OPINIONS: Biolans still crave relationship wisdom

Bognuda discusses on DTR Week, professors’ advice, and thoughts on dating and marriage.

Alison Bognuda, Writer

Frank Sinatra had a song with the opening line, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” This song is reminiscent of a time when a horse and carriage had a little more contextual application than it does now, and when marriage had a very different cultural definition.

If this song were to be rewritten as a cover that was accurate to our current culture, it would have to say, “Love and sex go together like…” It’s heartbreaking that marriage means so little to many people –– both outside and inside the church. We’re fighting a battle for integrity in relationships here at Biola, too.

Biola attempts to educate students on relationships

Biola tries to aid us in our battle for purity and complexities of romantic relationships through things like Torrey Conferences and chapel series like this week’s DTR series. Tuesday was an amazing blessing, with the Thoenneses, Graces, and Muehlhoffs in one room to talk about singleness, dating and marriage. It is these times that make paying $17,000 a semester worthwhile, even if I did not agree with everything that was said.

I think there is a lot of wisdom and practical advice that is offered to us, but I wonder if chapels, theology studies and group discussions on dating and relationships are enough.
The reality is, if we don’t actually apply the things we learn, then what’s the point? I think there should be a certain amount of effort made outside of the classroom, chapels and, as Thoennes said, “staring at each other over a frappa-cappuccino.”

Biola’s community should apply outside of “bubble”

Biola is an amazing community, but it is a rare opportunity that we get here, not to just study with, but live with an entire community of Christians. In the real world, your neighbor might not be a devoted Christian. They could be a bitter atheist fueled by bitterness towards Christians because they had a bad experience in church, or a Muslim man who is fighting to protect his children from being persecuted, and your job is to love them.

Applying this to marriage, I wonder if we would be better prepared for a life committed to each other if we tried having a relationship outside of Biola. If the hardest thing you’ve gone through in your relationship is the stress of finals week, then maybe try serving at Skid Row and praying for the homeless and destitute. Face life outside the bubble, and see how you handle it before you make commitments.

Marriage should be considered carefully

I love that both the Thoennes and the Muehlhoffs talked about the importance of doing ministry together while you’re dating. There is something about moving away from all the face-to-face interactions to the side by side practices — going outside comfort zones, fighting, serving and sacrificing with each other for the good of community, not just for the good of each other.

As I listened to the speakers on Tuesday’s panel, I was excited to hear them emphasize the importance of personal development before marriage. My concern is that young people get married before they really know who they are, or what they want in life. Maybe they have not spent enough time working on their identity in God. Maybe they haven’t dreamed about their own life. What happens when you start dating –– if you are dating with marriage in mind –– and you end up molding your dreams around your partner’s before you’ve even shaped your own? Let God show you who you are first.

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