Whether you lead a couples group or a group of women or men only, if one of your goals is to strengthen marriages and families, you will need to make sure you do several things:
Get Small. A huge group or Sunday school class might be an adequate vehicle for delivering lots of good information to couples, but it will not naturally facilitate open sharing of difficult marital/family issues. Once your group gets beyond 10-12 people (5-6 couples), it is wise to break into smaller groups.
Get Together. Frequent interaction is a must. A group that does not log much time together is never really going to bond. Also, if people do not feel connected to and comfortable with each other, they will never…
Get Real. Work to create a safe environment where group members feel the freedom to talk honestly about tough marriage issues and serious family concerns. Pray for healthy transparency. More importantly, take a risk and model this authenticity yourself. It is amazing to watch God change lives over time as Christians gather together in love, refuse to pretend, depend on His Spirit, and look in His Word.
Get Creative. Create assorted settings where couples can be together learning, discussing, and having fun. Cook out. Have movie nights. Occasionally, get the men to watch the kids so the women can have a night off…and get out together! If you're really adventurous and want to see "up close and personal" the marriage/family dynamics of your group members, camp out together—kids and all! Over the life of the group, take turns sending couples to weekend marriage conferences or workshops (the rest of the group can tag-team watching the couple's children). We have a small group in our church where the husbands and wives meet separately three weeks out of the month studying marriage issues (Note: This solves their childcare dilemma!) Then, once a month these couples purchase childcare (either individually or in a kind of "co-op" setting) and go on a group date or eat potluck. They love it!
Get Serious. Encourage each group member to set some measurable, achievable marriage and family goals. Share these with each other. Commit to pray for each other and provide healthy accountability.
Get Ready. There is no telling what might happen as you work to strengthen the marriages and families of your group members. The enemy will surely attack you and attempt to discourage you. You will probably feel confused at times. Rejoice! God has promised you his grace and strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). And He has pledged a good harvest if you do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9-10).