Stock Up On Cinnamon Hearts

Relationships 101 with Dr. Bowen

By: Anna Bailey, senior reporter

Now that it is February, you’ll have a conversation with someone complaining about Valentine’s Day, at least once a day. I am in a committed relationship with chocolate, and I have a deep love for those cinnamon candies that only appear in February, so I think I’ll always love Valentine’s Day. But many people, single or in relationships, feel unsatisfied as the infamous day draws near.

Dr. Deborah Bowen, one of the English professors here at Redeemer, believes that students shouldn’t even be focusing on dating at this point. She relives her experience of becoming a Christian in university: “the ethos of that group was not to be paired up, but to demonstrate by wonderful friendships what it meant to be a Christian. I loved it; it was very freeing.”

She wrote an article for The Crown in 2004, encouraging students to focus on friendships, not relationships. She says, “I do sometimes look at Redeemer and think that students are missing out. Relationships over-complicate life unless God is pushing you into it.”

Though she is married, Dr. Bowen explains that she did not plan to meet her husband. She believes that students should enter relationships only when they feel strongly led by the people around them and the Holy Spirit. In her own experience, she says, “I felt fairly pushed.”

She met her husband, John, in a [D1] choir, and says their relationship fulfilled some of her most important criteria for a good relationship. These include whether the relationship strengthens your relationship with Christ, is good for the people around you, empowers you to reach out to non-Christians, and doesn’t harm your grades. “John’s grades actually improved,” she says with a smile. 47 years later, their marriage is proof of her wisdom.

Dr. Bowen was kind enough to find and share with me the article she wrote in 2004. One of my favourite sentences is her loose quote of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s words in A Little Prince:  

“A really good relationship between two people involves not so much looking each into other’s eyes as looking in the same direction.” Helpful advice, for those who are single or committed. Until that relationship comes, let’s stock up on cinnamon hearts.