DeKALB – Couples retreats are nothing new. Neither are couples seminars.
But a couples fair?
"It is a little bit different," laughed Julie Ramisch, a professor in the department of family, consumer and nutrition sciences at Northern Illinois University. "Each booth has a different activity to help couples talk about things that make them feel good about each other."
The fair will be held Friday, Nov. 9, in the atrium of Wirtz Hall, near Lucinda Avenue on the NIU campus. It is a project for students in Ramisch's couples therapy class, but she stresses that it is not about therapy, nor is it just for couples in trouble.
"It's meant for any couple who wants to do some activities to help enrich their relationship, enhance their communication," she said. "It's based on things the students are learning in class."
Like a health fair or fun fair, the atrium will be filled with activity booths staffed by students, Ramisch said. Couples can participate in whichever activities they like, and each activity comes with a keepsake.
"One booth is on the five love languages, how to tell which one is yours and how to work with a partner with a different love language," Ramisch said. "There are activities about the holidays and about how to fight fair and still get your point across."
Some of the activities are hands on, like a booth that teaches couples to give a hand massage and one in which partners compete against each other in identifying which argument strategies are "fighting fair." Others are more introspective, like a booth that has individuals make a collage of their favorite things about the holiday season. Couples can use the collages to start a conversation about those things that make them happy, Ramisch said.
The event includes free food by Jimmy John's sandwiches and free childcare. Children will play with supervision in rooms that open directly onto the atrium, Ramisch said.
'Fall Back in Love' Couples Enrichment Fair
7-9 p.m. Nov. 9 Wirtz Hall, Northern Illinois University campus
Free parking, refreshments and childcare. All couples are invited to visit booths with games and fun activities to strengthen their relationship.