The Words of the Williams Family
Massachusetts Couples Workshop on March 20, 2011 in Boston.
The Massachusetts Youth Ministry and Blessed Family Department held a couple's seminar focused on bridging differences between husbands and wives in the areas of finances and spirituality, on March 20th. John Williams, a certified counselor, came from New Jersey together with his wife to give the presentations.
The section of the seminar focused on finances discussed the different financial styles we each have and the messages we've all received from our parents about how to relate with money. John and his wife, Cathy, demonstrated the way that money matters are often superficial symptoms of deeper issues. Together they role-played an issue that they had personally struggled with in their marriage regarding their perceptions of celebrating Christmas. John hated Christmas and thought it was overly commercialized, while Cathy loved it and wanted to spend lots of money on all the trappings. Through their role-play, they revealed that the heart of the issue was actually not how much money should be spent on Christmas. Instead, there were deep emotional issues from each of their childhoods that draw them have their individual stances.
This kind of honest -- yet also humorous -- sharing was a hallmark of the seminar. John Williams is a very effective speaker, and many in the audience said they really liked the way he delivered the presentations. There were various opportunities for audience participation, and periodic times for couples to pair-share about the content.
The second presentation dealt with spirituality. As John explained at the beginning of his talk, spirituality can mean different things to different people. For some, it involves prayer and meditation; for others, it involves spirit world; for others, they feel connected to the divine through their interactions with others, such as through doing service work or relating with a spouse. This, he explained, was why we often have difficulty with our spouse -- because our spouse may relate differently to God than we do.
One participant shared with the group that her mother is very "churchy" while her father likes to hunt on Sundays. This led many people (including her mother) to conclude that her father didn't have a good relationship with God (people judged him for not attending Sunday service, for example). But she later found out that her father had deep experiences with God while out hunting. According to John Williams, it's important for us to recognize that we all have different ways of relating with God and that we need to be supportive of each other.
John Williams not only focused on what our differences are, but he also placed a lot of emphasis on how to find common ground, and how to work with each other rather than pushing against each other.
Based on the reflections submitted after the seminar, participants felt that the content discussed was immensely relevant to their lives. One person went so far as to say: "Most people should hear this at least once in their life." Many participants also said that they wanted to hear even more about these topics than the short 1-day workshop could provide. Therefore, we may be asking John Williams to come again and continue these presentations in the Fall.
A special feature of this workshop was that all the presentations were filmed, and thus will be made available online to those who were unable to make it to this workshop. This will be convenient especially for those blessed couples who live far away from large church communities that are able to have couples workshops. We hope that we can spread this content, and continue to help our blessed families create a culture of continuous marriage improvement.
We would also like to invite everyone to join us for our next couple's workshop on April 17th. This workshop will be taught by Debby Gullery from New York, and will be focused on the "I-deal Year." Debby Gullery will be showing us how to implement Rev. In Jin Moon's advice to create ideal families by "dealing" with our families. The workshop will also feature a special "recommitment to love." We can all use a little more love in our marriages, so come get revitalized and refreshed with new tools and ideas for creating a more fulfilling relationship! Please RSVP to Emilie Schuler, who's e-mail address can be found at www.umoveboston.com.
The Massachusetts Couples Workshops take place four times per year and are run by the MA Youth Ministry Committee and the MA Blessed Family Department. For more information, to join our list serve, or get involved contact Emilie or visit our website: www.umoveboston.com