Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Principled Commitment: An Adult Program on Building Strong Relationships


Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against a wide sky!

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

Quote source: Sacred Threshold, by Nelson & Witt.

Trust gives both partners in a relationship a sense of comfort, security, and ease. It affects every aspect of a relationship, from lovemaking to conflict resolution. Trust between partners can foster deep commitment and enhance feelings of connection and love.

Our ability to build trusting relationships is deeply tied to our personalities as well as factors from our past and present family relationships. This workshop engages couples in building skills for emotional intimacy and communication that can serve to enhance trust. Open discussion of trust and fear provides an opportunity for partners to be present to one another and affirm one another. It has the potential to deepen and strengthen couples' relationships.

It is always valuable to have the names of therapists and couples counselors on hand for referrals, and it is particularly important in this workshop, as participants begin to explore more vulnerable aspects of their personalities and relationships.

Guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle

Second Principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations

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.

Considerations for Adaptation

Activity 4, Communicating Honestly and Openly, is interchangeable with Alternate Activity 2, Trust and Fear. Each is 45 minutes in length and involves individual reflection paired with discussion between partners. Both explore challenging issues in relationships that can make participants feel vulnerable. "Communicating Honestly and Openly" has greater potential for bringing up current conflicts, and "Trust and Fear" has greater potential for bringing up participants' past hurts.

This workshop's optional Faith in Action activity (Alternate Activity 1) engages participants in community service with a domestic violence shelter or other local agency. Such a project can be launched at this workshop or in connection with other workshops. The project could also be a culmination of the entire Principled Commitment program.


This workshop will:

  • Help participants explore the role of trust in healthy relationships
  • Offer tools to enhance couples' mutual trust, communication, and partnership

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Articulate the crucial role of trust in a relationship
  • Identify ways to earn and maintain trust
  • Practice communication skills that can help deepen trust