Marriage Encounter - what have been your experiences?


I’m learning about an organization called National Marriage Encounter. What has anyone experienced about them? Ever been on a weekend retreat with them?

You don’t need to direct me to the website, I’ve already looked that, just wondering what anyone else has thought about their weekends.



Dh & I have been on several weekends. They occasionally have a weekend for us veterans! Our original weekend was about 31 yrs ago, and it was wonderful. There are a series of talks given by married couples and a priest, and then time to return to your room and use the communication technique taught to discuss the topic with regard to your own marriage. Following the weekend, there are local groups that meet about once a month to help continue the good work of the weekend. The purpose is to make good marriages into great marriages! There is time for Confessions and Sunday Mass. I would recommend it to everyone.



My husband and I attended an ME weekend a couple of years ago. We found the style of communication to be awkward and unnatural for us, but on the whole, it was a good experience, and we continued on with the “love circles” afterward until our circumstances made that too difficult.

Part of our issue was that we tried to do it when our kids were very small, and I had a hard time being away from them for such a long time. It was a big distraction for me. I also personally found our particular priest to be somewhat abrasive which was kind of a turnoff. However, we did make some good connections with other couples, and were able to see how to really listen to one another, rather than always trying to get our point across.

Though our own experience wasn’t stellar, I do recommend the weekend to all couples…it can only strengthen your relationship.


About 18 months into our marriage my DH and I were bickering and fighting almost every day. For nothing really, but still it was very hard and painful for both of us. We went on the marriage encounter, and I can honestly say that I can count the number of arguments we have had on one hand, since… and that was 13 years and 2 kids ago. It is a life altering experience that will teach you life skills on communication and why people behaive the way they do. We have used those skills successfully in our marriage, but also in our relationships at work and with our extended families. And I will add, that we really never followed up with the “circles” or some of the other recommendations. It will add meaning to your life and relationship. I strongly recommend it to everyone! By the way, the one I am referring to was World Wide Marriage Encounter…can’t be sure it is the National Marriage Encounter you are talking about…take care and good luck and God bless!


What do you all think about the “Catholic-ness” of the weekends? Was your experience very ecumenical, or did it have a truly Catholic focus? I guess I’m concerned that there might be too much focus on just communication skills and not enough on living in a Sacramental marriage that is Christ, and specifically Eucharist, centered. I’m thinking that I can learn communication skills anywhere - so as a Catholic, how does this experience teach us to live the Sacrament?

I’m sorry that I was not totally clear in my opening post - this is mainly what I’m getting at.



liz makes a good point, be sure you are going to a retreat under Catholic auspices, as other groups also use ME. esp. if communication seems to be at the root of some of your problems, it is excellent.


World Wide Marriage Encounter is not affiliated with any religion in particular, although each weekend usually is focused around a specific religion. So, for instance, the weekend I went on had 8 speakers, 3 married couples, one priest, and one nun. Everyone who attended was Catholic, and it was opened to only 3 parishes in our area.

The next weekend was going to be the Jewish WWME with a rabbi instead of a priest as a speaker, and targetting Jewish couples. They also have non-denominational Christian weekends, and secular weekends.

It is important that you attend the “Catholic” weekend in your area. I don’t want to give too much away. You will not be disappointed in this weekend, I promise. You can not learn this in a university communications class, or by reading a book. Just go.


Thank you ecp007 - that is very helpful and informative!!

So - for those who have been to Catholic weekends, are they “Catholic enough”, if you get what I mean? Or was it watered down Catholicism? I would be so disapointed to go to something that is quasi-Catholic. :wink:

I guess it’s going to be different from place to place and depending on what presenters you have. So, the format is always the same?

Thanks all - this is great info!



i think it depends on the diocese, on who runs the program, on the priest and other team members, same as engaged encounter or other marriage programs. orthodox bishops usually insure orthodox people run these programs. dissenting bishops allow all manner of aberations.


The focus of the weekend is marriage communication not Catholic doctrine although God and sacramental marriage are addressed. It’s not a religious retreat. It is an excellant weekend for improving communication in marriage.


Ok - I guess it’s important to know that going in then. I guess I was expecting it to be more focused on how marriage is a Sacrament, and we need to ensure that Christ and the Eucharist need to be central. You know - just more “Catholic-y” :smiley: and not so much communication styles.

Great though to know ahead of time!




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