In a world full of heterosexist “norms,” relationships among gay and lesbian couples can often be difficult. Whether it’s a person’s coming out process, lack of support from family and friends or the near constant social messages saying your life with your partner isn’t accepted, building and maintaing a relationship can become complicated. But as Dr. Dina B. Evan, a speaker, activist and relationship therapist says, “Relationships are the most fulfilling and wonderful gift on the planet, if you are willing to be fully in them and do the work of your soul.”

Evan is the author of “Break Up or Break Through: A spiritual guide to richer gay and lesbian relationships” (Second Edition, Alyson Books, 2008). She’s spent years counseling couples, together and individually, and has been outspoken on LGBT equality issues for decades — she once officiated at a mass marriage ceremony/protest in front of the IRS during the 1987 March on Washington.

On Memorial Day Weekend, Evan visits Winston-Salem’s Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship for a two-day relationship seminar tailor-made for same-sex couples.

What is love? How do I create a lasting relationship? Where did that joy and “in love” feeling go? Do I leave, or do I go? Why can love be so painful? These are just some of the questions folks have when they come to Evan’s seminars, and they leave learning how to respect their partners, create deeper meaning in their relationships, understand managing conflict and resolution, create safe and meaningful healing and bring back the love, life and passion of their relationships.

In her book and in her seminars, Evan encourages couples to do the hard, soul-searching work that leads to greater personal and relational awareness. She says the steps toward relationship bliss aren’t complex: One, stay present. Two, be honest. Three, act out of love, not fear.

Although a two-day workshop might not solve all the problems in your relationship, it certainly could be a good start.

Evan’s seminar runs May 28-29 at Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, 1005 Burke St., Suite B (lower level). Registration costs for couples is $190. For non-church members, the cost is $250. Individuals can sign up for $125. Registration is open at : :

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.