Friends Couple Enrichment (FCE) began in 1968 as a program of Friends General Conference, a nonprofit corporation that nurtures the faith and practices of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), primarily in North America.
In the late 1960s, the Religious Education Committee of FGC was looking for ways to nurture relationships and the spiritual care of monthly meetings. In 1969, they invited David Mace, a Friend and distinguished family counselor, to give the Rufus Jones Lecture in Baltimore, MD. The title of his talk was “Marriage as Vocation, An Invitation to Relationship-in-Depth.” Tellingly, David stated: “Companionship is now the central goal in marriage and that is the simple reason why marriage is much more difficult today than in the past.”
Following that lecture, the FGC Religious Education Committee met with David and Vera Mace to plan a marriage enrichment program to be sponsored by FGC. The first Marriage Enrichment Leadership Training Workshop was held at Pendle Hill in 1969 and was followed by the first Marriage Enrichment workshop at the 1970 FGC Summer Gathering. In the 1990s, the FGC program changed its name from “Marriage Enrichment” to “Couple Enrichment” to reflect its inclusion of same-gender and non-married couples. In 2016, FGC released the program and FCE was born as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the USA.
Friends Couple Enrichment programs are open to all, regardless of marital status, gender identity/orientation, or religious affiliation. Based on Quaker principles of respect for the dignity and worth of every person, Friends Couple Enrichment has helped hundreds of couples and communities to learn communication skills and develop a deeper appreciation for each other in its over 50 years of existence.
The program teaches Couple Dialogue as a spiritual practice which has the potential to transform and deepen a relationship. Issues are resolved through this practice rather than by a therapeutic approach. A Couple Enrichment workshop usually includes about 15 hours of program time, which can span a weekend, two consecutive Saturdays, several evenings, or another format that might be best for you. Tasters and one-day events are also possible whether in person or online.
Leader couples are trained and mentored by FCE and participate in regular continuing education activities.