United in Love is Edgewood’s annual retreat to enhance committed relationships of all couples through personal growth, meaningful communication and the strengthening of mutual trust. The aim is to assist couples of all ages, races, faiths, sexual orientations, gender identities, and economic abilities.
United in Love is inclusive – all couples welcome – same sex and opposite sex; married and unmarried.
What happens at a United in Love retreat?
This one day retreat is a time for couples to focus on their relationship in a relaxed, private setting. Lunch, all materials, and child care are included in the cost of registration. Leadership presentations include personal experiences, which can inspire couples to examine themselves and their relationships from a personal and a spiritual perspective. This is not a marriage clinic or a counseling session. Couples are not asked to disclose any aspect of their relationship to others. While this retreat is not for troubled relationships, committed couples who want to enhance their relationship are welcome.
A visit with 2 United in Love Facilitators
United in Love facilitator Connie Detjen sat down with Laila Sundh and Brenda Nelson, two other United in Love Facilitators, to learn what United in Love has done for them. This is a summary of that conversation.
Connie: Brenda and Laila, you have been together since 1997. You attended a United in Love retreat at Edgewood United Church in April of 2015, and you married a couple of months later. You co-led United in Love retreats in 2016 and 2017. What has United in Love done for you?
Laila: In United in Love we learn a specific tool for writing to each other. Writing has helped me to realize that my thoughts and feelings are okay. Growing up with a domineering father, one of my survival mechanisms was to be as quiet as possible. United in Love has also been beneficial to our marriage, because using these tools has increased the trust between Brenda and me. Initially, it felt scary to communicate more, but I trusted Brenda’s commitment to our relationship. The communication process taught in United in Love has caused me to be able to relax into the marriage.
Brenda: United in Love creates an authentic space – a place where we can be ourselves. That process of “unfolding” into our true selves is held in high regard in United in Love, and we do it in our own time. The techniques learned in United in Love can be used when needed. The tools are flexible – we can do lots of things with them. One of the tools is creating a space where each member of the couple can be heard. Listening is powerful. We practice doing it in a kind and supportive way. The tools learned in United in Love can mitigate stress, and can improve how we communicate with all people for the rest of our lives. One of the best things about United in Love has been the optional follow-up get-togethers, with a community of like-minded folks.
United in Love Participants’ Experiences
“We found the United in Love workshop to be valuable to our relationship because it provides a simple and workable framework for constructively communicating with each other about difficult – and day-to-day – topics, and we have learned that better communication is essential to our continuing growth as a couple. We have also really appreciated the (optional) get-togethers after the workshop with other participants because they provide a rare opportunity to share our ups and downs as couples with others in a caring environment.” – Tom and Anne-Marie Voice
“United in Love creates a community in which it is a safe place and a learning opportunity to engage in the dynamics of committed relationship. After 49+ years of marriage, writing a love letter to each other is a powerful and loving thing to do. We learned to do this through United in Love.” – Nancy and Allan Martling
“For me, participating in United in Love with couples in non-heterosexual relationships helped me to understand and face – the bias, non-acceptance, and bigotry faced by these couples on an everyday basis.” – Harold Beer
“United in Love is the only program we have participated in that allowed us the time, space, and tools to intentionally communicate with each other and it provided an opportunity for deep sharing.” – Marcia Beer