Spring is in the air and ‘Hope’ seems to be the word for A Day Together in Cambridge on Saturday 11th March. Beautiful spring flowers and blossom in the pretty village of Histon spread inside and vases of daffodils everywhere greet people as they arrive.
There were some nervous faces as 28 couples walked into the lovely St Andrews Centre not knowing quite what to expect. They were soon registered and coffee and freshly baked Danish pastries helped everyone relax.
The opening session set the tone for the day as the people were assured that there would be no role play or exposing innermost thoughts in a group, just time to consider their relationship together as a couple. “And we are not experts up here,” said Olivia the first member of the team to speak, “just ordinary couples sharing our stories.”
Some couples had arrived feeling stressed from sleepless nights and having to arrange childcare. Others were feeling bruised by dealing with issues in their marriages or having to make difficult and life changing decisions. As the day progressed the body language seemed to change. Couples were sitting closer together in the couple times, engaging deeply in conversation, listening and responding to each other, or sometimes just enjoying the space outside. There was very little socialising with other couples, more an understanding how precious this time was, just to concentrate on each other.
In the afternoon, more delicious food was served – the lemon drizzle cake with blueberries went down well. Ideas were mentioned about ways in which couples could follow up on the Day Together: The new Toucan online app was introduced along with other resources to develop the themes introduced today.
The speakers used personal stories from their own lives to illustrate the talks and these resonated with participants. There were opportunities to talk and pray with individuals and couples who wanted that, before they went home.
One person said at the end. “I don’t want my marriage to be just all right, I want it to be the best it can be. I am going to concentrate on what I can do to make that happen rather than thinking about what I think my partner is not doing. I am going away with hope.”
The last talk ended with a picture of a garden filled with colourful flowers. Beautiful gardens don’t just happen. They need to be worked at – just like relationships. We plant seeds, we feed and water them. And then we wait in hope to see how they will bloom.