Features of Better Marriages, Australia

Does Better Marriages, Australia have a model of marriage enrichment? Well, rather than referring to a Better Marriages model, it might be more accurate to say that there is a Better Marriages style or that there are distinctive elements which are promoted in leadership training and which characterize Better Marriages enrichment activities.

Experiential Learning:

Couples use their own experience for learning and the focus of any enrichment event is each couple’s own marriage. When information from outside sources is used in an event, couples are helped to take that information and apply it to their own experience.

Group Process:

Couples can help couples. Within a small group, couples can find an environment of safety, trust, and community. Small group process is used as a powerful tool to help couples gain a sense of “we are not in this boat alone;” to gain encouragement and motivation from other couples; to learn alternatives for handling issues common to most couples; and to gain hope or “inspiration” from hearing other couples talk about things that are meaningful in their marriage. Within the groups, there is no confrontation, analyzing, or prescribing — each person “speaks for self,” sharing his own experience and gives others support and encouragement.

Couple Dialogue:

Couples talking to each other about their relationship is central to Better Marriage’s approach to marriage enrichment. Dialogue between couples may occur privately or publicly. In “open” couple dialogue within a small group, couples, one at a time, talk together aloud in the presence of the group. Other couples may respond by their own open dialogue on the same or similar issue and by statements of identification and encouragement. The experience of each couple contributes to the enrichment of other couples.

Leader couples, married to each other, who are willing to share from their own marriage experience provide models, establish the climate of safety, openness, support, and sharing within the group. Leader couples make themselves vulnerable and demonstrate openness within the group. They “work for better marriages, beginning with their own.” Leaders come as participants and not as experts.

Positive, Growth Focus:

Enrichment is based on the assumption that each couple has strengths on which to build. Identifying these strengths and building on them is an essential element for an enrichment activity. Growth plans and agreements for specific action by each partner help couples make step-by-step progress toward the goals they set for their marriage.


Better Marriages, Australia as an organization is non-sectarian. In enrichment events, couples are encouraged to explore meaning and direction in all areas of their lives, as individuals and as partners. Developing the spiritual or faith dimension in marriage may be expressed through dialogue or in other more focused experiences.