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NEWS | March 21, 2013

'Love Thinks' class teaches singles about healthy relationships

By Robert Goetz Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

A five-session class that teaches single people how to build and strengthen relationships before and after marriage will be offered starting April 2 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Health and Wellness Center.

Titled "Love Thinks," the class allows singles to examine the major areas that predict what a person will be like in marriage, Gina Ramirez, 359th Medical Operations Squadron psychology technician, said. Attendees will also explore the bonding forces that must be kept in balance as a relationship grows, according to Ramirez.

"We wanted to teach singles the dynamics of healthy relationships and how to have healthy relationships," she said.

The class is based on an educational program developed by John Van Epp of Love Thinks LLC that uses the relationship attachment model, or RAM, Ramirez said. The model's five areas - "know, trust, rely, commit and touch" - must be kept in balance to build and maintain healthy relationships.

"We want to start people on the right path and help them marry the heart with the head," she said.

The class starts with the five characteristics that single people should know about their potential partners, Ramirez said. They include family dynamic and childhood experiences, attitudes and actions of the conscience, compatibility potential, examples from previous relationships and skills of communication.

"For attitudes of the conscience, characteristics to look for are empathy, impulsivity, the ability to see right from wrong and the ability to see things from your point of view," she said.

People who are dating should take the time to know these five characteristics, which make up the first dynamic in the relationship attachment model, during what Ramirez called "the 90-day probation period."

"You also need to hold off on deep personal information during this time," she said. "Don't rush in."

A healthy relationship progresses with the five dynamics of the RAM in balance, Ramirez said.

Attendees will also look at what constitutes a "jerk," whether male or female.

"The three warning signs of difficult partners are little insight into themselves, poor emotional control and inadequate relationship skills," Ramirez said. "One of the characteristics is an unwillingness to change."

"One of the biggest mistakes people make when they begin a relationship is moving too fast," she said.

"They have rose-colored glasses," Ramirez said. "Their friends see those red flags, but they don't see them."

The class is scheduled for 11 a.m.-noon April 2, 4, 9, 11 and 16.

"It's good knowledge to have, especially with the divorce rate so high," Ramirez said.

To register for the class, call 652-2448.