Mark and Leonie Lane live in Bournemouth with their two teenage daughters. I was delighted to interview Mark and Leonie who are extremely enthusiastic about their experience leading a Together group with other couples in their church.
Tell me how you got started…
M: Our involvement with Family Life began when Leonie’s brother hosted A Day Together (ADT) in Wimborne and we caught the vision for enriching marriages. We have since gone on to host ADT at our church in Bournemouth and from that a Together group was formed.
How did you feel about leading a Together group?
L: We have been involved with home group leadership for the past 12 years so didn’t feel daunted about leading the Together group; in fact I felt quite excited! I was keen to go deeper into seeing what God had to say about marriage and explore how we could get the best out of our relationship.
M: After attending ADT and enriching our marriage I was more than happy to put ourselves forward to become group leaders for running a Together course.
Tell us what it was like to lead the group (in the light of your expectations)?
L: We immediately gelled as a group and felt at ease to share with one another. This made our role so much easier! It was hard work in the fact that we had to find time to prepare for the next session and make sure we had done our couple time hour before we all met again. We met every other week, which we found was the right length of time to keep the momentum going.
M: I felt nervous about knowing how smoothly it would run and was unsure about how people would open up within the group, however from start to finish it has been a real success and encouragement. All those who participated have wanted to maintain contact and accountability and are keen to meet up formally every 6 months to reflect and encourage one another.
What were some of the highlights of being in a group with other couples?
L: The open and honest atmosphere helped each couple to get a lot out of each session. It was great to see couples working through issues and because we were all from different life stages we found that we could share relevant experiences when needed.
M: The highlight for me was to get to know people better, to understand that we all struggle sometimes with the same issues and it was great to see all couples grow and enrich their marriages during the 9 session course.
How did you benefit – as a couple…were any sessions/topics particularly meaningful?
L: We enjoyed every session and got something out of each one. The first session looked at what was getting in the way of our marriage and each couple overwhelmingly said “church”!! Mark and I took the time to discuss and pray about which roles we could pull out of in order to free up time. This has been helpful and has enabled us to spend more quality time together; we’ve also fed back to our church leadership team that this is a hidden problem quietly affecting many marriages right in our midst.
M: All the sessions were meaningful, however the sessions where we divided into men and women were particularly helpful – it was eye-opening to look at issues from the other gender’s perspective and see how misunderstandings can arise.
How did you benefit – as a couple…working together to lead the group?
L: We definitely benefited by analysing aspects of our marriage more deeply as we prepared the material together. We worked well as a team!
M: We benefited as a couple by intentionally taking time out to be together to study and prepare the material for each of the sessions.