Relationship retreat guides students, inspires universities

Biola’s Relationship Retreat aims to give young couples a space to ask questions and gain outside perspective.


| Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Alex Bell, Writer

Dr. Grace and his wife Alisa have traveled to over 50 schools and attended them as guest speakers for conferences like the Biola Relationship Retreat. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES


They can be found by the Fluor Fountain at night and in each other’s Instagram posts by day. Biola couples are not exactly in hiding. As a response to this trend, Biola faculty presents a Relationship Retreat. Led by the Biola Center of Marriage and Relationships, this retreat aims at giving young couples a chance at surviving married life.


“The relationship retreat stems from donors who said ‘I want to give students at Christian universities the greatest chance to succeed at relationships, and therefore I would like to fund programs and speakers designed for young, newly married, engaged, or seriously dating couples at universities.’ So, eight years ago, we applied for the grant and got it,” said Chris Grace, the director of CMR.

The donor benefited from someone speaking into his married life, inspiring him to create a similar opportunity for students. He and his spouse realized God had called them to use their financial resources to provide this for students, Grace said. They believe that it is most beneficial to have an outside source speak into your relationship in the beginning stages to create lifelong habits.

“If students leave Biola and haven’t had the chance to process and ask questions about relationships, we haven’t done our job. This is a great time to start to develop and form how to navigate relationships well,” Grace said.


Graduating college should provide you with experiences outside of math classes and all nighters in the library. Therefore, students notice a need for this as well.

“It’s really important that if you’re in a relationship you try to seek out what God intends for that relationship and that both people in that relationship can work with each other and figure out what is expected of them because it’s hard,” said senior human biology major Jasmine Balderaz.

The Relationship Retreat provides a space for those in a relationship to learn not only how to resolve conflict and communicate better, but also a place to get away from the noisiness of life.

“The more you are immersed in society, it distracts you, it can take away what it is that God intends for relationships to be like,” Balderaz said.

Where the positive opinions are presented, downsides of focusing on relationships arise.

“The gift of being celibate could not be viewed as a gift, but as a punishment. I think presenting both sides would be good. No one talks about celibacy being a gift as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians,” said senior biblical studies major Chase Webster.


Even in light of this, the relationship retreat has major benefits.

“I think it is useful. I don’t want people to focus too much on relationships, but if they are they should do this,” said Webster.

However, Biola is not the only school putting on these retreats. Over 50 other schools around the country have applied for the grant, received it and also put on a conference, Grace said. Grace and his wife Alisa have traveled to these schools and attended them as guest speakers.

Along with these other school communities, Biola wants to help students ask questions about relationships, says Grace. Whether or not they get married, Biola students will have to make decisions pertaining to the idea of marriage, an idea that Grace says culture is shifting around.

“It’s always been a given and accepted. Things people have never questioned, well, now they do,” Grace said.

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