Loving, Listening, Learning, Discerning:
A weekend Couple Enrichment Retreat focused on decision-making
April 14-16, 2023
at Pendle Hill RETREAT CENTER, WALLINGFORD PA
Co-sponsored by Pendle Hill and Friends Couple Enrichment
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
We make decisions all of the time, and how we make decisions together as a couple says a lot about how we live and love together.
Take a weekend with your beloved to explore this key to a happy relationship.
Friends Couple Enrichment invites you and your beloved partner to a weekend to explore patterns of decision-making. In a spirit of experiment and curiosity, we will explore how decision-making can affirm our strengths as couples and how conflict around decisions is an opportunity to deepen intimacy as we search for answers.
We'll explore how each decision has its own context: Is this urgent? Who will it affect? What information do I have or need? How does this decision reflect my values?
We will also examine how different styles of decision-making influence our discernment as a couple: Do I trust my gut or my head? Do I decide quickly or vacillate? Do I lean on others to help me decide?
At the heart of the retreat will be learning and experimenting with the spiritual practice of Couple Dialogue. This is a form of deep listening and speaking that encourages and guides couples to be more curious about each other, to go deeper into their relationship.
Couple dialogue can help us navigate frequent decisions (who's picking up the kids from school?), financial plans (how much car can we afford?), or philosophical questions (what does hospitality look like for us?). By slowing down and having a structure for listening to each other, you and your partner can focus on uncovering what you are both yearning for. In this way, discerning together becomes a path for more intimacy.
Bring with you at least one question that you and your beloved are currently sitting with -- be it profound or mundane -- so that we can learn together and experience where Spirit takes us. If you don't know what decisions to start with, we'll offer some exercises to get you talking!
This is a residential retreat, with room and board provided from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch. Come retreat from the busy world and spend two days focusing on that most precious jewel -- your relationship.
Friends Couple Enrichment (FCE), founded by Quakers over 50 years ago, is a proactive ministry to release the full potential of relationships both for the benefit of the couple and also for a world begging for examples of honest, loving, joy-filled relationships. This ministry is open to all couples, regardless of length of time together, marital status, gender identity, age, race, or faith. Indeed, our retreats are enhanced by our diversity. At the heart of any FCE event is an introduction to Witnessed Couple Dialogue, a spiritual practice of deep listening. This retreat will include lots of time for couples to dialogue in the loving witness of others as well as in private. Be assured that you will not be asked to share or participate in activities beyond your level of comfort.
Location: Pendle Hill Retreat Center in Wallingford, PA (south of Philadelphia).
Cost: $750 per couple, which includes lodging on Friday and Saturday nights, and all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Financial aid is available.
Who can come: Any couple in a committed relationship, regardless of age, length of time together, marital status, gender identity, age, race, or faith. FCE was founded by Quakers but is open to all, and our retreats are enhanced by our diverse experiences.
Kirsten Brink & Andrew Dembski
Kirsten and Andrew met in 2015. In 2019, they participated in their first Friends Couple Enrichment workshop and quickly adopted the practice of regularly dialoguing, including participating in the FCE monthly online drop-in dialogue opportunities. Their relationship was at a distance for four years, in which they leaned into the practice of dialogue. After moving in together, they entered the FCE Leader Training program, completing it in 2022. Both Andrew and Kirsten work professionally as engineers–Andrew in renewable energy and Kirsten in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. As problem-solving is what they do as a profession, learning to listen, sit with feelings, and allowing space for each other to be heard have been key teachings FCE has brought to their relationship. Andrew and Kirsten live in Texas with their fur-baby, Shania, and enjoy hiking, playing board games, renovating their home, travel and good food.
Marsha & Mike Green
Long-time Friends Mike and Marsha Green have been leading retreats for families and couples since the early 1990s. They currently reside in a generational bubble--children launched, no grandchildren, parents released to whatever lies beyond. For many years, Mike served as a core teacher with the School of the Spirit Ministry, and Marsha served on the boards of Friends Journal and Carolina Friends School. They retired from salaried jobs in 2017 and spent a year as Resident Friends in Auckland, New Zealand. There, they traveled extensively in the ministry while also enjoying birding, hiking, music-making, and playing games. Married for 40 years, they are members of Durham (NC) Friends Meeting.