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


Loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. . . . Love is a choice — not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile.

— Rev. Carter Heyward, contemporary Episcopal priest and feminist theologian

Commitments give structure to life, imbuing life with meaning and higher purpose. Sincere commitments can be a source for growth and liberation, both relationally and religiously. Couples participating in Principled Commitment have all made some form of commitment as spouses or partners. This workshop invites couples to consider their commitments — to their relationship and to their values — in the contexts of work, family, and community.

Guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle

Sixth Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

Our loving relationships are intimately connected with what happens in the greater world. Relationships can teach us to value — or devalue — community, justice, liberty, and peace. When we enact love and justice in our relationships, we are better equipped to enact them in the wider world. The commitments couples make with one another can fuel commitments to live their values socially and politically. By taking charge of personal behaviors, by committing to principles, by learning to cope with difficulties and change in a constructive manner, by living a life of generosity and good intention through loving and compassionate relationships, we help ensure that a similarly positive world becomes a more realistic vision.

Considerations for Adaptation

Alternate activities present other ways to explore commitment. Alternate Activity 1, Faith in Action, highlights commitment to the congregation. (It works best directly following Activity 2, Signs of Commitment.) Alternate Activity 2, A Model for Managing Change, explores one of commitment's biggest challenges. Alternate Activity 3, Filling Your Bucket, helps participants reflect on the various commitments in their lives: commitments to self, partner, children, and the greater world. To accommodate alternate activities, Activity 3, Growing Together, can be shortened or the workshop can be extended.


This workshop will:

  • Highlight commitment, personal growth, and change, three factors that are often interrelated in relationships

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Discuss the relationship of love and commitment
  • Identify relationship skills that are nurtured by partners' mutual commitment
  • Identify events and periods of their relationship in which they experienced personal growth, individually and as a couple