Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Sacred Conversations: Couple Enrichment

Summary
Workshop Number: 
48
Leaders: 
Nancy Bronder, Philip Major
Who may register?: 
Couples Only
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 
10%
Lecture: 
15%
Discussion: 
25%
Experiential Activities: 
50%
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

Start a ripple of conversation in your relationship that radiates into communities in desperate need of love. As couples we use witnessed dialogues and other practices to say and hear what's most important. Experience deep connection and new understandings. Let your relationship grow and change in the Spirit of love.

Workshop Description

Couple enrichment is about practicing patterns of conversation, called dialogues, in our closest relationships and letting those patterns imbue or leaven all of our other relationships, ultimately pervading our lives, our communities and the world. Honesty, vulnerability and openness are at the center of these practices. Through the process of witnessed dialogues we begin to integrate practices of honesty, vulnerability and openness into our individual behavior and into the fabric of our couple relationships.

Although this 15 hour program is called a workshop for Gathering purposes, it is based on Couple Enrichment retreats led by Friends Couple Enrichment leaders in the U.S. and Canada for several decades. The retreat emphasizes creating a trustworthy, supportive community and giving couples the time and space to focus on each other and on their relationship. Most of the work of the retreat is done with your life partner. Each day begins and ends with silent worship.

This retreat is only for couples in stable, long-term relationships. It is not therapy or marriage counseling. The retreat is not confrontational, rather couples are invited to join in the process as they are ready. We understand that with most couples, interest in, and enthusiasm about attending a Couple Enrichment event is not 50/50, at least not usually at the beginning of the event. Clear expectations guide us to ensure the safety and confidentiality of all participants.

FAQs:

What happens at a Couple Enrichment retreat?

You and your partner join four to ten other couples to share with one another in an environment of trust and support.

You and your partner:

 Take stock, reviewing together what you value in each other as a couple

 See how other couples relate

 Learn how to improve your communication skills

 Take time to work through differences or disagreements you have been pushing aside

 Learn how to use conflict creatively

 Celebrate the strengths and joys of your relationship

 Allow the love between you and your partner to flow

Why would a couple with a satisfactory relationship want to attend a Couple Enrichment retreat?

Strong, healthy relationships are a treasure, and they deserve care.

A couple’s relationship doesn’t remain static; it is always changing. When taken for granted, a

relationship may lose it spark; its vitality depends upon continuing growth.

What sorts of learning can we expect?

 Develop skills to enrich facets of your relationship which could be improved

 Learn to be more effective in communicating with each other

 Learn to share more deeply your thoughts and feelings about your spiritual journeys and leadings

Leader Experience

We have led youth ministry programs, Curriculum Mapping workshops, Appreciative Inquiry, Couple Enrichment, group leadership and prayer retreats in a variety of church and school settings.  We are committed to learning alongside our participatants as well as from each other and following the guidance of mentors as well as the call of the Spirit.

If enrollment is large enough, the workshop will be split with the second group being led by Tom and Sharon Baring of Chena Ridge Friends Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. Tom and Sharon were trained as Friends Couple Enrichment leaders in 2015 and continue their mentorship with Peter Wood and Merry Stanford.