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Hooking Up For Life Explores Relationships After College

Staff Members From Campus Ministry Discuss Life Beyond BC's Hookup Culture

Heights Senior Staff

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Though the median age of marriage is not as low as it once was, marriage is not an incomprehensible topic for college students to consider. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Campus Ministry hosted Hooking Up For Life, a discussion on intimacy, love, marriage, and the transition from college living to married life. The conference room of Gasson Hall was filled to capacity as students anticipated the words of panel speakers Kelly Sardon-Garrity, Tammy Liddell, and Dan Leahy along with their spouses. The panel speakers, all from Campus Ministry, were introduced by campus minister Rick Rossi, who said that the hour-long discussion would be generated by questions submitted by students prior to the panel's introduction.

Though there is a lot of talk about the hook-up culture on the Boston College campus, Rossi believes there is little discussion about marriage. "How do you go from friends-with-benefits to spouses-with-benefits?" he said, before moving into the main discussion.

To warm up both the audience and the panelists, the couples were first asked to retell the story of how they met. Liddell's husband, Bill Carroll, asked out his future wife after making a bet with his friends that he could score a date by Valentine's Day. Sardon-Garrity's wife, Cherisse, was initially interested more in Sardon-Garrity's friend than in Sardon-Garrity himself. When Leahy revealed that he met his wife of 26 years, Joyce, at a UMass-Lowell frat party, the audience, primarily composed of students, responded with laughter and applause.

In response to the question of how the couples knew their spouse was "the one," Cherisse recalled a trip that she and Sardon-Garrity took to Ghana after their initial meeting. "On the trip, I remember writing in my journal that I could marry Kelly," she said. "It started out as a really strong feeling that was confirmed once we really got to know each other."

The couple claiming the longest road to love had to have been Leahy and his wife Joyce, who broke up for two years when Leahy traveled to Nicaragua while contemplating joining the priesthood. "But then I realized, through the discernment process, that my path to wholeness would be through marriage," he said. Leahy and Joyce have since raised three children together.

Having tackled the question of finding "the one," the focus was then put on married life and the difficulties and blessings that come with having children. All three couples agreed that any loss of individuality or independence, if there was any, was nothing in comparison to what they gained in sharing their life with their husband or wife. "I feel like the idea of giving things up is such a misconception," Liddell said. "The things you give up are nothing compared to the things you get."

After discussing the role that faith played in their marriage, each husband was asked to name what they love most about their wives. Carroll and Leahy followed Sardon-Garrity's lead in calling their wives "hot" or "beautiful," before getting serious. "It's amazing to me that she loves me," Leahy said. "I know me, and sometimes I have a hard time loving myself. Her unconditional love is inspiring." On that beautiful note, the hour was up, and students dispersed to chat with the panelists and among themselves after picking up a slice of the miniature wedding cakes adorning the dessert tables.

Many of the students came to the event to support panelists that they knew personally in a setting that is much different from an Appalachia or Arrupe meeting. "I've heard Tammy speak, and I've never seen that side of her before, which was really nice," said Stephen Padulsky, A&S '12.

Students who were accustomed to speaking about the hook-up culture came to hear the other side of the discussion. "Because we live in such a hook-up culture, it's nice to hear about the other side," said Brittany Gazdag, A&S '13.

Overall, it was the openness and honesty with which the panelists were talking that made the event the success that it was. "I've never heard adults talk about the details of their marriage in such a positive light," said Meaghan O'Hare, A&S '13. "You forget about all these different dynamic elements that make it an important part of their life, and that's great to hear."

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