Couples learn conflict management skills from student-run peacebuilding workshop

Written by: 
Malia Diaz

On Sunday May 14, dating, engaged, and married couples attended the “Peace in the Home” peacebuilding workshop to discuss how to handle marital conflicts.

Lucy Taua, an international cultural studies junior from Australia, led part of the seminar. “I knew about ‘Peace in the Home’ when I saw it advertised on campus last semester when I was about to get married. I love workshops where I can just be with my partner and talk about how to have a better relationship,” she said. She was unable to attend a workshop, so she decided to become a facilitator. “Basically my first time seeing the workshop was when I was training to teach it,” she said.

One participant, Benjamin Wilson, said, “It looked like an interesting topic, and I feel like there’s always a lot to learn about conflict and how to improve relationships. I’m getting married over the summer and it seemed like a good thing to learn.

“I really enjoyed it because there were lots of time to spend talking through things with my fiancé that could become conflicts, or conflicts we have had that needed a better resolution.”

Wilson, a senior in business finance from Canada, said it allowed for lots of introspection, which he found really helpful. “The workshop allowed us to learn from ourselves, which is something that’s difficult to do through teaching,” he said.

Wilson’s fiance Anna Hudson, a senior in social work from Washington, said she debated paying the $5 fee but realized it wasn’t too much for a good workshop. “I really liked how when we talked about how things escalate and how it’s all about perspective on your side. We talked about dishes–for example, the problem is not that the dishes didn’t get done, the problem is how I see that person. I saw them as lazy, stupid, and unresponsive. Really it’s just dishes, so why are we fighting about it?” she explained.

Hudson said the workshop helped her figure out how to decide what's important to fight about and what’s not important. “Something as small as dishes isn’t important enough,” she said.

Taua explained, “It’s really good for couples to come, but it’s kind of hard to get people to come. Some don’t want to or they don’t know what it’s about. Conflict is hard to talk about and different things can keep people away. I’m proud of those who came here on their own initiative.

“We tried to get the word out on flyers, but now the people who attended can see that we share personal stories and work together to learn positive tools to use to help your marriage be more peaceful.”

Reka Bordas, Taua’s co-facilitator, said, “I took part in this workshop for the first time two years ago. That’s how I learned about peacebuilding in general. Then one day the group who was organizing this whole thing was looking for facilitators. I was interested in doing more peacebuilding stuff so I went to the training,” she said.

Boradas, a junior from Hungary double majoring in ICS and psychology, explained that she enjoys leading the workshop as it helps her personally and others. “I think this workshop went well. I’m happy with the amount of people that came. It’s much better to have the spouses come because we had quite a few people without their spouse, and it’s more beneficial if both are there. This is just a great workshop. It’s a good tool that can help you in marriage. When I first came, it really opened my eyes to the roots of conflict, and now I see all my conflicts this way,” she said. 

Danica Marie Comenta, a post baccalaureate from the Philippines, attended the workshop for new ideas. “I just realized that there are different conflict styles. For me personally, I always use compromising, but I didn't see the downsides of that style. It helped me understand that I can use different conflict styles to work on our marriage,” she said.

Comenta said she saw multiple posters and her bishop announced it in their ward. “They promoted this a lot, so I felt it was important for families because the flyers were all over the place,” she said. 

Taua Luciata, a political science senior from Kiribati, said, “This workshop is very effective in a sense of family relationships, specifically newly married couples and engaged couples. I think this is a very good step to participate and learn things you can use in the future,” he explained.

Bordas encourages any couples to attend and learn how to transform relationship conflicts. New dates for the workshop will be announced during Fall Semester. The $5 fee includes a take home workbook. Refreshments and desserts were also provided.

Date Published: 
Monday, July 10, 2017
Last Edited: 
Monday, July 10, 2017