Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What is M.E.?

For over two decades, families in the CNMI have undergone positive, life-changing transformations through Marriage Encounter (M.E.).  How? It’s simple. M.E. is based on offering married couples the gifts of enhanced communication, renewed commitment and rekindled romance.

Marriage Encounter starts with a Weekend at a hotel, away from everyday distractions, tensions and commitments including work, children, relatives, sports and TV/multi-media.  In our daily lives, we rarely spend enough quality time with our spouses as our responsibilities to provide ends’ meet, care for our children and elderly parents, overwhelm our schedules.  The M.E. Weekend is a constructive and personal experience offering married couples an opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives. It’s a time to share their feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.

The emphasis of the M.E. Weekend is on the communication between husbands and wives. The Weekend provides a conducive environment for couples to spend time together, encouraging them to focus on each other and their relationship. It’s not a retreat, marriage clinic or substitute for counseling. Couples are not required to share anything with anyone else. It’s a unique approach aimed at revitalizing marriage so it truly is a marriage enrichment program.

Honestly, the biggest reason couples shy away from joining the M.E. Weekend is because they fear change.  For many couples who have been married 10+ years, routine has set in, and life may seem dull and busy, yet comfortable.  Comfort is substituted for passion and date nights are relegated to a special occasion, occurring once in blue moon. Marriage is something that’s easy to join but often times challenging to maintain.  Many couples don’t hesitate to put in an extra few hours at work for a big deadline or project, or wake up early to watch that game on ESPN or practice a favorite sport like golf, biking or baseball, but how much extra effort do they contribute to the health of their marriages? It’s common sense that professional athletes need to dedicate arduous training time to their sport in order to improve and enhance their performance. If marriage is like a sport, how much time do husbands and wives devote to the most important person in their lives to ensure that their marriage relationships are in tip-top shape? Strangely, most people don’t think that they need to work on their marriages. The reality is that all marriages deserve the best.

The next CNMI M.E. Weekend is on 19~21 October 2012 at the newly renovated Kanoa Resort in Susupe. The cost is $100 per couple.

Why do M.E.? (FAQ’s) Many couples are naturally hesitant to join the M.E. Weekend because they are unfamiliar with the program. Following are some answers to the most asked questions.

Q: Why should my spouse and I do M.E. if we have a good marriage and have no problems?
A: M.E. is suited for all couples, even for those who have good marriages because there are natural peaks and valleys in the cycle of marriage. There will come a time when something happens and you’ll both need to face that disillusionment together. With M.E.’s communication techniques, you’ll be able to resolve those issues and get through the hurdles, rather than sweep them under the carpet.

Q. Will we need to air our “dirty laundry” in front of others?
A. No, not at all! Of course, couples may share if they’re so inclined, but it’s not expected. In fact, M.E wouldn’t exist if couples had to disclose intimate matters publicly.

Q. I want to do M.E. but my spouse doesn’t. What can I do?
A. This is often the case where one spouse is interested and the other is not. Explain that M.E. is just one weekend away from home that you need to rejuvenate yourself and that you want to do it for the health of your relationship.  Ask for it as a birthday/anniversary/early Christmas gift!

Q. How much religion is involved?
A. In Saipan, the CNMI Marriage Encounter organization falls under the Catholic Church so there is a presenting priest and the topic of God’s role in marriage is mentioned.  The topic of religion does not overwhelm the presentation.

Q. Do I have to be Catholic to attend?
A. No, the Worldwide Marriage Encounter requires that each Weekend be divided among Catholics and other religions. Anyone is welcome, regardless of any church affiliation.

Q. Do I have to be married in a church to qualify?
A. No, you do not need to be married in a church. You just need to be legally married.

Q. Do I have to be married a minimum amount of years?
A. Yes, the Worldwide Marriage Encounter requires a minimum of two years of marriage.

Q. What is involved in an M.E. Weekend?
A. Weekends begin on Friday evening and end on Sunday evening.  Two nights’ accommodation and meals starting Saturday morning are included.

Q. How much is it to join the M.E. Weekend?
A. $100 per couple for two nights’ accommodation and six meals to help defray the costs of the Weekend.

Q. Will I have to change after I do M.E.?
A. No, no one can make you change unless you yourself want to. Typically, you will want to make some changes in your marriage because of your deep love for your spouse.

Q. How can I join the next M.E. Weekend?
A. Space is limited to 20 couples. Submit an application form and payment to Lynn Muña at 287-2102 or