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Our relationships can be reflections of our faith in the universe, in people, and in each other. As Unitarian Universalists, the seven Principles can be lights for us, guiding and illuminating our interactions. They can be values we affirm religiously and personally, as individuals and as couples.
Each workshop of the Principled Commitment program relates directly to the Principles by exploring fundamental qualities of healthy partnerships.
Workshop One: Covenant
Unitarian Universalist Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth
This workshop establishes a foundation for the Principled Commitment program, promoting covenants between couples and among participants. Safety, trust, and good intention create space for mutual acceptance and encouragement to personal and spiritual growth.
Workshop Two: Humility
Unitarian Universalist Principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
Too often, relationships are thwarted by power struggles, defensiveness, competition, and gender dynamics. A healthy humility in both partners serves as an antidote to these destructive ways of relating and points the way to mutuality, which is an expression of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
Workshop Three: Trust
Trust is a fundamental cornerstone of healthy relationships, but it is not always freely given and received. It is built through countless interactions and experiences, within and beyond the relationship. Increasing mutual trust can help a relationship grow in equity, compassion, and justice. Conversely, relating with equity, compassion, and justice can help mutual trust flourish. In this way, trust is intertwined with the values celebrated by the second Principle.
Workshop Four: Dignity
Unitarian Universalist Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person
Relating with dignity means that partners are respectful and worthy of respect. Mutual dignity creates a safe atmosphere in which choices and difficulties can be honestly discussed and resolved. In promoting both partners' ability to express themselves freely, openly, and lovingly, a couple affirms their inherent worth.
Workshop Five: Generosity
Unitarian Universalist Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
Each person is an integral part of a much greater whole. Each couple is an integral part of a greater family, community, society, and nature. Generosity and gratitude demonstrate respect for this web, while nurturing the threads of interrelationship in our partnerships and beyond. Being grateful to and for each other, and for what life provides, enables a life of greater joy and integrity in this interdependent world.
Workshop Six: Connection
Connection is that deep sense of knowing another person, which gives us the confidence to live in the world as part of a couple. The way we, as partners, communicate with one another — physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually — and the way we connect with others reflect how we value our interdependent web. Further, all of our actions and attitudes as partners are shaped by an interdependent web of family, friends, environment, community, and world.
Workshop Seven: Play
Unitarian Universalist Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
Who says a free and responsible search for truth and meaning can't be fun? A spirit of playfulness can open new possibilities in our understanding of life, as it opens us to deeper understanding of our partners. Play can create strong connections that sustain couples through difficulties. Play can help us accept our own, our partners', and the universe's foibles. Play can freely and responsibly transform a dull day into a day of laughter, joy, meaning, and truth.
Workshop Eight: Collaboration
Although we aspire to the ideal of right relationship, the reality is that as imperfect human beings we struggle with our own not-always-selfless natures. The ability to create just, equal, and compassionate relationships is one of the most important and difficult challenges we face. Conflict, jealousies, and external problems may seem to conspire to undermine our loving relationships. By engaging in respectful interaction, managing conflicts productively, and facing challenges collaboratively, we are better able to sustain mutually loving and beneficial relationships.
Workshop Nine: Commitment
Unitarian Universalist Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
Our loving relationships are intimately connected with what happens in the greater world. Relationships can teach us to value — or devalue — community, justice, liberty, and peace. When we enact love and justice in our relationships, we are better equipped to enact them in the wider world. The commitments couples make with one another can fuel commitments to live their values socially and politically. By taking charge of personal behaviors, by committing to principles, by learning to cope with difficulties and change in a constructive manner, by living a life of generosity and good intention through loving and compassionate relationships, we help ensure that a similarly positive world becomes a more realistic vision.
Workshop Ten: Love
Unitarian Universalist Principles: All
The transformative power of love underpins every Unitarian Universalist Principle. It is also the foundation for a healthy individual, a healthy couple, and a healthy community. Love can be seen as the source of meaning and as the expression of faith in human relationships. The Greeks identified three types of love: Eros, the passionate love between lovers; Philos, the love among close friends; and Agape, the love for the greater society or greater good. The manifestation of all three forms of love can help a healthy relationship grow. Remembering how to love, and acknowledging the need to give and to receive love, is the basis for all affirmative human relationships. Love can transform a hurting world.
Workshop Eleven: Celebration
Unitarian Universalist Principles: All
This final workshop is a culmination of all that has been explored and learned during the program. Couples will explore their faith, naming those things on which they "place their hearts." Individuals will be able to celebrate their part in a shared identity made up of two lives that have come together in a healthy and whole relationship. It is a well-deserved celebration of life and love among the community.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
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Last updated on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
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