Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community will host its annual Dating, Engagement and Marriage Week March 7-12. The week’s activities will be incorporated into the weekly Ouachita events Noonday, Chapel and Refuge. Events will also include breakout sessions for single and dating students and a week night dinner and weekend retreat for engaged and married couples.
The speakers for the week will be three Ouachita deans and their wives, OBU’s university counselor and his wife and other notable ministry leaders.
“This is such an important time in life for our students,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director for the Elrod Center and DEM Week program coordinator. “We want to do everything we can to help them by giving them the needed tools to develop and maintain meaningful and healthy relationships with the opposite sex.”
On Monday, Noonday will be held at noon in Berry Chapel and led by Bryan McKinney, dean of Ouachita’s School of Business and associate professor of business law, and his wife, Leanne. All students are invited to attend a breakout session to be held at 4 p.m. at the Elrod Center themed “Courting Contentment.” The session will be led by Michael Cox, director of residence life at OBU, and his wife, Terese, an adjunct instructor at OBU; they will each lead independent sections for men and women only. The session will focus on pursuing contentment as a lifestyle whether single or in a relationship.
Leading Tuesday’s Chapel service will be Mark and Linda Whitworth, Member Care Team leaders for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. The couple will also lead a breakout session at 4 p.m. in the Elrod Center themed “Running the Amazing Relationship Race.”
On Wednesday, Noonday will be led by Dr. Jeff Root, dean of Ouachita’s School of Humanities and professor of mass communications, and his wife, Deborah, chair of Ouachita’s Rogers Department of Communications and professor of mass communications. A final 4 p.m. breakout session will be hosted at the Elrod Center and led by the Coxes themed “How to Speak Their Language: Cross Gender Communication.”
Thursday’s Refuge will feature OBU graduates Clay Cunningham, minister to students at First Baptist Church in Benton, Ark., and his wife, Stacy.
On Friday, Noonday will be led by Dr. Danny Hays, dean of Ouachita’s Pruet School of Christian Studies and professor of Biblical studies, and his wife, Donna, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in the Bismarck, Ark., school district and adjunct ESL instructor at OBU.
Two expenses-paid events will also be held especially for engaged and married couples. Tuesday evening, a dinner will be hosted at the Honeycomb restaurant in downtown Arkadelphia, Ark., at 6 p.m. with Dan Jarboe, university counselor, and his wife, Kyle, as speakers.
The weekend retreat for engaged and married couples will be held at the Wingate Hotel in Little Rock, Ark., themed “Communication – The Key to Your Marriage.” Sessions will be led by Jackson Dunn, the university relationships coordinator for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University, and his wife, Krista, a full-time mom and part-time kindergarten teacher.
Dating, Engagement and Marriage Week is in its 16th year on Ouachita’s campus.
“In the beginning the focus was on our married students on campus,” Duvall said, “but we have expanded the week to include topics that would be of interest to everyone, including those in a relationship and those who are not. This allows everyone to be involved, and college students are always eager to learn how to have good relationships.”
By Whitney Crews