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

Alternate Activity 2: Four Dimensions Of Connection

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint
  • Easel
  • Markers
  • Low-stick masking tape
  • Writing paper (at least one sheet per person)
  • Pens or pencils

Description of Activity

Ask participants to recall the opening meditation, in which they envisioned themselves connecting with their partners. Invite them to call out one word that describes how that connection makes them feel. Quickly list the responses on newsprint. After a variety of words have been suggested, post the list on the wall.

Introduce the next exercise with these or similar words:

Psychologists describe at least four dimensions of human experience: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Couples can feel connection in any and all of these areas. In this activity, we will identify some concrete ways in which couples can develop connection in each area.

Across the top of a sheet of newsprint, write the terms "Physical," "Emotional," "Intellectual," and "Spiritual." Invite participants to think of ways that each of these types of connections can be sustained or enhanced. Begin by asking:

  • What do you do (or what would you like to do) to enhance the physical connection in your relationship?

Write participants' responses under "Physical."

Repeat this process for the other three terms. Some repetition may occur - for example, one person might list sexual activity under physical, but another person might consider sexual activity a way to express an emotional connection.

After participants have suggested ideas for all four categories, post the list on the wall. Invite participants to consider whether any of the activities listed are, or could become, part of their personal "connection toolbox." Suggest that they jot down their favorite ideas for later use. Mention that the Taking It Home "Affection Connection" activities will give them further opportunities to explore these issues.

Introduce the next discussion topic with these or similar words:

Each couple needs a different amount of connection to feel satisfied. Within couples, partners may have different needs. One partner may enjoy reaching out to the other by phone several times a day, while the other partner may find that frequency bothersome.


  • What are some contexts or areas in which partners might experience a difference in their need for connection?

Write responses on newsprint. Examples might include frequency of sexual intimacy, need for private time, interest in athletic activities, desire to travel, and so on.

Encourage further discussion by asking:

  • How can you lovingly work to find balance or agreement in areas where you do not have the same need for connection?

Encourage participants to observe their own behavior during the coming week and to note any occasions when they felt the need for either more connection or less. They may find it enlightening to share their observations with each other at the end of the week.