Thank you for wanting information about how & who to invite to experience a Marriage Encounter weekend. At a time when marriage and the family are under attack, we are glad you care about the marriages of your family & friends. This document contains lots of information for you use to talk to one couple or to a group of couples. Information meetings are a great way to “get the word out” about United Marriage Encounter. There are fun ways to gather couples. Consider hosting a desert or a game night in your home or church. Your UME Community leadership would be a good resource for ideas. You are serving God and others when you invite other couples to learn just how much better their marriage can be. Extend the invitation to attend a Weekend so others will see what the gift of a Weekend could do for them, their families and the church.
What is United Marriage Encounter?
United Marriage Encounter is an international non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening marriages (one man & one woman, legally married). We help couples learn practical, ongoing communication tools over the course of a Weekend beginning at 7:30 PM on Friday and ending on Sunday. Marriage Encounter is based on the Christian faith and a Christian view of marriage. The Weekend leadership couples, all volunteers, teach methods designed to improve communication by sharing experiences from their own lives. The Weekend is presented in a conference-type setting with as many as 30 couples. After initial introductions, no other group sharing is required. Each couple will be given one-on-one time as a couple to share with each other, privately in their room, away from the distractions of everyday life, trying out the communication tools and ideas presented. A Marriage Encounter Weekend is an opportunity to learn new ways to communication and also to connect deeply or even re-connect with your spouse on an emotional and spiritual level.
This is for married couples, one man and one woman, of all faiths and all ages. Young, middle-aged, and Golden Anniversary couples can all benefit. Marriage Encounter is for all couples who want a better marriage. On the Weekend, each couple starts wherever they are and grows from there. Consider inviting couples whose marriage is important to them, and who want growth in their marriage. Couples who would like some practical tools to improve their communication with each other. Busy couples who don’t have enough time together. Couples who have a good, solid marriage but would like more romance, sparkle, and zip in their relationship. Marriage Encounter is especially recommended for couples who believe they don’t need it. We believe those who already have a good marriage will enjoy making it a great marriage.
Marriage Encounter is not recommended for couples with problems so serious that they need professional help. Yet some couples report their Weekend saved their marriage. If a couple who has severe problems decides to go on a Weekend, we respect their decision. But we ask everyone to remember Marriage Encounter is not marriage counseling and is not designed for deeply troubled marriages. Marriage Encounter is not for everyone. But our experience has been that nearly all couples who want a better marriage are glad they gave themselves this special Weekend. If you stay for the whole Weekend and participate fully, you’re very likely to have a rewarding experience.
Personal one-on-one and two-on-two invitations are best. Tell our friends:
Marriage Encounter is for couples with good marriages, to help them grow even better.
Because we see so much good in our friends and their marriage, we believe they deserve the Weekend and would appreciate it – as we did.
Mention a special quality we see in their relationship, such as shared faith, the thoughtful way they treat each other, shared sense of humor, etc.
Share what our Weekend meant to us and why we are glad we had this experience. The example of our own relationship is our most persuasive reason! If others see a special closeness in us, they may want it too!
Be honestly positive. We don’t want to overwhelm our friends; we may need to restrain our excitement. Offer the Marriage Encounter Weekend as an opportunity, with information and encouragement but no pressure.
WHAT SHOULD WE SAY?
Briefly tell what happens on the Weekend, without a lot of detail. Each couple’s experience will be different. Too many specifics could cause them to pre-judge the Weekend. Remember (silently) the surprises we liked on our Weekend, and allow our friends to experience their own surprises.
We may tell them anything in the UME brochure or Presentation Outline.
We usually do not mention feelings, dialogue, love letters, or Prayer Couples.
Assure them: The Marriage Encounter Weekend is not group therapy, marriage counseling, or sensitivity training. They will not be required to share their personal life with the group. Personal sharing is between husband and wife in the privacy of their own room.
Expect our friends to experience the Weekend in their own unique way, by using the communication tools they will receive on the Weekend.
Assure them they can not pay for their own Weekend because other couples have already paid the full cost (except the registration fee, which reserves a place on the Weekend but does not cover any room and meal costs). They will have an opportunity to help pay for future Weekends for other couples. No couple should stay away because they think they can’t afford it.
What Happens On A Marriage Encounter Weekend?
The two of you are together as a couple, concentrating on each other and your relationship, for an entire weekend. You’ll be in a motel or retreat center, with no phone calls, no job, no children, no interruptions, no distractions. The Weekend gives you quality time to grow closer as a couple and learn some helpful new ideas for communication.
It’s a busy, structured Weekend. You won’t have much free time. Don’t bring your swim suit or tennis racquet. You’ll be working hard, but it’s the kind of work that brings lasting rewards. What Doesn’t Happen On A Marriage Encounter Weekend? It’s not group sharing or group discussion. You don’t reveal your personal life to the other couples. Your personal sharing will be private, in your own room, heard only by your own spouse. Marriage Encounter is not group therapy, marriage counseling, or sensitivity training.
What Does a Weekend Cost?
The cost of attending a Weekend (room, meals, and other expenses) has already been paid through the donations of other couples. There is a one-time registration fee. Others have paid the cost (over $720 per couple) as a gift. During the weekend you will be invited to pay it forward by contributing to future weekends for other couples. Donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. United Marriage Encounter is non-profit and is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. No couple should stay away because of lack of funds. Your presence and your relationship is far more important than your money.
How to register for a weekend?
Register online at www.unitedmarriage.org/register. Weekend dates and locations are listed. To register by mail complete the registration form on the brochure and mail a check payable to United Marriage Encounter. Take a moment to invite others to learn just how much better their marriage can be. Extend the invitation to attend a weekend so others will see what the gift of a weekend could do for them, their families, and their church!
WE EACH CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!
Newly encountered couples are the very best inviters!
Inviting is a continuing outreach to others. We plant seeds. We often must wait patiently, pray, and give gentle invitations once or twice a year.
How urgently do we want a new world of growing, Christ-centered marriages and families? Have we found something good we want to share? Will we help more couples receive the blessings of Marriage Encounter?
OPPORTUNITIES TO INVITE:
Make a list of couples who might benefit from a UME Weekend. Keep adding to this list and inviting more. Consider all the couples we know; don’t limit our invitations to church members. Keep a file card or computer record for each couple, noting each contact we make for Marriage Encounter.
Carry UME brochures (with Weekend dates and Registration Couple’s name and address) in purse, briefcase, backpack, or car. Give them freely!
Invite a couple to our home or ask them to join us for a few minutes after work, after church, or over coffee so we can talk about Marriage Encounter.
UME Information Meeting: Host, co-host, or bring couples. See UME Information Meeting Guide. Contact UME Community couples for help.
Church: Ask permission to give brief information on Marriage Encounter during worship services and in adult classes and small groups – and to set up a UME display, including brochures. Put UME Weekend announcements in the church bulletin or newsletter; invite anyone interested to call us.
Be responsive to couples we invite. Pray, follow up, encourage. Offer to send in their registration. Give an encouraging call before their Weekend.