If you lead a Married Community Group, the men and women in your group may have different experience. Men can find it challenging to be real and authentic in a group environment.
So, what do you do to help cultivate relationships in the group?
One approach is to split husbands and wives during group meetings for a few weeks. This will help the men to connect more closely with one another, and the women to do the same. As always, try to limit the studies to six weeks. Find a study that's even shorter than that, if you can. While there are benefits to splitting the group, you don't want to keep it split for too long.
Here are some approaches you can take.
Do the same study. If you pick a study that interests both the men and women in the group, you'll find that the men will bond with each other, the women will bond with each other, and the relationships between spouses will benefit as well.
- Everybody's Normal Until You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg
- Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley
- Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs (we recommend limiting this study to three weeks)
Do paired studies. Sometimes authors develop paired curricula—one designed for men and the other for women. They typically focus on the topic of marriage.
- For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
- Every Man's Battle and Every Woman's Battle by Stephen Arterburn
Do different studies. Splitting men and women can provide a unique opportunity for each group to cover a topic that may not be relevant for or interesting to the other.
- When Work and Family Collide (men) by Andy Stanley
- The Purity Principle (men) by Randy Alcorn
- Lies Women Believe (women) by Nancy DeMoss
- Calm My Anxious Heart (women) Linda Dillow
Splitting your group by men and women may feel a little odd at first. You may even get some pushback from group members. But you're only splitting for a short time and the potential benefits are huge.
Have you ever split men and women in your group? What did you study? How did it go?