Love Tag (or hiding your heart)

The , when exchanged, means “I Love You”.

The partner with the is IT!

Your job is to hide the in a fun and creative way.

Your partner lets you know it’s found and is now IT.

Keep the in play for fun and Love!!

Photos by Joan & Rich Liversidge

The Joy of Hiding your heart

by Joan Liversidge, August 2022

Here was my chance to ask one of my burning questions. “What did you take away from that experience that was helpful?” Almost without hesitation, he answered, “The Heart – we still do it!”

In early May 2022, I attended an in-person program at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Conference and Retreat Center located in Philadelphia. Ours was the first large group to be in person since March 2020, and it was my first time in such a large group.

One day, lingering on the patio after a meal to chat, I found myself next to one of the Pendle Hill staff who had returned to help out with the work teams. As we chatted, he asked if I had been to Pendle Hill previously. “I was both a program participant and led some programs over the years.” I replied. When I mentioned that I had led Couple Enrichment, he replied “My wife and I did that.”

Apparently, they had done it just once. That’s often what I’ve heard from couples. As a leader couple we encourage ongoing participation in the program. That keeps your relationship alive, vibrant, and grounded in a community of caring couples. This provides witness and support for you and keeps your commitment to authentic dialogue tuned up. However, many couples have just one experience.

Here was my chance to ask one of my burning questions. “What did you take away from that experience that was helpful?” Almost without hesitation, he answered, “The Heart – we still do it!”

He told me his wife and he got a heart at the event, and they still trade it back and forth. They’re still finding unexpected ways to do it. And they are still delighted to feel loved when they discover the heart in a new location. It signals the love and care invested in delivering the message.

“That’s great”, I responded. “My husband and I have passed our heart back and forth for years, too, and it’s still a great affirmation. We’ve heard that from others, too - that it is a very special part of their relationship."

I wondered out loud, “Was there anything else?”

"Yes," he replied, “One thing that concerned me was hearing couples say they continued to talk about the same hard things in their relationship, over the years. Why is this?”

My response, “Yes, we do that, too. We still talk about some basic things in our now-45-year relationship.” I told him that a marriage researcher, John Gottman, has found that 60-70-% of any couple’s issues are unresolvable. That’s not because the relationship can’t work or thrive. It’s because many of our conflicts are due to basic personality characteristics.

Gottman says the key to a healthy, growing relationship is to avoid gridlock in the relationship. Managing Conflict: Solvable vs. Perpetual Problems ( We need to decrease criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt in our communication. He calls these the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and cautions that they are toxic in any relationship. They erode the good and positive experiences in a relationship over time.

“Oh, that all makes sense to me now that I hear that," he said. "My wife and I have had that experience. We’ve found that talking about those things, using what we learned, does help. I wish we had heard that during the program.”

Before we parted, I asked if I could share our conversation with other leader couples as well as participants in Couple Enrichment. His answer: “Of course!”

I am passing on this delightful, serendipitous encounter to encourage other leaders and participants in Couple Enrichment. Sometimes, what seems like a simple activity – the heart game we had named “Love Tag” - can have a lasting impact on the health and vitality of a couple. It is what we hope for, but we often do not get this direct feedback! And, participation in just one event can be important in a couple’s life, if the field is fertile, and the experience is substantive (e.g. a weekend or multiple sessions over a period of time).

That said, we encourage couples to participate in ongoing practice of skilled, witnessed couple dialogue for meaningful and lasting gains. This provides a fuller experience from this gift of ministry, which we offer to each other.

Friends Couple Enrichment offers opportunities to participate through:

Virtual "Drop-in dialogues" once a month

Participation in programs

Assistance on bringing a program to your monthly or yearly meeting, or

Participation in an ongoing Couple Enrichment Group.

Blessings on your Couple journey,

Joan Liversidge

(Retired Couple Enrichment leader and participant with husband Rich since the mid-80’s)