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


Let us be patient with one another,
And even patient with ourselves.
We have a long, long way to go.
So let us hasten along the road,
The road of human tenderness and generosity.
Groping, we may find one another's hands in the dark.

— Emily Greene Balch, Unitarian and Quaker, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner

This workshop's goal is to increase generosity in couples' relationships. However, many of its activities do not center directly on generosity. By deeply considering the attitudes of gratitude, abundance, and scarcity, couples are invited to examine the outlooks that can either foster or get in the way of giving and receiving generously. Discussion, exercises, and ritual engage partners in letting go of barriers to generosity and claiming it as a way of being in their relationships.

Guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle

Seventh 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.

Considerations for Adaptation

Activity 4, Ritual of Connecting with Our Generous Selves, includes a ceremony in which small pieces of paper are burned. Safety is of the utmost importance in this activity. Be sure to follow the preparation steps and safety guidelines given. If you do not have the ability to safely create a fire at your workshop site, or if any participants are sensitive to smoke, gather the pieces of paper for safe burning elsewhere.


This workshop will:

  • Present a framework for increasing gratitude in relationships
  • Offer a ritual for letting go of barriers to generosity

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Reflect on and write about the role of giving and receiving in their relationships
  • Express gratitude to their partners
  • Discuss their personal attitudes related to feelings of scarcity and abundance with their partners
  • Identify personal barriers to generosity — both giving and receiving