By Paula Diaz
With a room full of girls and a small set of guys scattered here and there, Laurie Polich-Short, associate pastor of Ocean Hills Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, Calif., began Thursday night’s “Love, Sex, and Dating” event by congratulating the group of guys in attendance. The room immediately filled up with a chorus of giggles from the girls, getting Laurie’s message off to a great start.
“The Greeks have three words that they use to describe what love is, ‘eros, philia, and agape,’ ” Laurie began, “the differences in all of these are so important because love isn’t like picking what kind of movie you want to watch; it’s so much more than that.”
And with that, Laurie got right to the heart of love, making every person in the room immediately think back on their own rela- tionships, both past and present. “I really liked the way that she talked about [being] creative when dating and how you can keep things classy [while still being] romantic and fun,” freshman Bethany Katlynn said, “it definitely made me think about any future re- lationships, especially just about being supportive and loving God through it.”
With a quick lesson on the different definitions of love according to the Greeks, Laurie then went on to explain the four characteristics of love, based off of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind, love doesn’t insist on its own way, and lastly, love is not resentful.
“Slow [love] down,” Laurie said, “What’s real about us is what’s on the inside…when we’re patient and slow it down we get to know [the other person] and make a good relationship out of a solid foundation of a friendship.”
But love, while patient, according to Laurie is not just about do- ing things with patience. It’s also about being kind and understanding where the other person is coming from. “How many of you girls have been upset with your significant oth- er and expected him to know that something is wrong by giving him a silent treatment and then saying ‘you’re fine’ the second he finally asks what’s wrong?” Laurie asked the group.
The room filled with guilty laughter as girls raised their hands, in the quiet shame of girl pride. Laurie reminded everyone in the crowd that re- lationships are about communication and that the silent treatment, no matter what it’s over, must be overcome.
“Laurie helped me have a clearer view on relation- ships, and what is and isn’t healthy…I definitely walked away from the event with a better per- spective on life,” fresh- man Ashley Oates said. “I learned that everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay to mess up in a relationship.”
On her third point, love doesn’t insist on its own way, Laurie reminded all girls and guys attending that sex is something to be celebrated and waited upon until marriage.
“Today’s culture can make you feel like an alien when it comes to sex, but God’s word hasn’t changed…sex is not a gift that you give someone unless it comes in the context of marriage,” Laurie said, “even if it’s an act that you have already done, God is a forgiving God that wants you to feel a love so special that you are made new in Him.”
Then came her last point, the important reminder that love is not resentful and never should be. Laurie reminded everyone that resent- ment only takes hold of the person with those feelings, making him or her a captive of their own emotions and eventually holding them- selves back.