!” These couples know they have problems, but both are committed to loving each other.
Marriage Encounter is not intended for couples who are having serious problems, especially if drug or alcohol addiction or physical abuse are involved. If you assess a couple to be in need of marriage counseling, we encourage them to start their counseling first. Often these couples struggle to communicate effectively, and need assistance to solve problems. Marriage Encounter is effective in enhancing communication, which will enable effective problem solving. But the experience is not an opportunity for marital problem solving. These couples may be disappointed that the experience does not solve all their problems. If counseling helps them build a desire to restore their love and grow closer, then they will benefit from Marriage Encounter.
The clergy is generally the only professionally trained counselor in Marriage Encounter. The format of the experience is such that there is not enough time to individually counsel every couple. That is not to say that if a couple has questions, no one will work with them.
Couples in the process of getting a divorce have attended Marriage Encounter on their own initiative, and during the experience they have become reconciled. If both spouses are enthusiastic about attending Marriage Encounter and understand it is not primarily for problem solving, we would not discourage them from registering.
If you have any concerns about recommending a couple to attend Marriage Encounter, please email us. If you include your phone number, someone will call you. We can arrange to have a presenting clergy call you as well.