St. Paul the Apostle invites you to "INVEST in your marriage" with a special 12-month marriage enrichment opportunity. Over the next year, we are asking couples to meet with a small group once a month. Groups will consist of 4-6 couples each. Sessions will be designed to last 60-90 minutes each with an optional retreat weekend available in the middle. You will spend time with other “companion couples” to help each other in the journey. Each gathering is followed with concrete assignments to engage with your spouse between meetings. These exercises will challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and put your marriage first. Groups will begin meeting in May and the program will culminate with a renewal of vows as we celebrate Easter next April.
Q: What is “INVEST in your marriage?”
A: INVEST in your marriage is a broad initiative at St. Paul’s to encourage married couples to take time to grow their relationships in Christ as a couple. “INVEST in your marriage” will provide many different opportunities through the church for you and your spouse to participate in growth opportunities.
Q: “What is happening now and who is it for?”
A: INVEST in your marriage is organizing a small group opportunity for married couples to work together to enrich their marriages over the next year. Whether you’re a newlywed or have been married for decades, we can all gain from investing in our relationship as spouses. This is an experiential based exercise that will help you and your spouse grow closer emotionally and spiritually while helping you build a community of support for your marriage
Q: “My marriage is fine. I don’t need this!”
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 benefit if we invest in our marriage!
Q: “What is the format of these small groups?”
A: You will meet with a small group once a month for one year. Groups will consist of 4-6 couples each. Sessions will be designed to last 60-90 minutes each with a retreat weekend available in the middle. You will spend time with other couples as “companion couples” to help each other in the journey. Each couple is an active participant, with many opportunities for couples to turn knee-to-knee and share with each other. Each meeting is followed with concrete assignments to engage with your spouse between meetings. These exercises will challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and put your marriage first.
Q: “Why meet in groups?”
A: Couples can help couples. Men can help men and women can help women. We can all benefit from being supported by men and women of faith. 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 their own experience and gives others support and encouragement.
Q: “Who leads these meetings?”
A: Facilitator 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. These couples make themselves vulnerable and demonstrate openness within the group. Facilitators 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: INVEST in your marriage 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 this enrichment activity. The activities will be designed to explore sensitive subjects and situations in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
Q: “What’s the difference in this activity and counseling?”
A: This activity is most effective for couples who want to continue to learn, grow, and develop relationship skills. Counseling, generally, is for couples who are in crisis or with deeper issues that they are unable to handle themselves. These couples need a qualified counselor/therapist to help them deal with these issues. This exercise will by all means be helpful for these couples in connection with counseling, but not as a stand-alone replacement for therapy.