Activity 4: Strengthening Your Social Web

Activity 4: Strengthening Your Social Web
Activity 4: Strengthening Your Social Web

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint
  • Easel
  • Markers
  • Newsprint sheet with prepared questions (see Preparation)

Preparation for Activity

  • Write the following questions on a sheet of newsprint:
    • What bonds do you have with others? Are they strong enough to help support the couple or an individual partner in times of need?
    • Which of the activities we listed would feel comfortable as ways to forge additional relationships?
    • In what ways, if any, does your faith or your congregation help you form connections with others?

Description of Activity

Offer these words of focus for the activity:

At the start of a romantic relationship, it is not unusual for couples to enjoy tuning out the rest of the world. They may be almost completely focused on each other as they get to know each other and revel in their new love.

But sustained relationships are often strengthened when partners have close friends and family in their lives. Through these connections, couples benefit from the wisdom, enthusiasm, experience, and support of others. Care and closeness with others can be especially helpful in times of illness, financial struggle, or loss.

Not all relationships with family and friends are healthy and satisfying. However, a couple benefits by building those relationships that are positive forces in their lives.

Ask participants to call out some of the ways in which they connect with family, friends, and others outside of their romantic partnership. List their responses on newsprint. For example, they might mention family holiday celebrations; helping family, friends, or neighbors with chores; taking a class; entertaining guests; doing volunteer work; participating in a special interest group; developing friendships in the workplace; and so on.

Invite the group to reflect on the list. Ask:

  • Of these connections, are there more that serve individual partners or the couple as a unit?
  • How can outside connections support couples as a unit?
  • How can you tell when a friendship supports or detracts from a couple's connection? What is the relationship between connection and trust in these situations?

Invite participants to pair up with their partners and spend ten minutes discussing their emotional involvement with friends and family. Display the sheet of newsprint you prepared earlier, and ask participants to consider these questions:

  • What bonds do you have with others? Are they strong enough to help support the couple or an individual partner in times of need?
  • Which of the activities we listed would feel comfortable as ways to forge additional relationships?
  • In what ways, if any, does your faith or your congregation help you form connections with others?

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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