If you know me at all, you know that I just LOVE my job (I'm an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at JMU if you didn't know). Everything about it. I love creating interesting and engaging assignments, I love classroom discussion about important things, I love educating young minds, and I love watching those young people have "ah-ha" moments.
This summer, I taught a class that I created called Communication Skills in Romantic Relationships to a group of 11 undergads. It. Was. Incredible.
Most of the class was disseminated in a private Facebook group. We kept in touch, they submitted many of their assignments, and they had lengthy discussion about relationships there. And they said some really insightful things. They said things that made me sit back and think, "Wow! I love that. They're really getting it. This is GREAT!" I must have thought these thoughts several times a week; especially in the final weeks.
Some of their words were so great, that I thought I'd compile them on my blog. So, here it goes. Some inspiring words about love, sex, and relationships from some rather wise 19-22 year olds.
"I think that people bring up the negatives of the past because they are unhappy with the present state of affairs and use the past to warrant this unhappiness."
"In managing conflict, couples have the opportunity for transformation and growth (Cloke, 2001), which can allow them to arrive at a better future (Puhn, 2010)."
"Talking about sex allows you to not only better please your partner, it also allows you to understand what satisfies them, leading to enhanced fulfillment of their needs."
"How can conflict be a good thing? According to Kenneth Cloke in his 2001 book, Mediating Dangerously, when facing conflict, people uncover new choices and have transformation opportunities that allow them to grow and learn about their inner selves. Not only do conflicts create an opportunity for growth of the individual, but they also are an important context for spouses to gauge whether they are in a relatively fulfilling or unfulfilling relationship, according to a 2005 article published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology by Dr. Matthew Johnson and his colleagues."
"The end of a relationship often marks the beginning of something new."
Near the end of the semester, I asked them to answer the following question: Based on what you know after taking this class, if you were to give a friend ONE piece of advice about relationships, what would it be? Some of their great answers are below.
"Based on what I have learned from this class, if I were to give a friend one piece of advice about relationships it would be that in order to be satisfied in a romantic relationship one must truly appreciate their romantic partner. By that I mean, individuals must never forget to love, respect, and communicate with their romantic partners so that they will continue to grow and develop. Many romantic partners tend to forget the little things that are so significant in a romantic relationship such as really listening to their partner and even communicating words of affirmation. It is critical to express love and support towards your romantic partner no matter how long you have been together."
"After taking this course, the best piece of advice I would give a friend comes from Puhn’s (2009) book. I would tell my friend to always greet your significant other and tell him/her good morning and goodnight. I would also remind my friend to show appreciation and give compliments to his/her partner regularly. All of these practices when installed as a daily communication routine will let your partner know that you love him or her and that your partner is an important part of your life."
"If I was limited to one piece of advice, I would let my friend know to keep thinking about the positive things about their partner. If you keep your partner in your mind for all the positive things they have done and are doing, relational satisfaction will increase as a result."
"If I was to give a friend one piece of advice about relationships it would be to keep an open, positive mind and remember that no relationship is perfect; we are all human. Sometimes people forget that happiness has to go both ways and that we can not be self-centered in a relationship. It is important to remember that a relationship involves two people and that both partners have to actively be willing to keep an open mind and work at speaking each others love languages. We can not expect that our partner will never make mistakes because that is unreasonable. Everyone needs a little work in their relationship and in order to achieve this we have to keep the lines of communication open."
Aren't these comments great? I just love my job. Which one is your favorite?