Three couples came to share their experiences and insights on relationships: Josh and Jess Sumpter who are both employed by Waynesburg University, former employees of Waynesburg Chuck and Shirley Bailey as well as recent Waynesburg alumni Josh Daines and Jessie Kiner.
Each couple represented a different path of life. The Baileys have been together for over 40 years with fully grown children. Chuck Bailey still refers to his wife as his “sidekick” and throughout the evening, both Baileys could hardly refrain from making inside jokes and playfully teasing the other.
“I can tell you that when I started my freshman year of college, it was two months before my 18th birthday,” Shirley Bailey said, “and I will say I knew I was in a potentially serious relationship by the time I turned 18. So, for me, the question would be if we had to go back and do it all over again, what would I do differently?”
Shirley Bailey continued by elaborating the challenges she and her husband had faced during their earlier years, chalking most of them up to inexperience and miscommunication. However, she eventually came to a final conclusion.
“Let me be perfectly clear, I would not change the outcome. I want him. But boy did we run into some hard times,” Shirley Bailey said. “In some cases, we could’ve avoided them. And in my case, I needed to know myself better before I got into a relationship. Now, notice, I didn’t say change myself. I needed to know me, who I was.”
Chuck Bailey shared a few of his wife’s recollections, but also said he fell short a few times on his side of the relationship.
“Guys have bad habits. For me, I know guys all have different habits, but mostly for me it was sloppiness, self-centeredness in terms of the relationship. I wish I would have understood to set goals for our relationship, goals for Shirley and her growth. Not only that, but a lack of communication skills…Why do I have to tell her [what’s bothering me]; she should figure it out; if she loves me and knows me, she’d figure it out. But, that just created big problems down the road.”
The Sumpters have been together closer to 20 years with two younger daughters while still working fulltime. They described the relationship as “independently dependent,” meaning both work hard on personal growth and individual achievement, but when they are together, their strength and determination increased twofold.
“We actually started identifying our values early on,” Josh Sumpter said. “Trying to find the core values that we each hold as well as for the both of us. Find somebody who holds at least similar values. I mean, [my wife and I] have very different personalities, but our core values are relatively the same.”
Lastly, Daines and Keiner are currently engaged and will be married in July of this year.
“I’ll be honest,” Keiner said. “Engagement has been a super big learning curve for both of us. There have been some very big arguments.”
Josh Daines said he’s had his own realization of himself and relationships, even going as far as joking that problems within the relationship are the man’s fault 95 percent of the time.
“I really didn’t understand how I react, how I operate, or that other people react differently than me,” Daines said. “My encouragement to you is to think about what [the other person] is thinking and to even think for [that person] because they might not know how to do it or communicate it for themselves. And also to go through some self-reflection. It’s difficult for me, but Jessie has helped that a lot…I’d also encourage you to find somebody who meets a few of your expectations but also has room to grow.”
The event concluded with a short question and answer session followed by the distribution of papers listing additional resources on dating and relationships that ranged from podcasts to books to the university’s counseling center.
The event was put together through Lauren Bailey who is available to answer any questions about the event or dating resources at email@example.com.