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


It is a happy talent to know how to play.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, nineteenth-century author and speaker, trained as a Unitarian minister

Play may not be the first concept to come to mind when you consider the components of a strong, committed relationship, but it is necessary. Humor and playfulness can help partners connect, relieve tension, and solve problems together. A playful approach to life's demands is an integral factor in maintaining balance.

Guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle

Fourth Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

Who says a free and responsible search for truth and meaning can't be fun? A spirit of playfulness can open new possibilities in our understanding of life, as it opens us to deeper understanding of our partners. Play can create strong connections that sustain couples through difficulties. Play can help us accept our own, our partners', and the universe's foibles. Play can freely and responsibly transform a dull day into a day of laughter, joy, meaning, and truth.

Considerations for Adaptation

If the workshop is conducted at a retreat, you may want to invite participants to bring games to share or play a fun, get-to-know-you game together. See the Find Out More section of this workshop plan for a link to "Major FUN's Funny Pointless Games Collection," which presents several options for group games.

When designing a retreat, consider using some of these more playful activities to balance the intensity of some of the activities from other workshops.


This workshop will:

  • Promote the value of play in relationships
  • Help couples invite the spirit of play into their everyday interactions
  • Present the concept of "principled play" — play that upholds the worth and dignity of both partners

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Play together
  • Discuss the role of play in different stages of their life
  • Brainstorm guidelines for principled play
  • Generate ideas for playful activities that they can engage in with their partners