The Marriage Movement
The true pioneers of the marriage enrichment movement are David and Vera Mace and Father Gabriel Calvo. The Maces, primarily David, helped to establish the Marriage Guidance Council in England following World War II. After coming to America to teach in 1949, David Mace began to work with the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (later to become the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, AAMFT). In the early sixties, the Maces began to define and shape marriage enrichment work, and by the early seventies, they launched a new organization, the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment (A.C.M.E.), a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization.
In January 1962, Father Gabriel Calvo began the Roman Catholic Marriage Encounter program in Spain. Father Calvo recognized that to make a difference in the families and the lives of the children in those families, one would have to start with the primary relationship of the couple. This organization came to the United States in 1967 and has remained connected to the Roman Catholic Church. However, other religious bodies have taken on the marriage encounter concepts and adapted them to their religious perspectives (Hof and Miller 1981). Both Marriage Encounter and A.C.M.E. seek to be change agents for couples who want their marriages to flourish. Although they differ in approach, they are similar in their emphasis on couple growth.