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Encyclopedia > Marriage Encounter

Marriage Encounter (M.E.) is a weekend program designed to help married couples improve their marriage, grow closer to each other, and improve a couple's commitment to and relationship with each other. Originally a Catholic marriage renewal program, Marriage Encounters are now offered by a variety of Protestant, Jewish, as well as Catholic groups. Most all of them are open to couples of any or no religious persuasion. “Matrimony” redirects here. ...

The programs are very structured and designed for maximum effectiveness. They begin on a Friday evening and conclude Sunday afternoon. Although they are not retreats in the classical sense, everyone stays the entire time at the hotel or other lodging facility where the program takes place. Meals are provide on-site.

The leaders, called a Presenting Team, typically consists of three highly trained married lay couples and a clergy person or couple (priest at Catholic M.E. weekends). The leaders invest considerable effort in providing couples a distraction-free weekend.

Over the course of the weekend, attending couples are introduced to a pattern of high-level mutual respect and methods of healthy couple communication that will serve them for their entire married life. The couples are encouraged to include God in their life together. Organizers say that a Marriage Encounter is not a traditional retreat, marriage clinic, group sensitivity training, or a substitute for counseling. Team members, though well trained in the materials they teach, are not marriage counselors. Couples should not come expecting to receive any personal counseling, though many of the same benefits remarkably come through the relatively anonymous activities. Look up Communication in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Look up retreat in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article refers to interpersonal or mental health counseling. ...

A further attraction of Marriage Encounter weekends is the opportunity for M.E. alumni couples to meet periodically for renewal get-togethers later.



The Marriage Encounter movement began in 1952 in Barcelona, Spain, as a Catholic marriage renewal program in Spain. It was known as the Encuentro Conjugal and founded by Father Gabriel Calvo,[1] a Diocesean Laborer priest. Fr. Calvo and a group of "encountered" Spanish couples first brought Marriage Encounter to the United States in 1966 [2]. The first M.E. Weekend in English was held on the University of Notre Dame campus in summer 1967. A national organization was founded in 1969.

In the early 1970s, Marriage Encounter split into two separate Catholic organizations.

  • The original group that continued more in the tradition of Father Calvo became National Marriage Encounter, based in Minneapolis.[3].
  • An alternative group, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, was founded in New York City under the direction of Father Charles ("Chuck") Gallagher, a Jesuit priest [4].

The programs presented by National Marriage Encounter and Worldwide Marriage Encounter are similar, with the latter being more structured, presentation formats more standardized, and greater concern for its mission of renewal of the Roman Catholic church. Both organizations seek to elicit positive change in marriages, and in turn to help change the world by preparing and motivating couples and priests to be open and outreaching as they continue to strengthen their own relationships.

It is estimated that more than 5 million couples in 97 countries have attended a Marriage Encounter[5]

Other "Expressions"

While the program began in the Catholic church, both National Marriage Encounter and Worldwide Marriage Encounter organizations have provided generous assistance to help in the formation of Marriage Encounter expressions for other "specific faith believing communities." In addition to Catholic M.E. groups, today there are many Marriage Encounter organizations affiliated with Protestant denominations and nondenominational groups. There is a Jewish Marriage Encounter as well. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

Similar programs

Similar programs, called Engaged Encounter and Pre-Cana Encounter, are available to couples considering marriage.

Priests and avowed Religious are also encouraged to attend Catholic Marriage Encounter weekends. The same principles of love, commitment and communication that help married couples stay together can be applied by the priest or Religious to his or her parish or community. Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Marriage Encounter - definition of Marriage Encounter in Encyclopedia (303 words)
Marriage Encounter is a weekend program designed to help married couples improve their marriage and solve problems before they escalate into divorce.
The Worldwide Marriage Encounter organization operates on a mission of renewal in the Catholic church and seeks to change the world by assisting couples and priests to develop fully intimate and responsible relationships.
Organizers say that a Marriage Encounter is not a retreat, marriage clinic, group sensitivity training, or a substitute for counseling, though elements of these are included in the program.
  More results at FactBites »



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