What is Marriage Encounter?
Marriage Encounter is an enrichment program for husbands and wives. Experienced by well over a million couples worldwide, this popular marriage enrichment program has been adapted to the prison setting. Now you and your spouse can experience many of its life changing benefits via this web site.
The Marriage Encounter exercises assist couples in discovering their marriage in the plan of God and provide the path to a more open, loving, truthful, intimate and joyful marriage relationship. You actually give the M.E. experience to each other, so the more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
How does it work?
The Marriage Encounter program follows this rhythm:
- Couples read a PRESENTATION by a team couple (an inmate and his or her spouse).
- Each participant writes a PERSONAL REFLECTION on questions related to the presentation.
- Husbands and wives share their person reflections with each other by mail and have a COUPLE DIALOGUE on their reflections either by mail, by phone or while visiting.
How do incarcerated couples prepare their Presentations?
When couples participate in a Marriage Encounter program inside a prison, they can serve on the team for subsequent Marriage Encounters. These couples volunteer to help out of gratitude for what they gained from the program. They were approved by the outside team plus the chaplain and then given outline materials before they wrote their talks (exchanging them by mail). Their talks were then sent to a member of NMEPM and reviewed for content and clarity.
These are the actual talks given by real couples while they were struggling through the difficulties of incarceration. Their names have been changed, and in some cases their talks have been shortened for this web site. The dozens of couples who did this made themselves vulnerable in being so open in front of fellow inmates. They had nothing to gain but to hope they could help someone else. In the process it was evident that their marriages were richly blessed.
NMEPM is deeply grateful for the sacrifices of these many inmate team couples. They helped our street team couples to gain empathy for their (your) struggles. Without them this web site would not have the depth of effectiveness. We hope you can feel their love as you read their stories and be touched by their openness and honesty in sharing with you. We hope you’ll be that open with each other.
How do we get started?
To give a glimpse of what actually happens on a Marriage Encounter, we have started with two presentations dealing with Communications. These are followed by a sampling of Presentations from The Four Phases of a Marriage Encounter.
- Improving Communication
- Learning to Share Feelings
THE FOUR PHASES:
What happens on a Marriage Encounter?
To give a glimpse of what actually happens, we will share excerpts from several presentations given by inmates and their spouses* who served on teams at a Marriage Encounter. We have chosen one or more presentation from each of the four phases of a M.E., which are:
- “I” PHASE: Participants learn to appreciate themselves as individuals. From this phase we chose the “Encounter with Self” presentation.
- “WE” PHASE: Couples learn communication skills and come to accept each other in a way that rekindles their love relationship. From this phase we chose “Marriage in the Modern World” and “Subjects for Understanding” (Money).
- “WE/GOD” PHASE: Couples examine their relationship with God. From this phase we chose the “Marriage Spirituality” presentation.
- “WE/GOD/WORLD” PHASE: Couples let their love spiral out to others, and set goals for the future. From this phase we chose “Marriage Commitment.”