Relationships as a Crucible for Joy

by Marsha A. Green

In 2016, when Friends Couple Enrichment emerged from being under the care of Friends General Conference and blossomed into its own 501(c)(3), the Leader Couples defined the organization as being

…a ministry of spiritual transformation with a particular focus on couples in committed relationships. The ministry is offered through leader couples who are animated by an inward call to be midwives to the deep joy that can be found in such relationships. 

Those words still resonate. As facilitators of FCE events, my partner and I witness over and over the deep joy that wells up between two committed people who make space for the spiritual practice of listening. This joy is visible not only in their words, but in the depths of feelings they are courageous enough to share.

On October 21 and 22, 2023, Friends Couple Enrichment will be offering its second annual fall online retreat: Listening with Love to Strengthen and Deepen Our Relationships.  The four sessions will focus on creating a community of trust among the participating couples, and developing and practicing listening and speaking skills to allow participants to be fully present to themselves, to their partners, and to the other couples who witness their dialogues. 

For me, the deep, loving listening that takes place during an FCE retreat is a crucible for joy. 

The couple dialogue process engages the fire of our commitment to each other. It  invites us to get underneath the surface details of what we are saying to each other to understand our longings and joys. Creating a safe community where people can speak and know that they are heard is a joyful task, and I am grateful to the three FCE Leader Couples who will be doing this on October 21 and 22. 

Although the pandemic has receded enough to allow us to gather in-person, FCE continues to offer some workshops online because they are so accessible: no travel time or expenses, donation-based payment, and minimal work disruption.  Registration is still open. (Registration is also open for the September 17 90-minute “Taster” if you want to learn more before committing to the retreat.)

If you’ve already experienced the joy of at least one Friends Couple Enrichment event and wonder what it would be like to facilitate this spiritual practice, FCE offers a self-paced Leader Couple training program. This training is aimed at couples who are committed to expanding the depth of their own relationship and who can imagine sharing this joy by creating sacred space for others to practice Couple Dialogue.  FCE is offering a free 90-minute information session about FCE Leadership on November 19, 2023.  

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