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WLTM: Who would you like to meet on Valentine's Day?

To encourage students to consider what they look for in a relationship and to explain that a close relationship can stand the stresses and strains of life (SEAL theme: Managing feelings).

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Key Stage 4/5

Aims

To encourage students to consider what they look for in a relationship and to explain that a close relationship can stand the stresses and strains of life (SEAL theme: Managing feelings).

Preparation and materials

  • Choose three readers.

Assembly

  1. Leader  ‘Textspeak’ has made us all both creative and economical in our use of language. We shorten words, usually by omitting vowels, and turn phrases into acronyms, taking only the first letter of each word.

    Here’s an example of two acronyms which you’ll frequently find in magazines: Fun loving 16-year-old with GSOH WLTM similar for parties, films and travel.

    What exactly does that mean?

    (Take answers from students: GSOH = Good Sense of Humour, WLTM = Would Like To Meet.)
  2. The question is: Who would you like to meet on this Valentine’s Day? Who were you hoping would send you a card?

    In a perfect world, who would you like to receive a card from? Who would you choose to send a card to?
  3. High on the list of requirements for most people would be someone who’s a bit of a looker. Whether we feel it’s entirely right or not, it’s clear that we’re usually first drawn to each other by the way we look (although we don’t all have the same tastes).

    Personality comes a close second, with GSOH a very popular choice. Most of us like to be kept smiling when we’re in a relationship.

    Shared interests might begin to sort things out a little more. Are we looking for someone who’s an outdoor or an indoor type; whose music choice is rap, rock or classical; who likes a wild night out or a cosy night in?

    If you’re simply looking for a short-term date, these criteria are probably the ones you’ll use. But what if the relationship develops longer term? It’s by no means unusual for us to meet our partner for life during our mid to late teens, even if we don’t settle down together until we’ve travelled a little, studied at college, begun a career.
  4. The Marriage Service, whether it takes place in a church or some secular venue, contains some key ideas about building a relationship that’s meant to last, and these ideas take us beyond appearances, personality and shared interests.

    One very familiar part goes like this:

    Reader 1  For better (pause) for worse.

    Reader 2  For richer (pause) for poorer.

    Reader 3  In sickness (pause) and in health.

    Leader  What might those phrases mean?
  5. The first (‘for better, for worse’) is realistic about the ups and downs of a relationship.

    Of course, we go out with someone in order to make our life better (and we hope the other person has the same experience) but it’s not always like that. Things go wrong, misunderstandings arise, and there are consequences that we probably never considered in the first blush of romance.

    Yet a deep relationship can stand these stresses and strains.
  6. The second (‘for richer, for poorer’) is about the reality of living in a credit-crunch world.

    We may share times when we’re strapped for cash: paying off a pair of student loans, financing a mortgage, keeping the credit cards under control in the face of the tempting bombardment of advertising.

    A deep relationship can stand these stresses and strains.
  7. The third statement (‘in sickness and in health’) takes on board the reality that we get ill, whether it be a bout of flu or a life-threatening condition. Someone who’s ill is usually bad-tempered at times, a little intolerant at times, rather demanding at times.

    A deep relationship can stand these stresses and strains.

Time for reflection

I’d guess that none of you are consciously looking for a lifelong partner on this Valentine’s Day. Most of you aren’t thinking much further than finding someone to go out with this coming weekend.

But there’s still something relevant in the words from the Marriage Service. Saturday night might be one thing, but why not look for someone who is as appealing come Monday morning when you turn up late for school stressed about homework you’ve not done?

Why not look for someone who still wants to spend time with you even when you’re strapped for cash?

Why not look for someone who you sense will still be there for you when you’re down with the flu or it’s that time of the month? Why not look further than looks and a GSOH?

So, who would you like to meet this Valentine’s Day?

Prayer

Dear Lord,

thank you for the excitement of love relationships,

with all their ups and downs.

Thank you for the support and encouragement of good friends.

May we each be wise and careful in forming relationships

that are secure, safe and lasting.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Love is’ by Martyn Joseph

Publication date: February 2013   (Vol.15 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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