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For better or for worse: ‘Better Marriages’ works to enhance relationships

Members of Better Marriages
Alex Heuer

Better Marriages,” an organization dedicated to promoting healthy relationships, works to provide opportunities and resources for couples to achieve healthy relationships. Founded in 1973, its mission is to help couples increase intimacy and enhance personal growth, mutual fulfillment, and family wellness.

But, not with traditional counseling.

To accomplish its mission, Better Marriages provides its members with social activities, marital education programs, and communication skills workshops to build better relationships.

“It’s an interesting time for marriages,” said Priscilla Hunt, executive director and conference coordinator of Better Marriages. “I think that more than ever, couples need to be strengthened, and their relationships need education so that they can have the best marriage possible. Our organization empowers couples to make that happen.”

Linda Techner, Couple Communication Skills workshop leader, joined the Gateway Chapter of Better Marriages with her husband in 1991. Believing that their marriage was fine, the two didn’t know that the experience would ultimately help enhance their marriage. “[My husband and I] thought we had a good marriage,” she said. “We were told (by Better Marriages) that it could be even better if we learned some communication skills and that’s what we’ve worked on all these years.”

Although effective communication skills are important, couples receive support for other concerns such as finances, sexuality, raising children, and knowing how to “collaborate” versus compromise.

“We sometimes think that compromise is the goal, but in reality, I think that when we compromise someone’s giving up something and that tends to be what they remember,” Hunt explained. “So, I believe that stronger than compromise is collaboration, where we are coming to an agreement that actually works for each of us individually and for the relationship.”

“Sometimes, compromise is the best thing you can come up with,” added Greg Hunt, Priscilla’s husband and a member of Better Marriages. “But [relationships] are stronger when you can listen to one another carefully, and then become collaborators who brainstorm together about possible solutions that take both perspectives seriously. So, you end up coming out with more of a win-win.”

Currently, the Gateway Chapter is comprised of about 40 couples. Better Marriages is open to couples of all orientations, including same-sex, and couples that are not married, but are in committed relationships.

Better Marriages will host its annual conference July 9-12 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel. Patrons of the conference do not have to be members to participate. The Gateway Chapter will hold a couples communications skills workshop on two different dates in the fall.

Related Event

Better Marriages Conference 2015

Better Marriages Gateway Chapter Couples Communications Skills Workshop

  • When: Saturday, September 26 or November 21; 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: First Congregational Church, 10 Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves, MO 63119
  • More information

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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