Three tips guide students to grow in and for relationships


Photo by: Elena Mirus

A national speaker and university alumna called on students to know themselves in order to be better prepared for romantic relationships in her laughter-inducing talk Sunday night in the Gentile Gallery. 

In her talk entitled “Date Like You’re Catholic: 3 Secrets to Sinning Less and Loving More,” Marriana Leach-Duncan shared three practical tips for people who want to be in a relationship.  

Leach-Duncan began the talk with her simple point: “Franciscan’s a little weird.” 

As an alumna of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Leach-Duncan explained that she recognized how different the university’s dating culture is compared to the rest of the world. After enumerating some funny stereotypes that are relatively unique to this campus — namely the “silent sufferer,” the “discerner” and the “flirt-and-flee” — she explained the three secrets to entering and maintaining a good relationship. 

Leach-Duncan’s first tip was to work on self-knowledge. “We have to know who we are so that we can know what we need. More than that, we have to know who we are so that we know what he’s (God’s) asking us to give,” she said. Leach-Duncan explained that it is in listening prayer that people can discover more about themselves. 

The second tip she gave was to improve self-discipline, namely in growing in virtue. “It’s important because of hormones!” she said. “It’s important for us to conform ourselves to our God so that we know what is true and what is not true. … We know that our decisions shape us, that virtue is something that actually chisels us into who we’re meant to be.” 

Leach-Duncan’s final tip was to use words. To the men, she encouraged them to be intentional because “if you’re not intentional, she’s overthinking.” She explained that men’s words are meant to lead and “the same God who carved the mountains has carved into your DNA the ability to lead and protect and provide.” 

To the ladies, Leach-Duncan said to be clear in what they want or need because they cannot assume that men can read their minds. She said this can simply mean a woman asking a man for clarification when he is sending her mixed signals.  

Leach-Duncan said that relationships on campus may be different than the world expects, but “we have what the entire world is looking for.”  

After the talk, students lingered discussing their big takeaways. Freshman Brendan Burke appreciated the reflection on virtue, and he recounted the necessity to “start with one small action. Virtue is very attractive, and small actions build into virtue. Have accountability in the little things. 

For freshman Kristina Beer, the third tip was especially helpful. “So often, women overthink men’s actions instead of just speaking what’s on their minds. If we want to be treated well, we have to communicate what that means to us,” she said. 

This talk was sponsored by Trinity Hall Residence Life.