Marriage-Friendly Small Groups

Several tips to help your small group towards the goal of strengthening marriages and families.

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 ...

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