At the beginning of every drop-in grief support group I’ve been to we’ve started with the reciting of “Our Promise,” which is a very helpful scene-setting for the hour following:
This is a safe, welcoming place.
What is spoken here, stays here.
Share only as much as is comfortable for you.
Listening to others is a good growth experience.
If you feel pressure to talk and don’t feel like it, say so.
Your story is true and unique and not open to comparison.
We will avoid giving advice.
We will listen and not interrupt.
Each of us has equal time, we do not monopolize.
Your spirituality and belief system is yours and is to be honored.
The group will begin and end on time.
Thoughts and feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are.
This is a support group, not a therapy group.
Support means I will walk with you.
I will not try to change you or how you feel.
I will simply be here beside you.
Reading this in the clear light of day, it strikes me as valuable guiding words for any group, grief-involved or not. Or, indeed, for a romantic partnership.