Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community will host its annual Healthy Relationships Week March 1-8. The week’s activities will be incorporated into the weekly Ouachita events Noonday, Chapel and Refuge. Additional breakout sessions for students and events especially for engaged and married couples will also be on the schedule.
“Healthy Relationships Week focuses on the fact that our ability to relate well to others can be developed,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement. “There are no shortcuts to growth. This week provides us with the opportunity to bring in speakers who are experts in the field and the opportunity to hear from those who have rich life experiences to share.”
“I would encourage those in a relationship or not in a relationship to fully engage in the events of the week,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center and HRW program coordinator. “Students spend at least 4 years preparing for their careers and life work. But how much time do they spend preparing for healthy relationships and eventually the most important relationship of their lives? Healthy relationships begin and develop with good communication skills, an ability to relate to the opposite sex and a healthy self image and identity in Christ.”
Jessica Lamb, a senior English major from Bedford, Texas, has attended Healthy Relationship Week events since her freshman year. “I’ve experienced this week while single, dating, being engaged and now as a married person,” Lamb said. “Each time God has used this week to draw my attention to some unhealthy habit in my relationships. This week is important because it helps me identify those problem spots and reset them.
“Regardless of your current ‘relationship status,’ you have people in your life you love,” Lamb added. “Take the time to let God speak to you about what it looks like to love others well.”
The week kicks off with an expenses-paid weekend retreat for engaged and married couples. The retreat will be hosted from Friday, March 1, to Saturday, March 2, at the Wingate Hotel in Little Rock with speakers Jeff and Mary Sanders from Bethel Seminary.
On Monday, Kevin Coleman, OBU admissions counselor, and his wife, Erin, a senior biology major from Garland, Texas, will speak at Noonday, held at 12 noon in Berry Chapel.
Tuesday, Michael Johnson, a relationships expert, will speak in chapel at 10 a.m. in Jones Performing Arts Center. The theme will be “Life Lessons: Contentment, Trust and Discernment.” At 12:15 p.m. in the Ouachita Commons Alumni Room, Johnson will be available for further discussion and a question-and-answer session. Johnson will speak at two more breakout sessions in Berry Chapel that day, “Life Disciplines: God’s Word, Community and Prayer” at 4 p.m. and “Life Decisions: Making Peace with Your Past and Giving Your Future to God” at 9 p.m.
Also on Tuesday, engaged and married couples are invited to attend a dinner at the Honeycomb restaurant in downtown Arkadelphia at 6 p.m. with Johnson.
Wednesday, Noonday will be led by Dr. Ray Franklin, associate professor of Christian missions, and his wife, Ardith. All students are invited to attend a breakout session, “Relationships that Work,” at 4 p.m. in the Elrod Center. Led by Dan Jarboe, the university counselor, the session will address how to identify healthy and unhealthy patterns in relationships. A women-only breakout session on being content and living joyfully in this season of life, “What to Do When Prince Charming Is Taking His Own Sweet Time,” will be led by Tiffany Eurich, instructor of communications, at 9 p.m. in the Elrod Center.
Thursday night’s Refuge service will be held at 9 p.m. at Second Baptist Church and will be led by Scott Haynes, dean of students and residence hall director, and his wife, Katie.
Friday’s Noonday service will be led by Lee and Deb Miller, OBU’s missionaries-in-residence.
By Mary Castleman