Together is FamilyLife’s resource to help build deeper and stronger marriages. It has been tried and tested over many years and contexts and proven to help couples in their relationships. The beauty of Together is that you get to go on a journey of discovery and learning with other couples, but you do the hard graft on your own in private.
Biju and Sissy Georgekutty live in Liverpool with their two children. They both grew up in India and moved to live in the UK in 2008. Biju works with FamilyLife and Sissy is a nurse, as well as volunteering with FamilyLife.
They first heard about Together in 2018 from a family friend and were keen to take part in a group. This friend encouraged them to run their own group which they duly did and started at the beginning of 2019. In this group, Biju and Sissy had four couples join them from different communities. They said ‘it was a great time to learn from each other’.
They have now run three different groups and love Together!
In a bygone era, Together groups would be run in person in someone’s home but lockdown has really acted as a catalyst to start groups up online. Despite missing out on a slice of someone’s homemade carrot cake there have been some real advantages to this!
Biju and Sissy have been running their groups on Zoom. One noticeable advantage to this is that people can join in from anywhere. In their most recent group, Biju and Sissy had couples join them from Manchester, Hull and Mumbai! The time difference didn’t stop them once they found a convenient time. Each session starts with a catch-up and prayer before working through a chapter in the Together workbook which each person has a copy of. Biju says that every couple has enjoyed each session!
Although there have been some constraints meeting over zoom with the inevitable internet connection issues, Biju and Sissy have enjoyed having couples join from different locations. It’s also been a convenient way to share videos and pictures relating to the sessions, and for those with young children, they have not had to find childcare.
But there are many other joys of being in a Together group, whether in person or virtually. Biju and Sissy love learning new things from others and listening to other couples’ real life experiences. Together is jam-packed with practical advice, based on biblical truths, which have benefitted all those in their groups.
Whilst the conversations start in the group time, the real work happens during the ‘Couple Time’ which each couple does in their own time in between sessions. Biju says that the group sets up a ‘positive tune’ for people to carry on into this couple time, getting to talk about issues you wouldn’t otherwise speak about.
Together is also easily transferable. You don’t need to be an expert to lead a group. Many couples go on to lead their own groups and thus we have the ripple effect that we love in FamilyLife! For the couple from Mumbai, who saw their own marriage ‘grow to the next level’ through doing Together, their vision now is to see Together translated into Hindi and used across India. Now those are some big ripples.
Another couple from Biju and Sissy’s group said: “The together group is very structural and informative. We have learnt how to communicate on a deeper level and the group was very friendly. Together sessions brought us closer as a family and as a couple. We were comfortable sharing our own experiences as everyone was open. We have had a great impact in our family life.”
Biju and Sissy said they learned lots from the communication chapter: “Communication…improved a lot in our marriage through the together sessions. We have learnt the importance to set aside a particular time to discuss the important matters. We have learnt to be a role model to our family, loving and forgiving each other unconditionally. “
Together is not simply about our horizontal relationships though. Through looking at biblical principles, it can help you grow in your vertical relationship with God. Biju and Sissy commented: “Together helped to strengthen our marriage and faith. The sessions are a great encouragement to cling on to the Holy Spirit, especially when we go through a tough time in our lives. Marriage is like a triangle and Jesus is the top of our marriage. We are able to grow closer together as Jesus helps us to overcome all trials. It has helped us to grow in spiritual intimacy, making decisions and praying together.”
Together is made up of nine sessions, but for the real keenies, we’ve created a tenth session called “Together in Mission” using Agapé’s Biscuit Trail resource. In session 9, each couple is challenged to think about the kind of legacy they want their marriage to leave. In session 10, you get to think about how you, as a couple, can be on a mission together. Biju says:
“The Biscuit Trails card pack serves as a useful tool in this direction. Most of the time we find it difficult to approach a non-believer and struggle to introduce Jesus Christ as the Saviour and the solution to the problems that they face. The Biscuit Trail is a readily available tool which we can use and find an easy and suitable method to speak about our Lord to others.
Each of the cards provides a particular state of living and relationship and we can appropriately choose one of the cards based on the situation and circumstances. This helps in focussing on a particular problem and also share in a specific context. Once we choose a card, the methodical steps provided for each card helps us to follow a systematic approach in sharing the gospel and strengthening others.”
So why not start your own Together group? As Biju and Sissy say: “We would say Together is a fantastic tool to support and strengthen your marriage. You can learn a lot about yourself and as a couple. It will have a positive impact on your marriage. So, we would highly recommend every couple to join and benefit from it.”
To find out more about Together, please visit our dedicated Together website.