Marriage Maven's News & Views

 Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW   February 2017
Stretching Awesome — in Yoga and Marriage
I’m a big fan of yoga. It improves posture and flexibility. It enhances our mental state so we’re more centered, intuitive, and accepting of what comes our way. It purifies us mentally, cleansing our minds of the negative aspects of our thought patterns.       

This is all wonderful on an individual level.

How about when it comes to relating to your “significant other?” Can you imagine how good it would feel to have a way to keep clearing the decks, to regularly clean up the mental and emotional clutter that tends to accrue in close relationships?

Actually, you can do this by holding a weekly marriage meeting with your partner. Spouses who are able to hold effective marriage meetings increase romance, intimacy, and teamwork. They deal with issues promptly and smoothly, usually arriving at win-win solutions.

What's a Marriage Meeting?
A marriage meeting is a short, gentle conversation with a simple, loosely structured agenda.

The meetings provide a simple way for today’s busy, often overextended couples to improve their marriage. They work through challenges by committing to meeting with each other once a week without distractions.

The agenda is followed in this sequence: 
  1.  Express appreciation and gratitude for each other. 
  2. Coordinate chores and responsibilities for the coming week. 
  3. Plan fun “together” time as a couple, such as date nights and vacations.
  4. Address and work through problems and challenges.
I’ve been teaching the marriage meeting program for over 18 years to couples (married, engaged, or committed) and to therapists. Follow-up studies of couples who continued to hold the meetings after participating in one of my Marriage Meeting workshops show that virtually all of them gained a significant increase in marital happiness.

Marriage Meetings and Yoga
It takes willpower and discipline to add a new routine to an already busy life. Being willing to change and to create change are qualities that inspire you to join a yoga class and move your body in new ways. Similarly, it can feel like a stretch to converse with your partner differently from your usual way; by using guidelines, agenda, and positive communication skills.

Yet doing so reaps huge benefits. Many basically healthy couples can decrease the need for and cost of therapy, or eliminate it totally, by establishing this simple routine on their own.

After holding marriage meetings for a few months, one wife stated that the meetings improved her marriage by 100 percent. She said, "I learned that it's much better to communicate with intention than to communicate without intention. It took several meetings for us to get used to the structure. It felt contrived at first but became comfortable after several meetings."

Book Tells How 
Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, gives guidelines and step-by-step instructions for holding Marriage Meetings. If your marriage is already good, marriage meetings will keep it thriving. If you are facing unusual challenges, the meetings can help the two of you get back on track.

By following this program, couples find that they have a safe forum in which to air grievances or bring up sticky subjects, such as career changes or frustrations with the amount of housework that needs to be done.

They become more flexible, creative, and resourceful as they stretch themselves into a great way to reconnect every week.

As a therapist, I’ve found that some couples who are not yet ready to hold the meetings on their own can succeed when I coach them through the process. 

Communication Skills Enrich Other Relationships
The positive communication skills prescribed for marriage meetings are also effective for other relationships, at work or at school, and with family members, friends, and others.

Marriage and relationship educator Sarah Karmely has been successfully counseling brides-to-be for over twenty years. Her advice to all: “Hold a weekly meeting with your husband. Ideally, start holding the meetings before the wedding, so you’ll get off to a good start for making them a habit.”  

About Being Proactive

Of course, it's never too late to begin using this proactive approach. If you and you partner are already holding these meetings, congratulations!  

If you're not holding marriage meetings yet, or if you want to use new positive communication skills with anyone, how about stretching a bit? The results can be awesome.
 Above image via Bigstock.      
Perfect February 14th Gift
Bestseller Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted is a warm, practical guide for engaged, newlywed, long married couples, marriage minded singles, and anyone who wants great relation-ships. Now available in bookstores, through New World Library, and online through Amazon  and Barnes and Noble.   
Knitty Mama's 5 Star Review:     
"The How to Talk So Kids Will Listen of marriage books "
                            --Knitty Mama

"I thought I knew everything about marriage and communication. We've done counseling a few times. I've read a bazillion books. What this book did for our marriage is similar to what How to Talk So Kids Will Listen did for our parenting. Yes, it's nice to know what you're supposed to do, but most books leave it there. You have to figure it out on your own. This book walks you through step by step HOW to do it.

"Make sure you aren't giving up until you've done weekly meetings for at least 6-8 weeks. That's how long it took us to move from it feeling forced and weird to it feeling like a fun way to connect. Because it actually does help you connect with your partner.

"We're now doing family meetings using the same technique and my kids LOVE them."

(Reviewed on Amazon)

Services and Programs

Therapy and Counseling for individuals and couples. More information here.

For couples, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love; for single women, Marry with Confidence.

Executive Coaching

Keynote Speaker
Marcia Naomi Berger is a keynote speaker and presenter at meetings, conferences, trainings, and retreats, including the Lake Tahoe Shabbaton June 23–25, 2017. More information here.  

Marriage Meetings 24/7
click here

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Professional Education and Training Center offers this one-hour online class you can take any time: The Marriage Meeting Program: A Strength-Based Approach for Successful 21st Century Relationships. Professionals earn one continuing education unit. All welcome!

Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, is the author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relation-ship You’ve Always Wanted.  You can see her on Mosaic TV show talking about her inspiration for and process of writing this book.                                                                       

  Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW   

For more information about marriage meeting coaching and other services, email mnaomiberger(at)gmail(dot) com or phone 415-491-4801.  

We Value Your Comments 

Many thanks to Linda Bloom, Gary Gross, Ruth Schuler, and Audrey Moira Shimkas for commenting on the January 2017 issue of this newsletter, featuring the article: "Hooray for Marriage Mentors!"

Your suggestions and comments are welcome. Anonymous ones are fine too. You can see past issues of Marriage Maven's News & Views and subscribe here

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Copyright © 2017 Marcia Naomi Berger, All rights reserved.

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