Valentine’s Day is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. Whether you choose to celebrate by going to a favorite restaurant with your significant other or making cards for your closest friends, it is an opportunity to show your appreciation and love to anyone. But what do California Baptist University professors think of Valentine’s Day? Do they have any relationship advice for the college-aged generation?
Dr. Sam Welbaum, assistant professor of philosophy, met his wife through an online dating site. But when he messaged her, she did not respond for three days.
“She was in Big Bear with her friends celebrating her 30th birthday, and it was during the Dorner incident when there was a serial killer,” Welbaum said. “SWAT shut everything down, so she wasn’t really thinking about a dating app. She was thinking, ‘We have a SWAT team outside and there’s a killer on the loose.’ But the day before Valentine’s Day, she messaged me and we started talking.”
Welbaum emphasized how crucial it is to be intentional and honest with your actions. Do not let the fear of ruining a friendship prevent you from letting the other person know you are interested.
“To all the people who are interested in somebody and say, ‘Well, I really enjoy our friendship. I don’t want to lose that’ — the fact is you will lose that friendship,” Welbaum said. “Within 10 years that friendship is gone anyway because one of you is going to end up with somebody else.”
Couples also need to have the same set of beliefs. Any discrepancies can lead to complications in the future.
“Scripture says don’t be unequally yoked,” Welbaum said. “If I can’t say that I’m dating this person to the glory of God, then I should not be dating this person. If dating this person is not an act of worship and if it wounds my spiritual walk, then it’s probably problematic.”
Welbaum has noticed that seniors, in particular, face pressure with finding “the one.” When dating, try not to have ridiculous expectations, but also do not settle.
“The pursuit of perfection is a great way to end up perpetually single, but the pursuit of tolerating something that’s not tolerable is a great way to be miserable,” Welbaum said.
Megan Elledge, adjunct professor of English, met her husband because another CBU professor convinced her to join an online dating site.
But for Elledge, Valentine’s Day is not always dedicated to celebrating romantic love. Instead, she suggested giving a box of chocolates to one of your close friends or sending flowers to a family member.
“Being single for so long, I would either do something nice for myself or I would hang out with the girls,” Elledge said. “I even got my parents gifts sometimes. It’s just a day to love on people who support you.”
It is easy to feel lonely around Valentine’s Day, but learning about yourself before getting into a relationship is crucial. Being single serves as an opportunity to grow within yourself and with your faith.
“I know there are times you don’t like being single,” Elledge said. “But looking back now, that was so foundational for me. It was important to focus on that time bettering myself and growing closer to God.”
Dating can also be difficult. The possibility of spending the rest of your future with the other person can make it nerve-wracking, and disappointment may follow when it does not end up the way you hoped.
“I feel when it doesn’t work out, it’s like this ‘horrible’ thing,” Elledge said. “If you go on a date, you should have that mindset of ‘It’s to go have fun,’ not ‘It’s the one maybe.’ That way, if it doesn’t work out, you’re just like, ‘OK, I’m closer to meeting my husband or my wife.’”
Dr. Natalie Winter, professor of management and marketing, met her husband while they were serving as small group leaders for the young adult ministry at church. They prefer not to celebrate Valentine’s Day since they would rather invest in their relationship all year long than only on one particular day.
“Find someone who loves Jesus,” Winter said. “When you face challenging times, the foundation of you both loving Jesus will allow you to find truth in his word and commit to supporting and loving each other through whatever storms life brings your way.”
This helps to navigate any difficulties you encounter. However, how do you exactly resolve the issues that arise in a relationship?
“Be the first person to seek resolution,” Winter said. “If you’re racing each other to see who can be first to resolve an issue, you’re going to resolve any type of conflict quickly and you’re going to do it with the other person’s best interest in mind rather than trying to fight for your perspective.”
It is important to deeply appreciate the blessings God has given you, including your significant other, Winter said.
“Marriage is a gift,” Winter said. “Apart from my salvation in Jesus Christ, my husband is the best gift that God has ever given me.”
Dr. Bruce Prins, professor of biology, has a favorite Valentine’s Day gift that he gave to his wife. He gave her a necklace with a pearl inside. He had gotten the pearl at an amusement park when he was seven and saved it for his future wife.
Prins and his wife met on a church river trip. They happened to sit next to each other during lunchtime and decided to share their food.
“I pulled out my Ritz crackers with peanut butter and jelly and she said, ‘Oh, I don’t like jelly.’ So I licked off the jelly to be funny, but she took it and ate it. And I could hear the angels singing and thought, ‘Wow, this is my kind of girl’,’’ Dr. Prins said.
The following week, she attended his church, and their love only grew from there.
“The longer we’re together, the more I see other remarkable things in her,” Dr. Prins said. “I think that’s one of the beauties of being together for so long.”
As relationships evolve over time, however, there are seasons of difficulties that are bound to occur. Remembering the one thing your relationship is founded upon — love — can serve as a way to resolve issues. Prins recalled the specific time he learned this lesson:
“I don’t know what we were fighting about, you can never remember,” Dr. Prins said. “We were both looking in the opposite direction, and it was clear to me that this relationship could end right now. But I felt God saying, ‘You love her.’ So I turned to her and said, ‘You know whatever is going on here, I love you. So let’s work it out.’ And of course, God plays such a big role in that. Your love for each other just gets deeper as your love for God does.”
Because of that profound moment, Prins and his wife are together to this day. Putting effort into a worthwhile relationship definitely reaps good results.
“God completely changed the trajectory of my life when I met her,” Dr. Prins said. “It’s like, man, when you walk with the Lord, you never know what’s right around the corner. It’s amazing.”
Finding “the one” can seem impossible. Relationships can be complicated. However, whether it be your significant other, family and friends, or even yourself, Valentine’s Day is simply a celebration of those you love.