Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community will host the annual Dating, Engagement and Marriage Week March 1-6 on Ouachita’s campus. The theme of building strong relationships will be incorporated into Ouachita’s weekly events through Noonday, chapel and Refuge. There will also be breakout sessions for students and off-campus events for married and engaged couples.
“This is a fun week,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center. “Our students are of course interested in romantic relationships, and we want to give them the tools they need to have strong relationships centered in Christ.”
The events of the week will be led by several different speakers and couples both from Ouachita and other universities.
“The process of developing our interpersonal skills is a life-long endeavor,” said Ian Cosh, director of the Elrod Center. “Common sense and wisdom would seem to dictate that we learn from others, particularly those who have the training and experience to share their insights.”
At noon on Monday, Noonday will be led by Dan Jarboe, Ouachita’s university counselor, and his wife, Kyle, and it will focus on dating. Later that day at 3 p.m., Jarboe will also lead a breakout session at the Elrod Center where he will teach students about having friendships with the opposite sex without fear.
The breakout sessions are a new addition to the week’s activities. Duvall explained, “These sessions will be a fun, interactive time with good food to go along with it.”
Tuesday will begin with Dr. Guy Grimes, a lecturer in Christian studies at California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif., speaking at chapel. Students are invited to join Grimes and his wife, Roxanna, after chapel for lunch and a question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. in the Commons Alumni Room. That afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the Elrod Center, Grimes will lead the guys-only breakout session, “Decoding Women,” while his wife will lead the girls-only “Decoding Men” session.
Tuesday evening, an expenses-paid Engaged and Married Couples Dinner will be held at the Honeycomb restaurant in downtown Arkadelphia with the Grimeses as speakers.
On Wednesday, Dustin and Kellie McCulloch will lead a Noonday service focusing on engagement. Then, seriously dating and engaged couples can join the breakout session “I think I may be in love, so now what?” at the Elrod Center at 3 p.m. led by Jarboe.
At Thursday’s Refuge, Terese Cox, OBU assistant director of campus ministries, will speak about dating.
Friday’s events begin with a Noonday service focusing on marriage led by Tim Harrell, OBU director of campus activities, and his wife, Nancy, assistant director of residence life at OBU.
The week’s events will conclude with an expenses-paid Engaged and Married Couples Retreat held at the Wingate Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. “Each year the Elrod Center receives a grant to provide this retreat for married and engaged students at OBU,” Duvall said.
The theme of the retreat is “Conflict Management: The Power of Healthy Conflict,” and will be led by Dr. Chris Grace, professor of psychology and vice president for student development and university planning at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and his wife, Alisa.
“I would encourage all students to take part in the events of this week whether they are in a relationship or not,” Duvall said. “All of the events are designed to help students better communicate with and relate to the opposite sex. I think if students take part in the week, they will come away feeling like the time was beneficial.”
For more information about the week or the Elrod Center, visit www.obu.edu/elrod.
By Rebecca Stone