In marriage, couples rarely spend time consciously “working on their relationship.” Like work or sports, however, marriage is an institution that requires continual attention in order for it to grow and flourish during seasons of triumph and challenges. Our spouse is the most significant person in our lives and we owe it to our spouse to dedicate time to the relationship.
For over two decades, families in the CNMI have undergone positive, life-changing transformations through Marriage Encounter. How? It’s simple. M.E. is based on offering married couples the gifts of enhanced communication, renewed commitment, and rekindled romance.
Marriage Encounter starts with a Weekend at a hotel, away from everyday distractions, tensions, and commitments including work, children, relatives, sports, and TV/multi-media. In our daily lives, we rarely spend enough quality time with our spouses as our responsibilities to provide ends’ meet, care for our children and elderly parents overwhelm our schedules. The M.E. Weekend is a constructive and personal experience offering married couples an opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives. It’s a time to share their feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.
The emphasis of the M.E. Weekend is on the communication between husbands and wives. The Weekend provides a conducive environment for couples to spend time together, encouraging them to focus on each other and their relationship. It’s not a retreat, marriage clinic or substitute for counseling.
Couples are not required to share anything with anyone else. It’s a unique approach aimed at revitalizing marriage so it truly is a marriage enrichment program.
The next CNMI M.E. Weekend is on Nov. 20-22, 2015, at the Kanoa Resort in Susupe. The cost is $100 per couple and includes two nights’ accommodation, five meals, and all materials.
Many couples are naturally hesitant to join the M.E. Weekend because they are unfamiliar with the program. Here are some answers to the most asked questions.
Q: Why should my spouse and I do M.E. if we have a good marriage and have no problems?
A: M.E. is suited for all married couples, even for those who have good marriages because there are natural peaks and valleys in the cycle of marriage. There will come a time when something happens and you’ll both need to face that disillusionment together. With M.E.’s communication techniques, you’ll be able to resolve those issues and get through the hurdles, rather than sweep them under the carpet.
Q. Will we need to air our “dirty laundry” in front of others?
A. No, not at all! Of course, couples may share if they’re so inclined, but it’s not expected. In fact, M.E wouldn’t exist if couples had to disclose intimate matters publicly.
Q. I want to do M.E. but my spouse doesn’t. What can I do?
A. This is often the case where one spouse is interested and the other is not. Explain that M.E. is just one weekend away from home that you need to rejuvenate yourself and that you want to do it for the health of your relationship. Ask for it as a birthday/anniversary/early Christmas gift!
Q. My spouse and I are separated. Should we even try?
A. If you and your spouse are agreeable to spend one weekend together in an effort to amend your relationship, yes! Maybe M.E. is just what you need to start communicating correctly. You won’t know until you try and isn’t your marriage worth it (especially if you have kids)?
Q. How much religion is involved?
A. On Saipan, the CNMI Marriage Encounter organization falls under the Catholic Church so there is a presenting priest and the topic of God’s role in marriage is mentioned. The topic of religion does not overwhelm the presentation and M.E. is open to couples of all faiths!
Q. Do I have to be Catholic to attend?
A. No. The Worldwide Marriage Encounter requires that each Weekend be divided among Catholics and other religions. Any married couple (husband and wife) is welcome, regardless of any church affiliation.
Q. Do I have to be married in a church to qualify?
A. No, you do not need to be married in a church. However, WWME is faithful to the Roman Catholic church’s teaching that marriage is a covenant that exists between one man and one woman. Any reference to marriage or couple made by WWME is in this context.
Q. Do I have to be married a minimum amount of years?
A. No, not anymore! As long as you’re legally married, you qualify.
Q. What is involved in an M.E. Weekend?
A. Weekends begin on Friday evening and end on Sunday evening. Two nights’ accommodation, five meals starting Saturday morning plus all the materials are included.
Q. How much is it to join the M.E. Weekend?
A. $100 per couple for two nights’ accommodation and five meals to help defray the costs of the Weekend.
Q. Will I have to change after I do M.E.?
A. No, no one can make you change unless you yourself want to. Typically, you will want to make some changes in your marriage because of your deep love for your spouse.
Q. How can I join the next M.E. Weekend?
A. Space is limited to 25 couples. Submit an application form and payment (Checks payable to Worldwide Marriage Encounter) to Kanae Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up online at http://goo.gl/forms/FTrnk2p8XS. (PR)