Living the Dream

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry."

  • 10 Ways
  • Sharing Guidelines
  • Dialogue
  • World Marriage Day
  • World Priest Day

Ten Ways to Continue The Journey

  1. JOIN A WORLDWIDE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER COMMUNITY.
    (Contact your prayer couple or the couples presenting from your encounter for more information.)

  2. INVITE OTHERS TO MAKE A MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER.
    Include your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers & acquaintances.

  3. PROMOTE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER AT YOUR PARISH.
    Invite your parish priests and the couples with whom you share faith. Offer to others the same opportunity that you have experienced. Pray daily for their openness to attend a weekend experience. Every couple & priest deserves the gifts a Marriage Encounter will bring to their spousal relationship.

  4. PRESENT WITNESS TALKS AT PARISHES THROUGHOUT THE DIOCESES.
    Give a short talk about your Worldwide Marriage Encounter before or at the conclusion of Mass. This can also be presented at parish organizations such as Women’ Club, Men’s Club, Small Faith Communities and/or other such parish gatherings. (You will receive an outline to help you write what you would say.)

  5. DISTRIBUTE BROCHURES AT MASS OR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY FAIRS.
    Check with your pastor for permission to distribute information.

  6. VOLUNTEER TO INSERT FLYERS FOR A WORLDWIDE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER IN LOCAL PARISH BULLETINS.
    To help, contact the coordinator of your community.

  7. HOST AN INFORMAL INFORMATION NIGHT IN YOUR HOME OR AT YOUR PARISH FACILITY.
    Invite couples / priests to view a short video presentation titled Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend of Discovery. To attain the video, contact the coordinator of your community.

  8. HELP WITH THE SET-UP RESPONSIBILITIES FOR A WORLDWIDE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER.
    Your local community will set up for a Marriage Encounter during this year, join in the fun.

  9. JOIN THE SPIRITUAL TEAM FOR FUTURE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTERS.
    In community you will have the opportunity to become part of the Spiritual Team. Volunteer to be a prayer couple for the next Marriage Encounter by accepting the gift of being praying for a specific couple. Attend their Reunion and encourage them to join Community.

  10. GREET COUPLES / PRIESTS AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE NEXT MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER.
    Come and join in the excitement of greeting the newly encountered couples at the close of the Weekends.

The Guidelines for Sharing

  • Everyone will have the opportunity to share; no one has to share.

  • All that is shared in this room stays in this room, just like on the Weekend. Confidentiality and acceptance are what makes sharing so special and powerful in Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

  • Share for yourself only, not you and your spouse, or about your spouse or about what someone else has shared.

  • Share only what has been shared with your spouse first. Avoid big surprises. Avoid the temptation to use your sharing time to try to teach others in the group, or help them in any way.

  • Listening is as great a gift of self as sharing

    • Giving advice is the opposite of accepting someone’s sharing of self.

    • Don’t interrupt or comment on another’s sharing.

    • Sharing is not a time to teach, to judge, or even to help anyone else. “Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way,” might be meant as a kindness, but this is rejection and can turn off someone else’s sharing.

  • Husbands and wives do not necessarily share one after another unless they want to. Not sharing together can allow more careful listening.

  • Your sharing is a gift to your spouse as well as to others.

  • Let quiet pauses between sharing be a preparation time for the next speaker.

  • Don’t be put off if someone else shares essentially what you wanted to say. A sharing has just as much meaning coming from more than one, and YOUR spouse may need to hear it from you.


Guidelines for Fighting Fair

  • Remember that criticism and sarcasm wound people and destroy our capacity to belong to each other. Avoid criticism.

  • Avoid name-calling and character assassination.

  • Never fight when one or both of you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • It is a waste of time placing blame. Since you can't un-spill the milk, work at moving forward.

  • Avoid using absolutes, such as, "you always" or "you never" or "every time." They are not true.

  • Finish the fight. Even if there are tears, be sensitive, but do not walk away. Continue the fight for your relationship.

  • Do not bring in third parties. A parent, a friend, a person at work has no part in your confrontation. The real problem is often a miscommunication.

  • Stay physically close to each other. An affectionate touch helps each to know that there is nothing that cannot be worked out in love.

  • The issue under discussion is never as important as the two of you are. Being right is not as important as being in relationship.

  • Fight for clarification, not to win. If I "win" a fight then I'm sleeping with a loser



The Journey of Dialogue

Dialogue is the tool we use to share ourselves by sharing our feelings. By following some simple guidelines, we can make the most out of our dialogue.

  • Have you ever wondered if you're having a "successful" dialogue?

  • Have you ever wondered if you're still doing it "right"?

Well, maybe all you're needing is the keys to a successful dialogue.

Feelings
are the foundation of intimate communication. We all know how to share what we know or think, but those skills, while important, do not help us to adequately share ourselves with our spouse. It takes practice and patience to share our feelings.

We know the process for dialogue, and we understand the techniques for sharing our feelings. But, sometimes, it is a challenge to find that "just right" feeling word.

Dialogue is great! But, we need help in selecting our dialogue questions. The links to the left will take you to a web page where you can download a great collection of dialogue questions.
And while you're here, you might want to check out our random dialogue questions.

W.E.D.S. — Guidelines for Dialogue

WRITE...
Write your love letter to an already chosen question for 10 minutes. As you write, keep in mind the person to whom you are writing – your spouse. Write for the full 10 minutes. First, answer the question in two or three sentences sharing your thoughts. Then, reflecting on your answer, get in touch with your feelings. Write your feelings honestly, openly, and sincerely. Describe your feelings in a way that your spouse can relate.

EXCHANGE...
Silently and lovingly, exchange your love letter when you get together as a gift of yourselves to one another. Silently read each other's love letter twice - once for the head and once for the heart.

DIALOGUE...
Dialogue after you have read the letters twice. Decide which of you expressed the strongest feeling. Dialogue on that feeling for 10 minutes. Sit close to each other and give each other your full attention. Once you have exhausted all the ways to describe the feeling or 10 minutes is up, the dialogue should be brought to closure.

SELECT...

Select a question for the next day's dialogue now. Do not wait or it may not happen. Choose a question about things that are pertinent to your relationship. Take turns choosing questions.

Keys to a successful dialogue

  • Write and dialogue in "prime time" when you are alert and responsive.

  • Concentrate on your spouse by eliminating distractions when you write and when you dialogue.

  • Dialogue is for the sharing of feelings. Avoid the temptation to solve problems or reach a decision during dialogue.

  • Don't worry about your grammar or spelling. Just share yourself!

  • Share your now feelings. Avoid "garbage dumping" (bringing up old hurts).

  • Share about yourself using "I" or "me" messages, and avoid "you" messages.

  • What your spouse wrote, not how much they wrote, is what is important.

  • Dialogue is the time for loving acceptance, not for critical judgments or blaming (i.e. "you made me..." or "you didn’t...").

  • Listen actively while your spouse is sharing. Pay attention to their non-verbal signals.

  • Sharing your feelings is a gift to your spouse. Don't expect your spouse to change because you shared your feelings.

  • Spending the full dialogue time talking about and continuing to draw out and explore the feeling about which you have written.



What does the Weekend cost?

On the weekend, you will be asked to make a donation. This donation will cover the expenses of lodging, food, and materials for the Weekend. Ordinarily a non-refundable application fee of $25-$100 is required to confirm your application, food and lodging. There is limited capacity; so early application is encouraged. The application fee varies from area based on the local area lodging requirements.

No priest or couple is ever denied the chance to experience a Weekend because of financial difficulties. This concern should not influence your decision to attend a Marriage Encounter Weekend. Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a tax-exempt organization. The application fee can be waived based on financial need.
The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that donations made in connection with the Weekend, including the non-refundable deposit mentioned above, are deductible only to the extent that the contribution exceeds the amount of goods and services received. Information as to that amount will be given to couples attending the Weekend. Contributions made on or in connection with the Marriage Encounter weekend are made confidentially.

What are the start and stop times for the Weekend?

The Weekend normally starts around 7:30pm on Friday and ends around 5:00pm on Sunday. We provide all meals on Saturday and Sunday, but you will need to eat dinner prior to arriving on Friday.

Is there a specific religious focus to the Weekend?

Marriage Encounter does present God as a focus for successful Marriage. There are many faith expressions of Marriage Encounter Weekends - Catholic, as well as several Protestant denominations. While the Weekend may be presented in a given Faith expression, each is open to married couples with other religious beliefs. The opportunities of the Weekend go beyond the boundaries of any one expression.

Who is Worldwide Marriage Encounter for?

Any married couple who desires a richer, fuller life together. A marriage can never be too good. Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a marriage enrichment program, is designed to deepen and enrich the joys a couple share together, whether they have been married for only a short time, or for many years.

Priests and other religious are also welcome and encouraged to attend!

Does the Weekend respect the privacy of each couple?

YES! Absolutely!
The weekend is oriented strictly to each individual couple. You concentrate on your spouse to such an extent that you are hardly aware of the other couples present. The presentations are given to the group as a whole. After each presentation, the husband and wife have time in the privacy of their room for their own personal discussion. There is no group sharing on the weekend.

Give The Gift of Love

World Marriage Day honors husband and wife as head of the family; the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life.

The idea of celebrating marriage began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1981 when a group of couples decided to encourage their mayor, bishop and governor to proclaim St. Valentine's Day as "We Believe in Marriage Day". The event was so successful, the idea spread to other communities.

By 1982, 43 governors officially proclaimed the day and celebrations spread to U. S. Military bases in several foreign countries. In 1983, the name was changed to "World Marriage Day", designated to be each year on the second Sunday in February, and emphasis was placed on interfaith participation. World Marriage Day celebrations continue to grow and spread to more countries and faith expressions every year.

Click here to go to the national WWME World Marriage Day site.

Statement of Purpose

World Marriage Day honors the lifelong commitment of husband and wife as head of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of couple's fidelity, sacrifice, and joy in daily married life. The day elevates public awareness of the positive aspects of marriage.

 

World Priest Day

World Priest Day (WPD) is a celebration & affirmation of the men who commit their lives to the Lord and the Church via the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is an opportunity for Catholic parishioners to thank, affirm and share their love and support for our priests.

Each year, Worldwide Marriage Encounter sponsors World Priest Day on the 4th Sunday of October. World Priest Day focuses on celebrating the ongoing affirmation of priests as well as the relationships between couples and priests. It is a day, or several days, to rejoice in the Sacrament of Holy Orders. On this day, or during the week preceding or following it, Encountered couples in local communities across the country are encouraged to develop one or several experiences to affirm all priests (Encountered or not).

The “Starter Kit” is available on the WPD website. This “Starter Kit” suggests ways for a couple and a community to reach out to priests. Don’t limit yourself to what is contained in the kit. This is only a beginning of what can happen.


A Brief History

The first World Priest Day was celebrated on the third Sunday in September 2000. The event grew from an idea in September of 1998, when the Worldwide Marriage Encounter community in the Diocese of Knoxville, TN decided to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the diocese by honoring all of their priests. The bishop & priest were so appreciative that the leaders of the local WWME community shared the idea with the leaders of other communities in the Southeastern U.S. Some of those communities adopted the idea in 1999, and had such a positive experience that they brought the idea to the US Secretariat leadership board.

One year later, Worldwide Marriage Encounter officially established the third Sunday of September as World Priest Day. During the thirty-five years that Marriage Encounter has existed in the U.S., one of its gifts has been the wonderful relationships that have grown between countless couples and priests. This idea for honoring our priests came from the love and respect that has grown from those relationships. It predated the recent Church scandals, but we believe that building stronger relationships between priests and their people can rebuild our Church! We are together on our faith journey.

In 2003 WWME reached out to the full Church and invited other lay groups to join in the celebration of affirming the men who faithfully serve as our beloved priests. In June 2006 WWME changed World Priest Day to the last Sunday of October to coincide with Serra Club's Celebration of Priesthood Sunday.

 

Feeling Words and Questions

Feelings
http://stl-wwme.org/describe.htm
Words
http://stl-wwme.org/feelings.htm
Dialogue Questions
http://stl-wwme.org/download.htm
http://stl-wwme.org/dailydose.php



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pictureMarriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family --a domestic church.
John Paul II