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Professor leads relationship talk

Ken Walsh | Thursday, September 23, 2004

Notre Dame students gathered with Professor of Psychology, David Smith, at Legends on Wednesday night to discuss dating and relationships in this year’s first session of Theology on Tap.

Smith’s self-proclaimed “doom and gloom” talk focused on finding love and dealing with conflict in a marriage or other relationship.

“The idea that there is ‘the one’ out there is ridiculous, and I’m very, very sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you’ve got to give it up,” Smith said.

He said that while it is a common conception that there is one person for everyone, in reality, there is a very large pool of people to whom any given individual can be successfully married.

According to sophomore Kathleen Krcmaric, however, a merely successful marriage may not be sufficient.

“I just think there is a difference between a successful marriage and a happy marriage. I don’t care if it is a successful marriage. I want to be happy everyday,” Krcmaric said.

Smith also dealt with inevitable conflict in a relationship.

“The best predictor of the course of marriage is how you handle conflict,” he said.

To the surprise of many, Smith negated the importance of feelings of love in a relationship.

“Feelings of love and satisfaction in a relationship have absolutely nothing to do with the long-term success of a relationship. It doesn’t predict divorce, and it doesn’t predict happiness in a relationship,” Smith said.

Regarding relationships at Notre Dame, it is Smith’s belief that there is not enough dating, and the dating that occurs is too heavy and intense.

“I think it is partly due to the fact that [students] are all over-committed to everything [they] do,” he said. “I don’t know whether that is a product of Notre Dame and the culture, or whether Notre Dame selects people that are like that”.

Smith offered a bit of advice about developing relationships, saying that truly healthy conversations with no overtones can be had in even the short time between classes.

“There are a lot of people really missing out, there are great people here, and the more of them you get to know, the better,” Smith said. “But if there is a wall between the genders because you feel like you can only talk at this high level of commitment type of thing, then you are missing out.”

Theology on Tap will take place this semester on Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3, 10 and 17 on the club side of Legends. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and the presentation begins at 10 p.m.

Kwalsh7@nd.edu