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Lecture discusses relationships

Carly Landon | Thursday, March 25, 2010

“There are a lot of complaints that there’s not a lot of dating going on here at Notre Dame, yet we see a lot of undergraduates getting married. What’s going on?” senior Nella McOsker said as she introduced “It’s Complicated,” — a presentation held Wednesday at Legends.

Questions such as why relationships on campus are so hard to find and maintain were examined as part of the Gender Relation Center’s Signature Series and Theology on Tap.
Three speakers offered relationship advice through personal anecdotes, published research on relationships and their own observations on healthy relationships.

Senior Laura Lauck, a psychology major, spoke about making a relationship on campus work. Tom Patterson, a graduate student, discussed making a relationship a vocation through marriage and Megan Brown, a University Counseling Center staff psychologist discussed the indicators of a successful relationship.

“The reality is that not everyone is hooking up, not everyone is getting a ring by spring and some people are dating,” Lauck said. 

One audience member called Lauck the “success story of Notre Dame” and asked for her secret. She cited the importance of respect in any relationship. 

“I want to emphasize the importance of balance in a relationship by showing how my significant other and I have exercised balancing in navigating our own relationship,” Lauck said.

Patterson, an engaged graduate student at Notre Dame, discussed the choice to get married and highlighted the vocation of all human beings to love. 

“Think about when we say, ‘You’re the one,'” Patterson said. “I think that is wrong because there is not just one person in the world to love us. God is the source of all love so we want to hold that unique place for God. Thus the goal for us in our relationship should be how to participate in God’s love in a special way.”

Both Patterson and Brown stressed humility as a necessary characteristic of a working relationship.

“I think that part of that freedom in bringing God into a relationship is having that sense that I’m just a person, I don’t have all the answers,” Patterson said, “There is that humility piece that we have to have.”

Brown offered factors of good relationships and bad relationships based on research done on couples over the past 48 years.

“How we speak to each other, how we treat each other is important in relationships,” Brown said, “Rolling of the eyes or putting somebody down is poison to relationships. If somebody is doing this, they have got to go. It is unhealthy and it is not right.”

There are seven keys to making marriage work, according to Brown. She stressed factors such as friendship, connecting every day, having a positive attitude and recognizing that some problems cannot be solved and need to be managed.

“It is difficult to walk way from a relationship that isn’t bringing us closer to God, but it’s something we all need to be able to do,” Patterson said.