Marriage Builders®
Posted By: BCboy Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/07/10 08:29 PM
I am wondering if anyone can assist me in finding a course that can be taught to a group of approximately 12 to 16 people.

The situation:
I was helping out at a Divorce Care class. A couple came in looking for advice on proceeding to Divorce. Every person in the class responded by saying they need to work on their marriage and recover it if at all possible. They said they spent thousands on counseling and were frustrated they were not able to restore their marriage.

I suggested them getting FIL SIL and His Needs Her Needs. After they left the pastor asked if I knew where we could get a course explaining MB principles as he sees a great need for it. He really liked the approach MB espouses and is looking to have the course run 2 or 3 times a year if we can find one.

I looked on line but it looked like the courses are for individuals. Does anyone know if there is any material that can facilitate group sessions that explains MB principles? The hope is to increase the number of Marriage enhancement courses in hopes of reducing the need for Divorce Care classes.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Mark1952 teaches this course at his church along with BobPure and BigKahuna. I will shoot out some emails so they see this.

Check the Bookstore on this site again. Look for "Effective Marriage Counseling"
emails have been sent!
Posted By: markos Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/07/10 09:13 PM
Fall in Love Stay in Love is probably your best textbook for the course. I don't know of any that would be a good teacher's guide, and I think you'd most have to figure that out on your own.

I would run it as a book discussion on Fall in Love Stay in Love and encourage people who want more in depth study to get Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs and the workbook. In fact I might run an "advanced, part 2" class with those books.

In fact, you might want to use Fall in Love Stay in Love and the workbook...

You might also look into Family Dynamics Institute which has developed some courses that use Dr. Harley's books as source material.
Posted By: Gamma Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/07/10 10:16 PM
BC boy,

. They said they spent thousands on counseling and were frustrated they were not able to restore their marriage.

Funny, my W was just talking with a friend who said the same thing, and ultimately the couple seems headed for divorce.

I think like many consultants, they are more interested in a paycheck then helping people in need, if they can keep a couple hooked for 3 years think of the money.

BC boy send em here, I can't say they will get the same mileage I did, but within 1 month of reading here my marriage was 500% better for FREE!

God Bless

Posted By: BCboy Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 02:24 AM
Originally Posted by markos
You might also look into Family Dynamics Institute which has developed some courses that use Dr. Harley's books as source material.

Thank you for this information. I had a quick look at it and it may be what the pastor is looking for. It looks like they even have a contact in Canada.

Much appreciated.
Posted By: Mark1952 Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 03:31 PM

For an introductory class, FILSIL, broken into multiple sessions to deal with the inherent breaks within the text is great as an informational class. This will help those who might be doing pretty well to keep going and those who are OK get better.

As I used the book it will not however reach those couples with serious problems without significant follow up work by someone sitting with them face to face and continuing to drill the concepts home with them. This will take a significant time period.

In most churches, like society at large, there are pretty much three groups of married folk. The most likely group to succeed at marriage are those that are proactive in making the marriage grow and improve. These people attend seminars, weekend retreats, read books, do devotionals together and are the most likely to have "date nights" and such to keep the marriage alive and growing in a healthy manner. The percentage of marriages in this group falls between 20 and 25 percent depending on whose numbers you use and where the line at the bottom end of the group gets drawn.

The FILSIL class with some directed questions and such will reach the vast majority of this group. Some may pursue the HNHN/LB/5Steps workbook route and perhaps even get interested in helping other couples. Out of 25 couples or so, you might get 1 or 2 real converts to MB. The good news is that these couples will then model it so that others can learn it.

The next group is the group with between 50 and 60 percent according to most studies. This group is at risk for marital meltdown. The problem is that they don't know it. They live the marriage they believe is the marriage that is supposed to be with independent hobbies and activities, lots of stuff involving the kids, extra hours at work to pay for it etc. Both are bored, somewhat disheartened over the broken expectations of what marriage should have been like and have just settled into a routine that is more or less the melding of the ideas of what marriage should be like based on their experience with the marriages of their parents, at least the way they perceived those marriages to be as they remember from their childhood.

The FILSIL class I teach will help many of these couples. Out of 50 couples, you will get the same number of true converts to doing things differently as in the already proactive group. The thing is, you might also give several people the tools they need for the crisis in their marriage that is impending and just a matter of time before they find out what it is going to be. Most will remain oblivious and still have that crisis at some point.

The final group of 20 - 25 percent of all couples fall into the category of already being in a crisis situation. Either one or both has already had an affair, is currently having one or things have deteriorated to the point that both are living their lives in a state of Withdrawal. Any conflict gets avoided since they have no way to deal with conflict and so nothing ever gets resolved and they are a divorce looking for the trigger. MANY of these couples are in counseling. They meet with the pastor and with a counselor weekly. They get sent to weekend retreats. They
even make a show of being united in some cases when in public, but they are headed for total meltdown at their earliest convenience.

A FILSIL class spread over several weeks will have little to no effect on these couples. Their course will not change based on information alone. What these couples need is an intervention, not an education. This is where someone with real training and skill can make all the difference. As much as us wannabe counselors would love to be able to help, the best thing we can do for these couples is get them to someone that can get all up in their grilles and break the cycle they are in before it is too late. MB still needs to be applied, but this bunch needs a truckload of 2X4s before the first lesson. Old stuff needs dealing with. Resentment needs to be hauled away by the truckload. Years of not just neglect but serious addictions, abuse or totally dysfunctional ways of doing things need to be undone. In many cases in this group, one or both are involved in an affair currently or have had multiple affairs in the past and the BS is aware of those affairs.

So a simple class based on any books is not likely to make much difference. If however, these couples can be turned around, it is where the largest group of converts to a new way of doing things is likely to come from. These folks go on to lead classes, teach others, become involved and proactive not just in helping their own marriages but others as well. Look at all of us here, for example.

An 8 to 12 week class is going to reach very few of these people. It MIGHT turn around 1 in 25 to make other methods of counseling more effective in the long term by giving couples a glimpse of how a marriage *can* work if certain things are used. If these people can get into a program, either counseling by someone that is fully on board with MB or someone adept at breaking cycles of addiction and long term habits that need to change, success can be very high. Those methods need to be intensive "in your face" kinds of things though and so are not your typical setting.

FDI uses Dr Harley's materials in a weekend workshop for these couples by the way. They provide significant follow up and support and seem to have about a 3/4 save rate on these marriages. Many couples in this bunch go on to actively work in other FDI programs including some that now teach those that are being certified to lead the other classes.

Such was the case of the couple that lead our facilitator workshop this past June. They had a divorce hearing that was pending in less than 30 days. Both had affairs, one ongoing at the time and someone at a local church talked them into trying one last thing before letting go of the marriage. After a weekend workshop, the ongoing affair ended, the divorce was postponed and through counseling and some additional education this couple now teaches the teachers of the class designed for the top 75%. They are not involved in the weekend seminars which are led by MA and PHD level folks.

The class Markos mentioned is the one that my wife and I went to training for in June. It is called Dynamic Marriage and uses HNHN, Love Busters and 5 Steps workbooks in a class that consists of 8 sessions. It examines the Love Bank model, helps couples identify ENs and Love Busters, addresses how to develop a strategy to overcome specific Love Busters (all right from Dr Harley's books) and then goes on to examine related ENs as naturally paired in HNHN. (SF/Affection; RC/Conversation; O&H/Physical Attractiveness; FS/DS; FC/Admiration) The final class is amazing to watch as couples recommit to each other, promise to care for each other and often leave hand in hand when 9 weeks earlier some of the people came kicking and screaming into the pre-session.

FDI also has a follow up class that any couple that has taken the DM class can lead. This class lasts 12 weeks and runs 45 minutes to an hour each week. The DM class is sessions of 2 1/2 hours each with one pre-session of an hour or so.

DM also includes significant amounts of scripture and one foundational part is teaching couples to pray together each day. It also uses a set of CDs and an in-house workbook. It is scriptural based enough that nonbelievers feel somewhat uncomfortable in the class. They quickly get over the fear of not fitting in and are allowed to skip answering questions regarding their prayer life together or how various scriptural passages explain or relate to the Love Bank model. I had one such couple in my recent class.

Statistics from before and after surveys for the DM class now include over 70000 couples.

What a simple FILSIL class can do for a church is a couple of things that are quite important going forward. It establishes a leadership group or couple for marriage ministry and it sets in motion enough interest in the MB materials that can turn into significant inertia. It gives people an introduction to the Basic Concepts. Those in that top 25% will benefit. Some of the middle 50% will be helped and others will know where to turn when they have their future meltdowns. The requirements to lead such a class are a desire to help marriages flourish and a good understanding of MB concepts. Teaching methods can be learned. MB methods can be taught. Passion for marriages (not just your own marriage partner) must be there for the program to have success.

If leaders need to be sold on the whole idea, they might be ot of touch with reality. If they are reluctant to let someone not in leadership to lead the ministry, they need another kind of adjustment in thinking. If they have a top-down style of leadership, then only if they have their own marital crisis will they get on board. If they are too wrapped up in formal education, there will likely never be a program established.

Churches need empowering leadership, not just empowered leadership. Leadership is present in any church. What changes is the adjective that describes it. Churches that make leaders grow. Those that are led, whither and die Some grow in numbers at first, but unless people are being trained to do the work of the church, the church isn't fulfilling its primary function. See the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation to see what the eventual outcome for those churches might be.

Good program for church growth over all is Natural Church Development. The principals are also applicable to marriage ministry and even to marriage itself. The website has an online seminar for free if you want to listen. (13 languages currently available)
Posted By: markos Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 04:31 PM
Here is an old thread with some valuable information from the second Marriage Builders class Mark did with his church:

There's also some very valuable discussion about how to lead such a discussion:
Posted By: markos Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 04:34 PM
Also, exciting news for churches wanting to study Marriage Builders: next year Dr. Harley is going to be publishing a new book, a "His Needs, Her Needs devotional guide." (I'm not sure what the real title will be.) Marriage Builders is Biblically-based, but the principles are secularized: Dr. Harley describes his approach as applying Biblical marriage principles in such a way that they can be used by anybody for a better marriage, not just those who believe the Bible. But this book is announced as explaining the Scriptural underpinnings of the Marriage Builders program.

I think that could be extremely valuable to a church wanting to help marriages with proven and Biblical principles.
Posted By: BCboy Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 05:19 PM
Thank you for such an insightful and thorough response. I will be sharing this information with the pastor.

Thank you for the links.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Hopefully we can impact the direction some lives with these courses.
Posted By: Mark1952 Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 05:28 PM
For an example of how biblical principles and MB come together, look at this passage from Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
26 He also said, �This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain�first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.�

Clearly speaking to farmers in this chapter, since the entire chapter is about farming topics, Jesus is using what they understand to get them to understand a more fundamental principle than just something to follow as a way of life. If you look, he says that whether the farmer gets up early or sleeps late, the seed grows, implying that something else is at work here besides just hard work by the farmer. It isn't about working harder but in providing the right things for the seed to grow. He had already addressed how some seed doesn't grow because certain conditions aren't met and now seems to be saying that only the sowing is what matters.

But what he is really getting at is that if the right things are present, the seed will grow and it isn't the farmer's intent as to whether or not that happens. If the right nutrients are in the soil, the proper amount of water shows up at the right times and weather doesn't cause the crop to fail by getting too cold too soon or such things as that, the seed is going to grow almost as if the farmer had no part in it at all.

Of course farmers understand the need for preparing the ground and providing the proper things for the seed to begin to grow. They apply fertilizer, try to prevent weeds from overtaking the crops and monitor the weather. In some cases, crops such as oranges might require actions be taken to prevent damage by things that would cause the crop to fail. See what orange growers in Texas and Florida go through to save their crops when a freeze appears.

Dr Harley has identified the specific things that make a marriage grow. Emotional needs and all the rest can be summed up into his four promises we make to each other when we get married. They are Care, Protection, Time and Honesty. If those things are present, the marriage grows...

All by itself.

ENs are really the basic nutrients that romantic love needs to grow. Love Busters are those things that would stunt the growth or cause damage to the relationship and cause it to die. POJA and PORH are methods of ensuring that all is being done to protect the marriage that can be done. POUA is really the work that is put into the relationship. If these things are present then the marriage WILL grow. If they are not there, then the seeds of marriage will not produce.

Another thing to consider is this. The ultimate fruit of an apple tree is not an apple. It is another apple tree. Good marriages might abound but remain beneficial only to those in them. Great marriages become examples of what can be had by anyone if they ensure that the proper things are present in the relationship. Others will not only see it happen, but can learn from those in great marriages what it takes to make a marriage grow.

The first to see what a great marriage can do are the children that result from that marriage...

Another biblical principle at work in MB is found in John 5 where we read about the man who is lying beside the pool of Bethesda. Tradition in those days said that at times an angel would be sent by God to enter the pool. When that happened, the waters would be "stirred" and those who saw it would take action to get into the pool before the stirring had subsided. The first one into the pool would be healed of whatever happened to be his sickness. It didn't matter what that illness was, God would heal him.

Now Jesus encounters a man who has been lying beside that pool for many years. He asks the man if he wants to get well. The man begins to explain how he is helpless to get into the water alone and how others always get there first. He has a lot valid reasons why he hasn't been healed. But that isn't what Jesus asked him. He asked if he WANTED to get well.

When an infection was trying to eat the flesh from my body, the solution was to cut a gaping hole in my side. The answer to the problem caused even more pain, a protracted stay in the hospital and eventually another surgery to cut a piece of good flesh from elsewhere to fill the hole in my chest. I would have preferred to take a magic pill and be healed, but that wasn't going to save my life. There are no magic pills.

So when a marriage is broken and sick, the first question to answer is, "Do you want to get well?" It doesn't matter why it is sick or who is to blame or why it hasn't been healed already. The question is, "Do you want to get well?" If the answer is "Yes" then look at the passage in Mark 4 again to see what makes a marriage healthy.

The thing to remember about principles is that they are universally applicable. Methodology aside, the basic premise can be applied to all and not just a specific person or event. Methodology can be anything from planting seeds to ensuring that we only plant in soil that will allow the seed to grow and produce what we are looking for. Some got healed by entering the pool. One man was healed by a direct miracle that never happened before or since. The method wasn't what was in question, simply the principle of wanting to be well.

That's enough...

I can do this all day once I get started.grin
Come on, Mark. When are you really going to open up and share?? laugh
Posted By: markos Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 05:45 PM
Originally Posted by Mark1952
The ultimate fruit of an apple tree is not an apple. It is another apple tree.

Somebody's been listening closely to his Natural Church Growth program, I see. smile
Posted By: Mark1952 Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 06:14 PM
That's the thing about principles, Markos. They apply everywhere.
Hey Mark and BCBoy, another great free resource is the Marriage Builders radio program. They can access it via the internet every day. They can email questions to Mrs Harley and she will read the question to Dr Harley on air. They send you a free book for doing this.

You can access the shows on this website or listen to the full show archives at here
Posted By: markos Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 06:54 PM
Agree. The value of the Marriage Builders radio program cannot be overstated.

Especially for people who don't want to read, and I hear that described here as a common issue. (Usually it's the husband who doesn't like to read, but sometimes it is the wife.)

Fall in Love, Stay in Love is also available as an audiobook. In fact, I haven't read it, but I've listened to it about 2 1/2 times.
Posted By: Mark1952 Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/08/10 07:58 PM
The radio show also helps clarify some of those subtle things that often get overlooked at times.

Dr Harley really quite often says things to a caller or someone with an email question directly that at first does not seem to fit the conventional wisdom. He seems pretty willing to make adjustments to advice based on certain circumstances.

That does not however contradict his overall program. The basic concepts stand no matter what the circumstances. Specific things are addressed in the MB program that apply to Marriage. Nuances of application to a marriage might vary greatly.

If a couple is struggling with a piece of the program it might be due to multiple reasons or one single reason. Dr Harley is really good at identifying those reasons and coming up with a plan to address the issues at hand.

What makes the MB thing work is the Love Bank model based on one premise alone; that is, when we are married, what we do affects our spouse either to enhance the relationship or to its detriment. What is so fascinating if you think about, it is that Dr Harley built his model based on observation and his clinical work. Others have since begun to look at romantic love and other emotions and where and how they happen in the brain. This new research supports Dr Harley's model without any data being ignored or modification of the model to make the data fit.

BTW, Markos, it's called Natural Church Development and the newest book is called Color Your World with Natural Church Development. I read the original book 4 or 5 years ago but we just got around to looking seriously at the way it works this year. We just got back the results of the surveys that our congregants took a month ago with statistical reports to show us where we are weakest so we can address those things. Sort of like doing the ENQ and LBQ to find out what is required to move in the right direction.

BCB, let me know if there is anything I can do to help you sell the idea to church leadership.

Posted By: BCboy Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/09/10 03:39 AM
Thank you Mark. I appreciate your approach and insight.
Posted By: Mark1952 Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/09/10 08:16 PM

You know how to reach me if you need help in selling it, so don't hesitate to get in touch with me.
Posted By: BCboy Re: Help - Looking for MB course to present - 12/10/10 03:12 AM
You are a good man Mark. I appreciate the offer. I don't think there will be too much of a difficulty in getting the the pastor to get the course as he asked me to do some research on what was available.

Right now it looks like the Family Dynamics Institute course might be the best route for now. It seems to be set up for facilitation and has a leader guide.

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