Couples engage in seminar

Center for Marriage and Relationships hosted event on communication.

Samantha Gassaway and Jessica Goddard

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With seminars, retreats, events and guest speakers, Center for Marriage and Relationships seems a daunting place for undergraduate students to approach. However, the organization provides a forum for conversation and free advice for any and all Biola students. The seminar the weekend of Feb. 25-26 represents much of the CMR’s efforts to close that gap, and they have many resources for Biola undergraduates to interact with.

Biola dating culture is strange and unhealthy

Students often pose this question to Chris Grace, professor of psychology and one of the founders of the CMR — what resources are available to help with small relationships as well as big ones? Grace affirms consistently that Biola dating culture is strange and unhealthy, and analyzing why begins with listening to the experts in the area.

Despite what Hollywood and Disney would have the world believe, relationships take work and support from friends, explaining why the CMR hosts relationship conferences throughout the year.

“We speak into [Biola dating culture] from a psychological standpoint, a communication standpoint and a biblical standpoint,” said Tim Muehlhoff, professor of communications studies. “So in other words, what does the Bible say about marriage and relationships? Everything that goes into having a good relationship: which is forgiveness, understanding, trust, empathy.”

Around 30 couples, mostly alumni, graduate or undergraduate students — though non-Biola affiliated couples could attend — went to a two-part seminar called “Growing a Healthy Relationship” held by the CMR on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Steve Lee and Twyla Lee, two guest speakers from Colorado, presented on the topic “Communication: The Key to a Great Relationship” in an 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. event in the Cafe Banquet Room. Twenty-two seriously dating, three engaged and six married couples attended the conference, which was split into three parts: the sessions, talking time in between where couples would process and ask questions, and the “Great Date,” an organized fancy evening for the couples to celebrate what they learned in the conference.

this whole "ring-by-spring" thing

“We talk a lot about the [Biola dating] culture and what we think could be some helpful ways to process and bring back some things. What’s healthy dating and relationships. It is just weird, this whole ‘ring-by-spring.’ Biola’s not the only place that deals with that,” Grace said.

Steve explained why young couples should attend conferences like this. He believes humans have to work hard in relationships ultimately because of their fallen sinful nature. Selfishness and pride are two of the biggest obstacles in relationships.

“We address the whacked-out atmosphere that’s at Biola when it comes to dating. It’s just crazy, it’s not healthy. You’re either not dating or you’re jumping into a relationship. You’re going from zero to 60 way too quickly. And everybody knows that, and everybody talks about it and people even joke about it, but it does no good for students at Biola when they can’t do casual dating,” Muehlhoff said.

Steve and Twyla also expressed a similar standpoint on “the one” that members of the CMR hold. Twyla explained in the fast-paced American culture, people constantly look for a better option of a partner, even when in relationship.

“In American society, everything is to be done quickly, and relationships take time. When things get tough, you don’t just run away and find something better,” Twyla said. “We are kind of a throw away society and things gotta happen quick, so both of those things go against us.”

Yet, they left the students with help and hope about relationships and marriage. They stated that even though relationships take work, they prove worth the effort.

“It is hard, but that’s OK,” Steve said. And Twyla added, “No situation is impossible.”