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Valentine’s panel says God, commitment are key for successful relationships

Cutline for Valentine’s Chapel Panel Discussion: From left, Dr. Elisha and Jamie Lawrence, Fabio and Valeska Moreira, Trent and Sarah Creason, Tracy and Dr. Eric Bruns and Lorri and Jim Hardy participate in a panel discussion on relationships at Campbellsville University’s Valentine’s Day chapel. (Campbellsville University Photo by Chosalin Morales)

By Daisy Rodriguez, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Fabio Moreira, international scholar and instructor in theology at Campbellsville University, spoke about the breaking point in his relationship when he moved to America from Brazil, as he spoke at Campbellsville University’s chapel on Feb. 9.

Four couples were presented and spoke about how they’ve maintained a healthy long relationship through Christ.

Dr. Elisha Lawrence, associate professor of education and assessment coordinator, and her husband, Jamie, executive director of ministry and church outreach, led the panel.

The couples participating were as follows: Dr. Eric Bruns, professor of psychology and consulting psychologist, and his wife, Tracy, controller in the Campbellsville University Office of Business Services; Trent Creason, campus minister, and his wife, Sarah;

Jim Hardy, athletic director at Campbellsville University, and his wife, Lorri, secretary for football, baseball and human performance; and Moreira and his wife, Valeska.

Trent and Sarah Creason met in college but remained friends until later after graduation when they got married. They have three children.

Trent said to continue his missionary journey, the first step was to marry Sarah.

Trent said, “Wherever God was leading us, it needed to be with her. We needed to work in partnership together. Even in college, we’ve had opportunities to minister together… to grow in our faith together. The Lord is the glue and the root of who we are. There’s no hope in our marriage without Him.”

Sarah said communication plays a huge role in a healthy relationship. She counsels premarital couples who plan on getting married and  tells them, “When you think you’re communicating enough, communicate more.”

It is also important to get along with each other’s in-laws. Sarah said she’s grateful her in-laws have a great bond with other and that they feel like family.

The Moreiras said they met in high school in Brazil. They have been married for 24 years and have two children.

Back in high school, Valeska needed help in physics, which was something Fabio was good at. He made a deal saying he could teach her, but in return, she was to become his girlfriend.

Fabio talks about the challenge he had to face with Valeska when he moved to America.

He said before he moved to America for college, he broke up with Valeska for two reasons. The first one is because he was moving far away from her. The second one is because when he began his relationship with God, he knew the relationship he had with Valeska wasn’t pleasing God, and he needed to move on.

“I came to Campbellsville University as an international student in 1997,” he said. “While I was in America, my father called me and said ‘Son, you need to do something. You marry this young lady or just move on?’ And so, I decided to call her as she was in Brazil, and I asked her to marry me and she said yes.”

The Moreiras grew up with unhappy parents who eventually got divorced as they got older. “I think it was a lesson to not have the same marriage as our parents. They were always fighting or arguing. We didn’t want that. Fabio and I are doing better,” Valeska said.

The Bruns met at a wedding event. They have been together for 30 years and have two children.

Their relationship was long distance, and their only connection was through the phone.

Eric discussed the challenge he faced in his marriage.

“The primary challenge that I had been facing was me becoming selfish. When I decided to put me first and to not think about Tracy or the kids, that sin of self-glorification caused some problems, but thankfully we have learned how to negotiate the asking and receiving for forgiveness,” Eric said.

Tracy talked about how important it is to feel loved by God and the partner that God has sent as well.

“Even through difficult times, knowing that there is still that base for love and admiration for each other and just knowing that we aren’t alone in this,” Tracy said.

The Hardys met through Campbellsville youth groups as they grew up. They have been married for 41 years and have two children.

Jim explained how he has kept a healthy Godly marriage through the years. They both have grown up together in the church and would also go to Bible studies together. And most importantly, they pray together all the time.

“As Jim said, we married for sickness and health, rich or for poor, better or worse until death do us part. And since God lives within us, we do that with each other,” Lorri said.

Lorri said the relationships with in-laws are important. She said as they’ve grown up together, both of their parents would get on them as if they were their own. They felt like a family all together.

“And now that we’ve been married for so long, both of my parents have gone with the Lord now and his mom and dad are my mom and dad. And they are there for me and so are his sisters,” Lorri said.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that has enrolled up to 12,000 students yearly. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.