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Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.
— Antoine de Saint Exupery, twentieth-century French writer and aviator
Collaboration within a relationship involves each partner actively seeking ways to help the other partner feel fulfilled. Each supports the other's dreams, and both partners work together to help each other grow. Collaboration may enhance problem-solving skills, which can strengthen a couple's relationship. When people collaborate, they strive to achieve a shared vision or goal by working together in an atmosphere of trust, respect, and flexibility.
Guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle
Second Principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
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.
Considerations for Adaptation
If you are leading Activity 3, Engaging Conflict Collaboratively, in a retreat setting, you may wish to allow couples time to discuss their responses to Handout 1, Styles of Conflict Engagement. Some couples might have a difficult time with this exercise, especially if their styles are at odds with one another. Be prepared to provide support, encouragement, and referrals.
This workshop will:
- Encourage collaboration between partners
- Affirm that conflict can lead to creative collaboration in a loving relationship
- Present a model for collaborative problem solving
- Discuss the role of collaboration within a relationship
- Analyze the level of collaboration present in a recent conflict situation
- Practice a method for collaborative problem solving
- Identify ways to collaborate on actions for the common good