Ask Alyssa: Edition 3

“How can I still have a fun-filled summer if I’m stuck taking summer classes or with a 9-5 job?”

    The key to still having a great summer while in classes or a full-time job is the key to pretty much everything else: balance.  Create a bucket list of things you want to accomplish this summer and start accomplishing them, one-by-one, as soon as summer starts.  It doesn’t have to be a long list, but make it meaningful so that when you look back, you not only remember kicking butt in your classes or job, but also have those positive memories to mark summer 2017 by.  There is a time when work is to be done and there is a time to relax and enjoy the warm weather.  They could mix, for instance, if you take your homework or studying outside, but try to manage your time so that you can give 100% into whatever you should at that moment.  When you should be doing your work, do it.  When you plan time for yourself, do it without any school/work related stress in the back of your mind.  This is all easier said than done but when you fail, try again.  Study hard one week then take a trip to the beach the next.  Your summer is what you make it!  

 

“I’ve watched many relationships around me crumble, including my parents, how can I ensure that my love is real and break the cycle of broken marriages?”     

    I just want to start by disclaiming that this is my personal take on breaking the cycle of broken marriages and I realize it can be a very sensitive topic. I don’t ever want to undermine the pain you may have experienced by watching your parents go through a divorce.  That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to break this cycle so don’t despair and write off love as impermanent.  Perhaps the most important thing, which very well may be the hardest, is to heal yourself.  The idea of happily ever after is a myth and any brokenness that you have prior to getting married, will not only not disappear, but will quickly affect your marriage in ways you never would’ve imagined.  It is up to you to decide how you choose to heal, but it’s worth noting that there is absolutely no shame in counseling (I actually think it’s pretty admirable) and luckily as a college student those types of resources are readily available.  I would strongly encourage healing yourself before entering a relationship.  However, if you’re already in a relationship, it’s never too late and will definitely benefit both you and your significant other to work on yourself.  Now, if your attitude is aimed toward a future in marriage (a healthy, lasting one at that) that is not to be taken lightly and your single years are not to be wasted but rather for preparing you to live for someone else “till death do you part”.  You need to define marriage.  What is the purpose of marriage to you?  What are the non-negotiable qualities that you want in your future spouse and possibly the parent to your children?  Once you’ve figured that out, don’t settle.  Date with purpose because a relationship either ends in a break-up or marriage.  But how can you know that the person you're with truly has those qualities that you want in your future spouse?  That’s where the natural progression of a relationship comes in.  It’s hard when your judgment is clouded by your intense emotions, but it is possible to look at your relationships objectively.  Dr. John Van Epp, president/founder of “Love Thinks”, uses a RAM (relationship attachment model) to map out the natural progression of a relationship.  The order in which a relationship should follow is know, trust, rely, commit, and touch.  No tier of the RAM should be at a higher level than its predecessor, meaning you should not trust someone unless you truly know them and so forth.  I’ve only just gotten started on this topic but for now, try taking those steps toward healing yourself, defining marriage, realizing what you want in your future spouse, and letting your relationships progress naturally using the RAM.  There is a such thing as true love.  It may not be what you think, but it’s out there and you deserve it.  I’m rooting for you.