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ACME Marriage Enrichment events are attended by couples who value their marriage and who want their relationship to be strong and enduring. They want to learn skills and have experiences that help them increase their marital intimacy and mutual understanding. They are committed to the present and future growth of their marriage.

Small group process, including private and public couple dialogue, aids couples in learning that “we are not alone” in dealing with the typical issues in marriage. Learning new skills, sharing from experience, and affirming each other within a small group of caring couples provides powerful support for building positive bonds in marriage.

Trained married couples create an environment of safety and openness in which couples can relax their defenses, affirm their strengths, and be open to change. Leaders are “participating facilitators,” i.e., they are focusing on their own marriage at the same time that they are providing leadership for the group of couples. By making themselves vulnerable and sharing from their own experience (difficulties as well as successes), the leaders help the other couples acknowledge and deal with their own issues. Examining one’s marriage, identifying needed changes, setting goals, and taking steps to reach these goals make marriage enrichment work!

Groups function with guidelines that create a climate of trust:

  • The focus of the group is on each couple’s own marriage experiences. (Not children, in-laws, books read, or abstract ideas.)
  • Each person shares her/her own experience, speaking for self, using “I” messages rather than “You” statements.
  • Participation is voluntary — each person is in control of what he/she shares. Silence is okay.
  • There is no confrontation, advice-giving or prescribing between couples or within a couple.
  • Confidentiality is expected.
  • Concerns get priority. If something is preventing anyone from being a full participant within the group, that concern should be shared, heard and handled if possible.

This environment and structure provides an optimal opportunity for the process of marriage enrichment to occur.

This process involves:

  • Taking an honest look at one’s own relationship.
  • Gaining understanding, insights, skills, or alternatives for one’s marriage
  • Reaffirming or setting new goals for one’s own marriage — restating hopes, dreams, priorities, and directions for their relationship.
  • As a couple, making specific plans and commitments for what each partner can do to help reach the goals they have set.

This enables each couple to leave the enrichment experience with a “plan for action,” that is, the next step or steps each agrees to take toward their agreed-upon goals.


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Bea and Jim Strickland - Phone 408-268-3956


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