Introductory Chapter of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love

Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love




Marriage isn’t what it used to be — which is a good thing! People have evolved and so has marriage. In a successful relationship today, spouses respect each other as individuals and also transcend their separate selves. The result is an amazing whole that is greater than the sum of its parts and nourishes both partners.

I believe in marriage. Some people, disillusioned by high divorce rates and unhappy unions, claim that marriage is obsolete. But now, like never before, you can create the marriage you’ve always wanted, a fulfilling one that fosters growth and vitality in both of you.

Society has altered radically, resulting in new expectations for marriage. Until recently, women needed husbands for financial support and men needed wives to do the homemaking. And virtually everyone needed marriage for sex and procreation. By and large, all this has changed.

Yet we continue to marry and expect lasting happiness.  When disappointed, we tend to blame our spouse or the institution of marriage for not meeting a deeper need — the need to connect with each other emotionally and spiritually as well as physically.

To succeed in marriage, we need to catch up with our new expectations. Too many of us are relating in self-defeating ways, still focusing on physical aspects and ignoring the crucial need for a soul connection. To achieve this ideal, we must address the real issue: a lack of skills for a good twenty-first-century marriage.

Marriage meetings fill the gap. They offer a simple way for you to create an extraordinarily satisfying union that lasts a lifetime. Since 1998, I have been leading Marriage Meeting workshops for couples, making this tool available to professionals, and introducing it to clients in my private psychotherapy practice.

This book offers a practical way to gain a fulfilling marriage. By following its step-by-step instructions, you will increase romance, intimacy, and teamwork. When conflicts arise — and they do in any marriage — you will be able to resolve them more smoothly and respectfully.

If your marriage is already good, marriage meetings will keep it thriving. If you are facing unusual challenges, the meetings can help the two of you get back on track.

A good marriage fosters the growth and well-being of both partners, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Each partner feels loved, cared for, and respected. Both husband and wife contribute their unique abilities to create a rewarding partnership.

Advice is plentiful. It’s easy to pick up good ideas from many sources. The problem is that we soon forget the good advice and relapse into less healthy behavior patterns. The power of habit is simply too strong. The marriage meetings provide a frequent reminder to communicate positively. After you hold the meetings for a while, you will probably find that relating better in general has become second nature.

This book includes all you need to know in order to conduct effective marriage meetings: guidelines, step-by-step instructions, and positive communication techniques. Stories of couples included throughout the book are composite, general illustrative examples that do not represent any specific persons.

Detailed descriptions of couples who have benefited from holding marriage meetings are featured in chapters 10 through 14 and show how applying marriage meeting concepts can enhance all kinds of relationships, whether they are well functioning or particularly challenged. Names and other identifying details have been changed to further protect confidentiality.

I do practice what I preach. My husband and I have been holding marriage meetings for over twenty-four years. I do not know how we would have stayed happy together without them. We reconnect every week by holding a meeting. We do not take each other for granted, because the meetings include a time to express appreciation.

They also provide a platform that encourages us to say what each of us wants, collaborate on activities and projects, and clear up misunderstandings. Because the meetings bring closure, nothing is left hanging. Therefore, we don’t hold grudges. Our meetings foster trust, romance, and intimacy.

You can expect to enjoy a ripple effect from marriage meetings. The warm feelings and optimism they generate will spread out to others in your life. You will start using positive communication skills in other relationships.

Like many of my therapy clients, I grew up in a home without role models for a happy marriage. My parents divorced when I was thirteen. In my positions as a child welfare worker, clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and family service agency director, I have always been drawn to activities that brought me into close contact with couples and families. I suppose that, unwittingly, I wanted to learn what I missed out on as a child — how to create a good marriage.

Every marriage has issues. A frequent complaint from couples is that they feel unheard by their partners. Marriage meetings keep them tuned in to each other. This proactive approach keeps small irritations from getting big and inspires each partner to value the other’s good qualities.

The marriage meeting has four parts: Appreciation, Chores, Plan for Good Times, and Problems and Challenges. Each part creates momentum for the next one.

The first part, Appreciation, buoys you up for dealing with the next one, Chores, which takes energy at first. But you are likely to feel satisfied after cooperating while deciding who will do which tasks. The third part,

Plan for Good Times, is usually a feel-good one because you plan a date with your spouse and decide on other enjoyable activities during this part of the meeting. The fourth part, Problems and Challenges,makes good use of the positive climate you’ve created for afruitful conversation about any concern.

Are you ready to create the marriage you’ve always wanted? Let’s get started!


Thank you for reading the above introduction to Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.  Want to read more?  You can get the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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