Four years ago, I was able to make a dream come true!
I had been trained as a Gallup Faith Coach in 2010, and the experience transformed me in profound ways. Originally, I used Strengths with the students I served in Campus Ministry. But the more I worked with Strengths, the more I KNEW it could be transformational for couples as well. So the dream was born to give couples the Strengths tools to build stronger relationships. And finally, four years ago, we hosted our first Strong Couples course. It has been an incredible blessing to couples and our parish! We now host one Strong Couples course a year with monthly “Boosters” to help participants continue to build their relationships and keep the tools sharp!
Here is a brief outline of how we run our course:
All couples are asked to register and given codes to take the assessment ahead of time and bring their results with them to the first meeting.
We provide a nice dinner and facilitate table discussions and fellowship. After dinner, I present basic Strengths information, philosophy, and activities. We allow couples time to highlight their report and trade reports with their partner so they can highlight anything else that they see in their partner. They are given homework for the next week: Strengths Spotting.
The whole group gathers for a potluck appetizer “meal,” and to chat and re-connect. We ask couples to find a quiet spot where they can discuss last week’s homework together. Then we break up into small groups (no more than 6 couples / 12 people), answer a few questions, and talk about any insights or epiphanies couples had from the homework. Then they get the homework for the next week: Where do our Strengths compliment each other and where do they create friction.
The process follows the previous week’s structure: eat, chat, review homework with partner, meet as a small group, answer questions and share insights. Homework for the following week: Strengths-based Partnerships – Role Review.
The process follows the previous week’s structure: eat, chat, review homework with partner, meet as a small group, answer questions and share insights. Homework for the following week: Strengths-Based Love Letters.
We gather together for a pot-luck meal. After dinner, we meet one-on-one with our partner and read each other our love letters. Then we gather together as a large group and debrief/review our time together. What did couples love? What do we need to change? Etc…
I can tell you that so much of the value of this course is in our small group time. There, we build trust and connection with other people on this path. There’s a lot of laughter, sometimes some tears, but always a deeper understanding of ourselves and our partner, and the sense that we have companions on the journey.
Kirsten Hangas, Christ the King Parish, Missoula, Montana
Kirsten’s CliftonStrengths Signature Themes: Input ~ WOO ~ Adaptability ~ Connectedness ~ Maximizer