Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

FULL: Couples in Transition: Middle Age and Beyond

Workshop Number: 
Gretta Stone, Jacob Stone
Who may register?: 
Couples Only
Experiential Activities: 
full-time attenders only

Midlife and older couples face many changes. What are our fears and hopes for this next phase of our lives? How will our couple relationship change? Not a "retirement seminar," but a safe and supportive setting in which couples learn how to have these important but sometimes difficult conversations.

Workshop Description

 Couples in their 50s and 60s find their lives and their couple relationship shifting focus as they approach retirement age. There are new questions to address together: Do we look forward to adventures, second careers, or new roles, or do we envision more time for hobbies and leisure? How will retirement affect us emotionally as well as financially? Where is our relationship with our children going? How are our spiritual lives, as individuals and as a couple, evolving? What are our fears and hopes for this next, uncharted phase of our lives, and how can we support our partners in approaching the future with joy?

This workshop offers couples the opportunity to explore these questions and more, focusing on the need for clear, honest and caring communication with each other. It is a safe and supportive setting in which loving partners can prepare for the many challenges and opportunities ahead.

Participants will learn and practice skills in communication and relationship enhancement through the FGC Couple Enrichment dialogue process, exercises, discussion, and worship sharing.  Each session will begin with approximately half an hour of worship, and will include some community building, private couple time, and group work.  The leaders will participate in all activities as peers.  

As our community builds trust in the dialogue process as well as in each other, participants will be asked to share some of their process with the group.  Couples will choose the subject and set the boundaries for themselves, and anyone can opt out of an activity that feels too uncomfortable for them.  

There will also be time and encouragement for deep appreciation of our partners and celebration of the Divine in them and in our relationships. Whether a couple has been together for a year or for half a century, there are strengths to be treasured and joys to be shared as we enter a new leg of our couple journey. 

A Couple Enrichment workshop is a tremendous gift for loving partners to give each other at any time, but especially when our lives are changing rapidly.

This workshop is most appropriate for mature couples in a committed relationship of any duration, regardless of gender orientation, marital status, or religious affiliation.


Leader Experience

Jacob and Gretta have led dozens of workshops on Couple Enrichment and other themes, in settings including the Gathering, monthly and quarterly meetings, nonprofit organizations, and businesses.  Jacob has had a consulting practice for many years and teaches at a graduate school of social work.