On Saturday July 13th, couples young and old gathered at the Bay Area Family Church for the first "DIY Waffles and Marriage Tips" event. This event was inspired and created by a tribal messiah support group of ladies including Elizabeth Buergi, Jung Park, Liisa Burns, and others, who wanted an event where couples could gain advice for their marriage as well as spend some quality time with their spouse. 20 couples participated, including 3 couples who were not guests of anyone who attends Bay Area Family Church, simply signing up through the event platform Eventbrite,com.
The program began with the lovely serenading of classical guitar by Mark Denni. As couples came in, they registered, got a hot drink and then got in line to get a fresh, waffle, still hot from the waffle press. After they got their waffle, each couple topped it with fresh berries, whipped cream, and syrup, and added hot sausages to their plate as well.
There was a good mix of young and more elderly couples at the event; half of the participants were aged 20-40, while the other half were aged 40 and older. It was encouraging to see these couples coming to this event to invest in their relationships.
Elizabeth Buergi was an incredible MC, introducing the event through giving the analogy about how just as a car needs an oil change and needs to be fixed up routinely or else it will burn out or break, so do our marriages.
The speakers of the day were Kaori Becker and Lisa Siva, who spoke on the topic of "The Weekly Check-in", and how one weekly check-in a week can help couples improve their relationship with each other. Kaori spoke about how she and her husband started to check-in once a week at a bubble tea shop, soon after they gave birth to their first child, and how the check-in allowed them to bring up topics they ordinarily wouldn't have time to talk about. Some of the topics couples can talk about with each other, Kaori suggested, are the following: finances, parenting (if the couple has children), quality of the relationship, tensions that came up during the week, plans for the coming week, and more. She shared about how the weekly check-in with her husband has not only made their relationship smoother, but it has also increase their income, and allowed them to work more effectively as a team in raising their daughter.
Lisa Siva, the next speaker, is a software engineer, and she spoke about how the weekly check-in has improved her relationship with her husband as well. In fact, Lisa shared that she is now creating an app called "HeyHon" that gives couples check-in categories that they can reflect on each week, and store in the app. The app is still being developed, and is already accessible at heyhon.co. Lisa passed out high-quality printed hand-outs to each couple with the check-in categories from the heyhon app, to be used by couples later on at their discretion.
It was an amazing coincidence that Lisa and Kaori couple meet on the same topic of the weekly check-in. Lisa contacted Kaori via email a few weeks prior to the event, saying that she saw Kaori's article about the weekly check-in on the Women's Federation for World Peace website (https://www.wfwp.us/national/the-weekly-check-in-how-one-new-habit-transformed-our-relationship). Lisa had been already working on her new app at that point, and Kaori invited her to come to the DIY Waffle and Marriage Tips event, and to speak at it about her new app.
After they both spoke, Kaori and Lisa did a Q and A session with the couples there. It turned out that a few couples were already doing some form of the weekly check-in. Antoine and Ruby Burns, who just celebrated their 2nd anniversary, shared that the check-in helps them to plan out their week together, since they are both working and have an incredibly busy schedule. Koka and Raphael Fish also shared how the check-in allows them to be intentional in planning their upcoming week.
During and after the event, the air was filled with a feeling of inspiration and support. All couples could relate to the points that Kaori, Lisa, and other couples shared about how important the check-in is. Many of the couples messaged the organizers after the event, saying they came away from the event feeling inspired to improve their relationship, and that they had a great time getting to know other couples in the Bay Area.
The DIY Waffles and Marriage Tips organizers hope to plan another event soon, in the next coming months. As seen by the turn-out and the conversations had at the event, the importance of marriage enrichment programs, and of couples supporting each other to keep their marriages strong, is very much needed in the Bay Area and throughout the world.