Quakers believe there is “that of God in everyone.” Here’s how that can manifest in our romantic relationships.
Friends Couple Enrichment: Deepening Intimacy, Finding Peace, Building Community. Curious? Visit us at http://friendscoupleenrichment.org
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Merry Stanford: There is no spiritual discipline I have ever engaged with that has been more rewarding, that has been more transforming, than couple dialogue with you.
Friends Couple Enrichment: Peacemaking Begins at Home
Scott Bell: Chena Ridge Friends Meeting was looking for tangible ways to support marriage that was taken under the care of the meeting, and one way was to bring a couple enrichment workshop leader couple up every two years, and that time for us, to take time out of our busy lives and be able to focus on each other and this relationship, that was so important, was a great gift.
Debbie Humphries: One of the things that’s so powerful about Friends Couple Enrichment is that it’s building a tool set for the kinds of relationships people are hungry for but do not have the tools to build.
“Knee to Knee”
The Practice of Couple Dialogue
Cathy Walling: It’s so loving, how we work together in couple enrichment, and that there’s a part of our giftedness together that gets to be in that next chapter.
Scott Bell: (reflecting) So, as Cathy, I’m just feeling that….
Merry Stanford: Couple dialogue involves a couple facing each other. We call it “knee to knee”. So one person will speak in that way, authentically, and the other will listen and reflect in some way what they’ve heard. And we will trade that role.
Dave Minden: I think we know this as Quaker. We can’t be a Quaker without a community. In the dialogue, we are seeking and offering our piece of truth and hearing our partner’s piece of truth.
Merry Stanford: So when Peter takes the time, agrees to sit down with me and listens intentionally and deeply to what I am trying to bring into my own awareness, I feel seen. I feel heard. I feel like I matter. Not just to you but I just matter.
Dialoguing in Community
Cathy Walling: We’re inviting couples into this experience in a community of couples, and a part of what gets created through our weekends is this sort of blessed community of couples. It is so counter-cultural to get invited into doing something like this with the witnessing presence.
John Humphries: Part of the value of doing this in community is that you get to see, “Oh! Other people have these struggles too.” And we’re able to provide some support, and we can reach out and get some support.
Cathy Walling: It helps call the individuals up into their “best self” places. And so often, upon reflection, couples say, “Wow, we didn’t do our typical negative spiral down.”
Dave Minden: It was a watershed moment, when I was able to say, “here we are in conflict and I don’t have to say that mean thing back. I don’t have to be reactive. I don’t have to justify myself. I can simply listen to you and try to reflect with you what you are saying.” It changes the way we respond to one another.
Pamela Minden: I think it’s modeling that’s just desperately needed right now, because there are so many models that convince people that violence works, when in fact it doesn’t.
Living Our Quaker Faith
Dave Minden: Quakers believe that there is that of the Divine in everyone, so that’s really what couple enrichment is all about. How do I hear and pay attention to the divine in you, even when it’s in a difficult moment? Using couple enrichment methods as a way of saying, “I want to be at peace with you, even in this moment.”
Cathy Walling: How often do we witness couples in public having an argument? In contrast, how often do we get to witness couples authentically expressing their love and care for each other? How that can transform our world, if that’s what the form was.
Peter Wood: So I’m not sure what we might say in the second part of our dialogue, but I feel ready to pause here.
Merry Stanford: We never know what we’re going to say in the next dialogue.
Peter Wood: But so far, so good!
- How does the Quaker commitment to peace show up in ways that aren’t obvious? How does it manifest in our personal relationships?
- What tools have you learned for being at peace with your significant other? How is your approach to those relationships impacted by your Quakerism?
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.