A Couple Enrichment Growth Group is a group of couples who have committed to meeting regularly for mutual support and accountability. Given the intimacy of our relationships, there is the need for care in establishing a growth group. The following guidelines are just guidelines, not rules; however, each question should be considered carefully before a group is formed.
For further assistance in forming a Growth Group, please contact us.
What prerequisites are there for joining a group?
Each couple should have attended at least a day-long Couple Enrichment workshop in the recent past. This is to ensure a common grounding in the guidelines and practice of couple dialogue.
How many couples constitute a group?
Between 4 and 8 couples. Given that it is unlikely that every couple can make it every month, it is important to have enough couples for each meeting to be viable.
Where does a group meet?
There are a number of options: a central common space, such as a meetinghouse; rotation among the homes of the participating couples; perhaps rotating through 2 or 3 homes if some homes do not have the space to host (or there are other issues such as child care or allergies involved); or online.
What happens during a meeting of the group?
The format for a 90 - 120 minute group can look like this:
Each couple shares the state of their relationship, either to one another witnessed by the rest of the group or to the group (decide one or the other)
Facilitating couple brings a question, issue, or activity relevant to their relationship (see also Activities on our Resource page)
Time is given for each couple to reflect on what has been brought and whether they wish to have a witnessed dialogue
Witnessed dialogues -- not all couples need to dialogue each meeting. Each couple should dialogue at least once every 3 months.
Who facilitates the group?
So that the onus of facilitation does not fall on the shoulders of just one couple, couples should rotate facilitation through all couples of the group.
What are the responsibilities of the facilitating couple?
To prepare and hold the space for the group; bring a topic, question, or exercise; and to keep track of time, particularly to allow for at least 2 or 3 dialogues.
The group should decide whether the facilitating couple is also responsible for sending out reminders of time/location, or whether one person will take on this role for the group.
Is the group open or closed?
The group needs to be closed to encourage safety, deepen intimacy, and provide confidentiality. However, a group will quickly dissolve if there is not a graceful way to exit the group and for new couples to join. Also, sometimes a closed group can engender mistrust or even envy within a larger fellowship.
One way to manage this balance between being closed and being open is for each couple to commit to being in the group for a defined period, e.g. 6 months. After 6 months, each couple can say whether they are able and wish to commit to a further 6 months. If a couple drops out, the group can then decide whether it is ready to invite a new couple into the group.
New members of the group would be expected to have also completed a couple enrichment event and understand the basics of the witnessed Couple Dialogue process. The initial group might know of such people and extend a personal invitation, or might simply make an announcement in their community that interested couples should contact them. A way to ensure having couples interested in joining an ongoing group is to periodically host a couple enrichment workshop. Just contact Friends Couple Enrichment at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find a leader couple to facilitate an event.