What happens at a couple enrichment event?
The program can be structured to meet the needs of the group – a weekend retreat, a series of weekday evening meetings, an afternoon workshop, etc. Whatever the format, the program includes time for learning and practicing Couple Dialogue, celebrating the joys and strengths of your relationship, and learning to use conflict creatively. Leader couples use group and couple exercises and discussion to help participants to acquire and practice skills. Couples are invited to participate in exercises and to dialogue a their own level of comfort. Through guidelines affirmed by the group, Leader couples seek to maintain the safety and sacredness of the space. Depending on the format and the preferences of the group, workshops also include time for rest, socializing, and worship.
Who can attend a couple enrichment event?
Any couple in a committed relationship can participate in and benefit from a Couple Enrichment event, regardless of marital status, gender identity/orientation, religious affiliation, or length of time together. While attendance at an event may be therapeutic, it is not couples therapy. Friends Couple Enrichment is a proactive ministry that offers practices to deepen intimacy and to discover the joy at the heart of a relationship. We recognize that all relationships go through rough patches and that they are opportunities for understanding and growth.
What does it cost?
Generally, participants pay an equal share of the costs, plus a $10 - $40 per couple program fee. Costs can be reduced if space and food are donated. Sponsoring groups often contribute meals, child care, etc. to make the program more accessible and affordable. If finances are a barrier to attending an event, please contact the Leader Couple to explore financial aid options.
When and where are events offered?
Each Leader Couple seeks to offer programs in their region. We are also willing to travel to bring a program to your community, and to develop a program to meet the needs of your group. Venues can include retreat centers, meetings and congregations, community centers, participants homes, etc. We also offer events online through the year, including a monthly drop-in. See our Events page.
Who are the leader couples and how are they trained?
You can find a list of our couples ready to lead events here. Until 2015, couples attended a 5-day intensive training followed by 5 years of apprenticeship in leading events. FCE now has a self-paced online training program that can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete. Accompaniment through mentorship and co-leading is deemed essential as a leader couple steps into their ministry.
Among all the relationship models out there, what is unique about FCE?
The practices of Friends Couple Enrichment lift up the traditional Quaker testimonies of integrity, peace, equality, and community. Of these, community stands out in that couples are invited to dialogue in the loving witness of other couples.
We believe that while each couple is unique, we also share much in common. Dialoguing and witnessing dialogues in the presence of others challenges common cultural assumption that there should be a veil of secrecy about what happens within a relationship, By listening to others with love and no judgment, we learn more about ourselves and about the common joys and challenges of relationships. By sharing our dialogue practice with others, we experience the integrity of letting our outward persona be a genuine reflection of our inner reality.