#RelationshipGoals: A hashtag used by some couples in order to imply that their relationship serves as a model for the relationship of others, whether platonic or romantic.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, a panel sponsored by the Counseling & Testing Center entitled #RelationshipGoals was held for students, single or otherwise, to discuss romance and relationships in general. The panel was composed of six individuals and a moderator: Jeff Smith and his wife Twyla, Rodlie Ortiz (Pastor of This Generation Evangelism at Pioneer Memorial Church), Kevin Wilson (third year, Master of Divinity), Sebastian Lopez (first year, Master of Divinity), and Sebastian’s fiancee, Chantal Williams (third year, Doctor of Physical Therapy). Calin Gillespie (second year, Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling), an intern at the Counseling & Testing Center, served as the moderator.
Those on the panel were chosen in part due to their relationship status. The Smiths have been married for 25 years and together run Adventist Engaged Encounter, an enrichment weekend for engaged and recently married couples. Ortiz is also married. And like Lopez and Williams, as mentioned previously, Wilson is engaged.
The panel jumped around from topic to topic, answering questions how to drop subtle hints of affection, role models and toxic relationships.
In order to kick off the seminar, Gillespie asked the panelists if they had any concerns regarding relationships, which led to a variety of answers. Ortiz stated that “relationships are fundamentally contracts,” and as such, clear expectations lead to stable relationships. Twyla elaborated on this point, discussing how being a good friend and showing commitment were two major points in successful relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic. However, all the panelists agreed that a relationship involves support and sharing in each other’s journey.
Throughout the course of the seminar, there was a texting poll open, through which audience members could send in their questions. One of the most asked questions was one regarding toxic relationships, and how to know if one is in such a relationship. A major indicator, according to the panel, involved one’s relationship with his or her friends. If one’s partner is constantly causing him or her to feel alienated from his or her other relationships, it may be a bad sign. In addition, if the relationship consists of two partners breaking each other down, rather than building each other up, one may want to reconsider his or her choice of partner. However, the panelists also stated that many people do not understand that they are in a toxic relationship. If that is the case, the panelists advised one to ask trusted friends, or seek out the Counseling & Testing Center for advice, as they will provide a valuable outside perspective.
At the end of the seminar, the panelists closed with a few pieces of final advice. They all agreed that one should strive for a relationship that fits his or her personal situations, rather than striving to imitate norms or what is common in society. Finally, they emphasized that relationships take work, and one must be willing to undertake that work and that commitment, because it will not always be smooth sailing.
So as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, don’t feel pressured to rush into a relationship. Seek out people who share your values, who are good friends, and above all, people who push you to be a better you.